Tag Archives: creative writing

Review! Leap Write In! by Karen Benke

26 Nov

leapwriteLeap Write In!
By Karen Benke
256 pages – ages 11+
Published by Roost Books on April 2, 2013

Synopsis [from the back cover] In this book you’ll find: On-The-Spot Drops that offer “free-fall” prompts on different themes, such as short-winded poems and seven-line stories. Mini Memoirs to unlock personal narratives to share, or not. Suddenly A Story suggestions to explore feelings and states of being like fear, reluctance, compassion, kindness, anxiety, anger, jealousy, happiness, and more. Surprise Yourself Surveys for those who think they know everything about themselves. Untie-Your-Mind Word Lists to jump start stalled imaginations. Definition Decoders to introduce new ideas and styles of writing.

What I Liked- First off, I was very excited to read this book! Ms. Benke’s other book “Rip The Page!” was great, and really helped me with my writing. I found this book was a great follow-up to “Rip The Page!” because the writing challenges were a bit more complex. The prompts were realistic and slightly challenging to do, especially if you aren’t in your creative mind frame, like the activities “Stop Making Sense” and “Your Moody Monkey Mind” – two of my favorites. Ms. Benke gave several activities for each prompt, giving the reader a choice to do. She also included some examples, from real people, so you get your creative juices flowing, and have some real inspiration. The book covers a wide range of creative writing topics, from dialogue tags to – **ugh** – the necessary step of revision. There are some really fun things to do. Ms. Benke shares some “mini memoirs” of her life, and encourages others to do the same. This is a wonderful writing resource!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Check out one of the creative writing things I did! I wrote a pantoum (I never even heard of this poem type before reading this book).

A Pantoum Pantoum

               [   or   ]

An Ode to Pantoums Everywhere

            By Erik

A pantoum is
An interesting poem type
That’s fun to do
With simple steps.

An interesting poem type:
You can master it
With simple steps.
Can you see it take shape?

You can master things
With some effort.
I can see a poem
Forming from mid-thought.

With some effort,
It’s fun to do.
Forming from mid-thought,
Is a pantoum.

My Entry in the March Madness Writing Contest!

21 Mar

Before I get to today’s post, if you get a chance, please click over to the Creative Kid Thursday post I did yesterday to read Daniel’s short story. Click HERE to go THERE!

WOOT WOOT! It’s time for a contest! Susanna Leonard Hill’s March Madness contest to be exact! Today I am posting my entry in the contest.


Here are the rules:

Write a children’s story, in poetry or prose, maximum 400 words, that is a fractured fairy tale.  Feel free to add a theme of spring, or mix in one of the spring holidays if you like.” Check out the complete rules at Ms. Hill’s blog HERE.

My story comes in right at 400 words (not including the title). I mixed up a bunch of fairy tales and wrote a story I thought older kids would like. I hope you like it! 😀


Photo credit KellyB Creative Commons License

The Once Upon A Times

News for you                                                                                     March 2014


Goldilocks on the Lam!

By P. Charming

After breaking into the Bear’s cottage, Goldilocks was last seen running West through the Gingerbread Forest. “[Goldilocks] ate our food and broke our furniture!” Baby Bear sobbed. Continued on A13.


Illness Confounds Doctors

By Red R. Hood

Snow White was rushed to Grimm-View Hospital after fainting at her place of employment.  “Her case is baffling,” said Dr. S. Beauty. White’s employers claim she is suffering from food poisoning but Detective B.B. Wolf suspects foul play. “Snow has been cleaning up after seven dwarfs for weeks! They drove her to exhaustion,” Wolf said. Bashful Dwarf refused our interview request.


Bippity Boppity Boo – We’ll Clean Up for You!

You don’t have to wish upon a star to get rid of all that dust!  Spring-cleaning special! Email cindy@bippityboppityboo.com!


Witch vs. Hansel and Gretel

By L. Mermaid

The Witch has filed a lawsuit against Hansel and Gretel. Witch’s lawyer, H. Penny, stated “My client’s home was eaten! Those kids did thousands of dollars in damage.” Gretel spoke with our reporter. “That witch  tried to shove me in an oven!” Continued on A19.


Missing Sheep

A local woman is devastated because she lost her beloved pet sheep. “Wooliam is so sweet,” Ms. Peep said. “I can’t imagine where he wandered off to. I hope he comes home soon because I can’t sleep without [my] sheep.” Please email bopeep@HotTale.com with any information.


