Month: February 2016

A Tiny Valentiny Story!

If you recall, last Halloween, I posted a 100-word story I wrote as an entry to Susanna Hill’s Halloween story contest. Telling a story in so few words challenged me and taught me to tighten my word count – a lot! I laugh when I remember the word counts I was hitting on my picture book manuscripts years ago. Dare I admit to 12oo-word stories?

For Valentine’s Day, Susanna has another contest, and yeah, we get more than 100 words to write this one in. Because Valentine’s Day is on  February 14th or 2-14, entries can be up to 214 words.  What will I do with all those extra words I’m allotted?

The one condition is that the stories entered must have a grumpy character.

So, without further delay, I present you with my Valentine story.




Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

     When Mrs. Pinkly’s class drew Secret Valentine names, Bart pretended to pull a

name.“Valentine’s are for girls!” He tossed the bag to Ruby.

“And boys.”  Ruby said, batting her eyes. “Look who I picked!”

“Nobody EVER gives good presents,” Bart grumbled.

Mrs. Pinkly waved a slip. “Who doesn’t have their secret Valentine for tomorrow?”

Everyone waved…

…except Bart.

At home, Bart unfolded his slip. “RUBY!” He groaned. He raced to his mom to complain.

“Want to help frost Valentine cookies?” Mom said.

“No!” Bart stomped away. “Valentines are for girls.”

Bart’s sister, Molly, handed him a heart. “Help me cut doily valentines,” she said.

“Yuck!” Bart crumpled the heart. “Valentine’s are for girls.”

Dad will understand, thought Bart.

“Want to come buy flowers and candy for Mom?” Dad said.

“No!” Bart said. “Valentine’s are for girls.”

The next morning, Ruby was absent for the gift exchange.

At lunch, Bart ate his sandwich, even though his mom cut it heart-shaped. But he refused to eat the Valentine cookie.

After lunch, Ruby dashed in the classroom, clutching a box. “Happy Valentine’s day, Bart!” she sang.

Bart lifted the lid. “A turtle?”

“I had two,” Ruby said. “Now we each have one.”

“Maybe Valentine’s are for boys, too,” Bart said, giving Ruby his Valentine’s Day cookie.

PPBF Looks at Star Stuff

When you were a child, did you discover anything that made you curious? And when a grownup gave you an explanation, did their answer send you searching for more answers to your new questions? This is what happened to Carl Sagan when, as a child, he wondered what the stars were. Today, for Perfect Picture Book Friday, I want to share a wonderful book about one boy’s curiosity and how furthering his knowledge brought him to his life’s passion and career.

Title – Star Stuff – Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos – view on Amazon here.

Written and Illustrated by – Stephanie Roth Sisson

Published by – Roaring Book Press -2014

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics/theme  curiosity – astronomy

Opening – In the Milky Way galaxy… In a neighborhood of stars… On the third planet from our sun… In a big city… In a small apartment… Lived a boy named Carl.

Jacket copy  – Once a young boy looked up at the sky and wondered about stars. He wanted to know where they come from and what they are made of. So he went to the library and read books about space and the solar system. He imagined going to far away planets and learning what they are like. And when he grew up he made it his life’s work to tell everyone all the wonderful things he had learned about star stuff. This the story of Carl Sagan, the beloved scientist who taught the world to marvel at the mysteries of the cosmos and continues to inspire generations of dreamers and stargazers.

Amazon Review – For every child who has ever looked up at the stars and asked, “What are they?” comes the story of a curious boy who never stopped wondering: Carl Sagan.

When Carl Sagan was a young boy he went to the 1939 World’s Fair and his life was changed forever. From that day on he never stopped marveling at the universe and seeking to understand it better. Star Stuff follows Carl from his days star gazing from the bedroom window of his Brooklyn apartment, through his love of speculative science fiction novels, to his work as an internationally renowned scientist who worked on the Voyager missions exploring the farthest reaches of space. This book introduces the beloved man who brought the mystery of the cosmos into homes across America to a new generation of dreamers and star gazers.

Why do I like this book? Having a dad who was an astrophysicist, discussions of space travel, stars, and planets was a typical and favorite topic of discussion at the dinner table. When Carl Sagan Broadcast his TV show in 1980, The Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, my family gathered in the living room each week to watch the entire series. And now this picture book is available to inspire a new generation of star gazers and it is sure to whet their appetites about our marvelous galaxy. Or perhaps a young reader will follow the great example of Carl Sagan and take something that interests them, learn as much as they can on the subject, and see where their dream takes them.

Author – Visit the author’s blog here.

Learn more about Carl Sagan here. This website includes the beautiful music from the TV Program he presented in 1980.