Pied Piper Entertainers

Specializing in music, merriment and pest control. We do children’s birthday parties! Dates fill fast. Call 1-800-4NO-RATS today!


Gingerbread Man Wins Marathon

A new record was set in the spring marathon, but not everyone is happy. “He kept taunting us,” one competitor complained. “Run, run as fast as you can! Can’t catch me… “ Complete coverage on page B2.


Dorothy Gale says get ready for some wild weather this spring! Gale forecasts downpours with some mild flooding. Power outages may occur. Tornado watches have been issued for the tri-wooded area until late spring. Stay inside if bad weather hits. Remember, there’s no place like home!


By C. Little

Last year’s popular housing style, giant shoes, was a stinky investment. According to architects at 3LPigs, the best choice in housing this spring is a two-story brick chalet. Brick offers a stylish protection from even the worst neighbors. Continued on B5.

Don’t forget to check out all the great entries in the contest HERE.

Have a great day!!!

My Entry in the Susanna Leonard Hill Holiday Writing Contest!

12 Dec

This was supposed to be my Friday post, but our internet keeps going out (we have a  lot of ice here) so I am going to post it now just in case our internet goes out for a while. I don’t want to miss tomorrow’s deadline for posting my entry (plus tomorrow is Friday the 13th and you never know…).

YAY! It’s

The 3rd Annual Holiday Contest!!!

crashing sleigh

The contest is hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill! Check out all of the totally awesome entries by clicking HERE!

Now for the rules (taken from Ms. Hill’s blog) – 

“Write a children’s story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster (a la Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer :)).  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words not counting the title”

I liked the idea of writing about a holiday mishap and really racked my brain on what to write because I wanted it to be different. Here is what I came up with (I am at 350 words!). I hope you like it! 😀


Although the Christmas Eve air was frozen, a bead of sweat ran down the side of the pilot’s face. He delivered the package and slipped away, or so he thought.

“I’m getting too old for this,” he muttered. The pilot glanced behind him. He could see the outline of the jet formation closing in on his craft. “They keep trying to catch me in the act. They’ll have to try harder than that!”

“Sir, the aircraft have a lock on our position. You can’t make the next drop,” said the officer in front of the computer.

“Unacceptable!” boomed the pilot. “We’ll make every scheduled drop. We lost the Shenyang J-11s over China and we’ll out-run these jets too.”

 The craft’s controls felt heavy in the pilot’s hands. Every year their tracking technology advanced greatly, but he had a dedicated team working day and night to make sure he stayed ahead. His missions depend on secrecy.

“Dash, tell Rudy to break formation. He can use his infrared beacon to distract those F-16s!”

“Roger that!” Dash barked.

“Sir, NORAD confirmed they are tracking us. We’re no longer a covert operation,” the officer worried.

“Contact our mole,” the pilot ordered. “She’ll feed NORAD false information. They’ll be chasing a flock of geese soon.”

The officer stuttered, “B-But, didn’t she –“

“Get run over by a reindeer?” The pilot interrupted. “Ha! That was just a cover. She faked her death to become our NORAD inside-agent.”

“I’m on it Sir,” said the officer as he typed an encrypted message.

The pilot watched a red light fly off to the South-West of his position. He smiled to himself when the F-16s followed. “Way to go Rudy! We’re going for our next drop. Get ready boys!”

“Sir, we just received a communication from Agent Grandma. She was successful. NORAD now has our current position somewhere over Indonesia,” the officer said with a grin that ran from pointy ear to pointy ear.

“Try to track me, will ya?!” Santa’s belly shook with laughter as he hollered with a twinkle in his eye. “HO HO HO! Maybe next year!”

English: Canada NORAD Jet Fighter Santa Escort

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: NORAD Santa Claus Fighter Escort

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s A 12×12 in 2012 Blog Party!!

13 Dec

Last year at this time I signed up for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. It was a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012. You may have noticed the cool badge on my side bar all year long –

I started out with my ideas from doing Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo last year in November (I did it this year too – it’s VERY fun and if you haven’t done it, try it next year 🙂 ). My goal was to write one picture book manuscript. I never wrote a whole picture book before and didn’t really know where to start (other than having my ideas from PiBoIdMo) and I didn’t know how much I’d be able to do. I am happy to say I wrote 3 whole manuscripts and I have a bunch of ones that I have started that I’d like to get back to. I’ve learned a lot this year and I thought I would come up with my top ten things I learned. Here it goes –

10. Be organized. Having a work area and a notebook (only ONE notebook in my case because I tend to lose things) that holds your ideas helps.

9. Set deadlines for yourself. Even if you don’t make them, it gives you a goal.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.

7. Don’t be afraid to write down a draft that isn’t particularly good the first time. Get it down and then go back later and fix it (I have a lot of unfinished ideas like this).

6. The idea you think is the best isn’t always the one that you can write a whole book about.

5. Listen to people who want to help you. There are a lot of great people who have helped and encouraged me.

4. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t meet a goal. Keep trying!

3. Don’t get discouraged if you find out someone has already wrote the book you are thinking of! That just means you like that idea too!

2. Do try to have fun while writing. If it is making you frustrated, stop for a while.

and the number one thing I’ve learned from 12×12 in 2012 is…

WRITING PICTURE BOOKS IS HARD AND RHYMING IS EVEN HARDER!!! Those people out there who think it is so easy should give it a try (like that turtle-neck guy 😉 [Debbie Ohi’s PiBoIdMo Post])!

Thank you to everyone in 12×12 in 2012 and ESPECIALLY to Julie Hedlund for hosting it! If you haven’t seen Ms. Hedlund’s awesome dance party video, you HAVE to hop over to her blog and check it out. Her air guitar is AMAZING! Click HERE to go there!

12×12 Update and a Summer Send-Off Contest created by Susanna Leonard Hill!

3 Sep

First, I will start off with the story for the Summer Send-Off Contest entry. Below is my entry and I think I may use the idea to write a book or a longer story.

The rules for the contest as stated on Ms. Hill’s blog are:

The contest is for a children’s story of 250 words or less based on the picture below and in which somebody somewhere in your story says, in dialogue, “Did/do you see that?” (you may substitute any of the other senses – “Did/do you hear/feel/taste/smell that?”) and somebody somewhere in your story says, “Goodbye!” (you are allowed to substitute “Farewell!”, “Au revoir!”, “Sayonara!”, “Ciao!”, or “So long!”). Click HERE to go to Ms. Hill’s blog and see all the entries!

Heather Newman made the awesome illustration for the contest. I really like all the action going on in it! To go to Ms. Newman’s website click HERE.

illustration copyright Heather Newman 2012 used by permission


By Erik

Once Upon A Time, in a land far away (depending on where you are), a princess named Violet was high in a tower. She wasn’t trapped there, mind you. You see, Violet wasn’t an ordinary princess.

One day, Violet heard a commotion outside her window.

“He lit the moat on fire again!” Shouted the stable-boy to Josi, the princesses’ faithful servant.   “I already asked The Pale Sorceress to cast an extinguishing spell!”

Josi yelled up to Violet’s window. “Did you hear that? Your parents will banish us all! What kind of princess has a pet dragon anyway?”

“But Cuddles is just a baby!” was the reply.

“A BABY? He’s about 15… Oh-no, here comes Timothy!” Josi groaned. Violet rolled her eyes at the approaching figure.

As Timothy got closer he boasted, “I shall smite thee, foul beast and save yonder fair maiden, Violet! Oh dear Violet, I hath come hither to rescue thee!”

Violet felt her face get red with anger as she screamed back. “First of all, don’t talk funny. Smite and hither, who talks like that? It’s weird. Second, Cuddles is my PET! I DON’T NEED RESCUING!”

Just then, Sorceress cast the spell to blow out the fire. As the gust came, it lifted Timothy and blew him back to his kingdom!

“Farewell!” Timothy called as he faded in the distance.

“Will he be alright? Josi asked.

“Don’t worry, he’ll be back. He always comes back.” Violet sighed.

And they all lived happily ever after…well, until next time.

Now, for my 12×12 update!

For those of you who don’t know, I am trying to do Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. It is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012. You can click on the 12×12 banner on the right side bar or the one above to learn more about it. I have been working on a PB about a bird and a worm who are friends and I have been trying to make it rhyme well. I wrote the story last month and have been working on the rhyming, but I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to. In September I am going to try to complete the draft! Wish me luck 😀

Birthday Writing Contest and Some New Blog Stuff!

20 May

Susanna Leonard Hill has a Birthday Story Contest going on at her blog (click HERE to see the post) and I wrote a story for the contest. I have the story at the end of this post but first I wanted to let you know about a couple of changes I made at my blog. I made the changes because I am trying to make it more organized and easier. Let me know what you think about the changes 🙂 

First I made a FAQ page (this was one of my New Years Resolutions anyway). You can click on the tab at the top of my home page to see or (or click HERE). Let me know what you think or if there are any other FAQs I should add.

Secondly I made an official section saying how to send me a book to review. You can see it at the tab at the top of my home page or by clicking HERE.

Thirdly I made a blog schedule. I saw that on a lot of your blogs and I think it’s a good idea! Click on the tab at the top of my page or HERE. To go to it.

Let me know what you think of my changes and if you have any other suggestions! 

Now for something fun!

The Birthday Contest hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill!

The rules are “The contest is to write a children’s story about a very creative and/or unique birthday celebration in 300 words or less. Poetry or prose, your choice.”

Here’s my entry!

Not Another Birthday!

By Erik

Billy hated his birthdays, every single one of them. The day was always a complete disaster. One time, on Billy’s seventh birthday, most of his party guests ended up in the emergency room! In fact, none of Billy’s friends will come to his parties anymore. Only Billy’s relatives show up because they have to. 

Things usually start off pretty well. The guests arrive with smiles on their faces, carrying presents in colorful paper. There’s lots of ”Hi’s”, hugs and  “How are you’s?” Everyone puts their party hats on. There’s pizza for dinner, and games like guess the wizard, and pin the drawbridge on the castle.

Then comes the cake. Billy’s dad carries it in. This year it has twelve candles on it, brightly lit with flames dancing in the air. Billy notices it is an ice cream cake, “UGH!” He says to himself. “Even WORSE!”

The cake is placed on the table in front of Billy; all the guests cower behind their chairs and under the table as they nervously sing “Happy Birthday to You” in hushed voices. As Billy listened to the song, getting ready to blow out the candles, he thought to himself, “This makes no sense for a fire-breathing dragon.”




Creative Kid Emma’s Original Story!

3 May

Emma (age – 8 1/2) has been one of my guest reviewers and now she sent me a great fantasy story she wrote. I know Emma is a HUGE fan of the Warrior series and now she was inspired to write her own story! She also sent some illustrations (that are totally marvelous!) to go with the story. By the way, the last picture goes towards the end of the story, but I really wanted to include it on the blog post for everybody to see. 🙂

Here is a part of Emma’s story called –

Tut and the Forest of Spells


Tut was no ordinary dog. When he was a pup, his parents abandoned him and a magician found him. The magician cast a spell on him that he would have special powers and they would only go once he died. Now these powers weren’t just any ordinary powers like flying without wings and that stuff, his special powers were to be able to turn into any animal–including a human–and speak their language.

When Tut grew up, the magician wanted him to turn into a rat and spy on his enemies like the wicked sorcerers, but Tut didn’t like his job. He didn’t want to be used. It was cruel. So Tut ran away, but unfortunately the place he ran to was the forest of spells. And once you enter the forest of spells, an evil flying rock named Diemoan casts a spell on you. Tut’s spell wasn’t any ordinary spell like growing wings (which would be bad because dogs don’t like to be in the air, or to have an automatic tug to go South for the winter), or to be turned into a frog. No, Tut’s spell was to be unable to give his powers to his children until he was 14 (which is old for a dog), and only if they stayed with him for that long.

The reason Diemoan cast this particular spell on Tut was that the passing of Tut’s powers from one generation to the next shortened the rock’s life. You see, Diemoan was the human grandson of the magician who had given Tut his powers, turned into a flying rock by one of the evil sorcerers when he was his grandfather’s apprentice.

But Tut didn’t know about his spell until his wife, Hannah, had two pups, a girl named Josanna and a boy named Howard (after Howard Carter who discovered King Tut’s tomb). So when his children were christened, the evil rock Diemoan came to Tut and Hannah’s cabin and almost cast a spell on them, but he didn’t because Tut chased him away before he could. But as soon as Diemoan went out into the forest, he whispered in Tut’s mind “You have a spell on you!! And you cannot give your powers to your children unless they stay with you until you are fourteen! Bwaaaahahaaaa (evil laugh).”

To read the whole story click HERE!

Thank you Emma for writing and sending your story! I can’t wait to see more of your stories!

Creative Kids! Spencer Writes a 39 Clues Story!

26 Apr

Today I have another AWESOME Creative Kid to tell you about! – SPENCER!!!

Spencer (11 years old) sent me a 39 Clues story HE wrote and wanted to share it with everyone. BUT first check out what else Spencer did – he made this cool picture for me!

Spencer has tons of talent!

As I was saying, Spencer wrote a 39 Clues short story and I think that it is great he did! Whether you like the 39 Clues series or not (or maybe you never read it at all) I think this is a good example of how books and reading can get kids to want to write and make their own stories!

Here is a small part of Spencer’s story called –



Hamilton Holt was feeling like a CD spinning over and over again.

They were looking for a lost clue said to be previously kept by Katherine Cahill that everyone was too scared to look for. Why?

Because they were scared that they would fall into one of Nikola Tesla’s traps.

“Lets move it team!”said his father Eisenhower Holt.

“But were dizzy…”said his two twin sisters Madison and Reagan at the exact same time. Strange how they looked nothing like each other. Arnold,our Pitt Bull, was being carried by my mother,Marry-Todd. Maybe when we win this competition we could give some of the serum to Arnold. We have all been tired because our Dad got a really old map that was sold about hundreds of years ago.

“And…HERE!”shrieked his dad. Better start getting our shovels I thought. When we were done digging, we found a letter in a bottle.

We immediately knew it had to do with the clue when we saw the symbol:

It said,”

 Nikola TESLA,

SHall And May Exagerate, ON, Fascinating And Karelessnes Elk,

 Careless Lousy Utility Exit.

 Sincerely,Thomas Edison.


To read Spencer’s whole story please click HERE!

If you know of any other Creative Kids that want their artwork, stories or any other creative thing they do posted here, just let me know! You can email me at Erik@thiskidreviewsbooks.com    

Creative Kids! Kara writes a Bullying Story you have to read!

16 Apr

Kara (11 years old) sent me this really terrific story she wrote about bullying. Her story is called “Stand Up!” After I read her story I thought it had a really great message and I asked Kara if I could post it. Kara said she would like that “because then kids can see the effect of bullying, and how to stop it.” Kara also said, “I wrote the story for fun, and also to understand bullying more, because I feel like I understand it when I write it.”

Here is a part of “Stand Up”-

“Hey!” Lola yelled from across the gym.

“Hey.” I half-heartedly replied.

She walked over as I was just tapping on the bench.

“C’mon, we’re playing dodgeball. I’m the captain!”

We were outside, free gym.

“Nah thanks.”

She sat down on the bench I was sitting on. She looked at me with a concerned and worried look.

“Why are you so sad?”

It wasn’t the first time she could practically read my mind. Every time I showed my emotions a tiny bit, one small look of despair, she could read my face.

“I… I can’t explain. I don’t know where to start.”

“Well… how about when I can understand it?”

I sat down. I was about to answer, when I burst into tears. They rolled down my cheek and splashed on my lap.

“Oh, Lola!” I exclaimed between sobs. Lola was sympathetic. She hugged me and helped me calm down.

“Okay. Now, start from the beginning.” Her voice was soft and smooth, and especially calming.

“Okay. It started about a month ago.” How could I forget that day?

You can download the whole story by clicking Stand Up!

Love Has No Point – Valentines Day Contest

13 Feb

Susanna Leonard Hill is having a Valentines Day Contest. The rules of the contest is to make a children’s story (it can be poetry or not) , 200 words or less and it has to be an “unlikely” Valentine. You can see all the entries on her blog here. I hope you like my entry!

Love Has No Point

By Erik

Bill P. Porcupine had a  love. Not just any love, mind you, it was the greatest love of all, but it was also a secret love.

“Oh, how I love her!” Bill sighed to himself.

Every day when Bill walked home from school he stopped by the gift shop where she worked. He tried to impress her by making his quills stand on end so he would look bigger, but she never noticed him. He’d then go home and cry.

“Boo hoo,” Bill sobbed.

“What’s the matter Bill?” asked his Mom.

“I’m in love mom, but she doesn’t know I exist,” said Bill.

“There, there,  it’ll be OK,” his mom said gently.

“She is so beautifully round. Her skin is smooth and rosy. When she moves, she floats like her feet never touch the ground,” Bill whimpered.

“I think you should just tell her,” Bill’s mom suggested.

The next day, Bill marched to the gift shop with one thing on his mind. He shoved the shop door open, walked straight up to her, threw his arms open to hug her and said, “I love…”


She was gone, except for the bits of pink rubber stuck to Bill.

%d bloggers like this: