#FallWritingFrenzy entry

Agent/author Kaitlyn Sanchez and author Lydia Lukidis cohost an annual writing contest, Fall Writing Frenzy, where #kidlit writers of all genres pair 200-words-or-fewer stories, poems or whatever strikes with preselected images. As they say, “You can write about the picture in a literal or metaphorical way, or focus on a memory or emotion it elicits.”

Here’s the image that I was inspired by this year, which brought back memories of the dinosaur days when costumes were more likely to be homemade–for better…or worse

Halloween trick or treaters
Halloween trick or treaters – Credit: Bing

Halloween costume fail (80 words)
by Elayne Crain

Most homemade costumes are wonderful;
too bad this is not one of those.
Instead, I’m wearing a white trash bag
over Mom’s old pantyhose.

Cardboard hangs from my front and my back,
with a third piece I’ve painted brown.
It’s late so I grab my pumpkin pail
and head to de-candy my town.

But no one can guess just what I am—
each doorbell’s becoming a chore.
It turns out that perhaps I needed
to work on this costume S’more.

Interested in submitting your own? The contest runs through October 3. Click on the badge to be taken to the page for more info.

girl wearing poorly conceived s'more costume
S’more girl illustration
by Elayne Crain

“Spring Fling” Kidlit contest entry

Ciara O’Neal has an annual SpringFling contest where Kidlit writers pair 150-words-or-fewer stories with an animated .gif. In my case, I chose to use a silly poem I had written. Read all about Spring Fling on Ciara’s blog.

Here is my entry for 2021. 🙂

(Band-aid guy gif via Giphy.)

I Think I Need a Band-Aid (111 words)

Remember when I bumped my arm?
I think I need a band-aid.

That summer I stepped on that nail at the farm?
I think I need a band-aid.

My forehead feels quite hot, you see.
I think I need a band-aid.

This paper cut keeps bothering me!
I think I need a band-aid.

My legs are bruised from my scooter crash.
I think I need a band-aid.

My arms are sore from taking out the trash.
I think I need a band-aid.

My brain hurts from spelling ‘weird’ and ‘friend.’
I think I need a band-aid.

And now I bit my tongue at the end,
I thick I neeb a bandhaid.

New book out by Jessica Young and Rafael López

I was delighted to be selected by the talented Jessica Young for a picture book mentorship this year, through SCBWI MidSouth. Of course, the big reason I was so thrilled was because of Jessica herself!

Well, she’s got a new book out this very week–illustrated by the amazing Rafael López–titled, “I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams” (Little, Brown), and I just can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I pre-ordered it but it’s taking just a minute to get out to me, thanks to living on the other side of the world right now.

While I’m waiting for Mr. Postman to show, I thought I’d share a link to the fabulous book launch they did (virtually, naturally) in conversation with Julie Danielson of the children’s literature blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. It was a really fascinating and compelling look into the beautiful stories behind the beautiful story.

You can see their conversation (even if you don’t have a Facebook login) at:


When a kangaroo goes bad

Kylie, the criminal kangaroo,
pockets some things she oughtn’t to.

A Vegemite sandwich, a kazoo,
mini bottles of hotel shampoo…

Her paws are quick and she knows kung fu.
Don't leave her alone with your pet cockatoo.

She's a burglar full of derring-do.
She fills her pouch 'til it's busting through

with watches she's pilfered in plain view
and wallets she stole, leaving nary a clue.

Careful – her next victim might be you!
Kylie, the criminal kangaroo.

Copyright 2020 - Elayne Crain


The handle’s cracked; the spokes are askew.
The color’s faded; it smells of mildew.

The fabric’s torn; it gets blown inside-out.
The metal’s rusty; the thread's falling out.

The button won't open; nor will it shut.
The whole thing is dirty; the Velcro's kaput.

But before you toss it, remember this one thing:
when it’s raining hard, it's better than nothing!

Copyright 2020 - Elayne Crain

Shell shock

Annabelle strolled along the beach
until she found a shell.

Its color was a lovely peach;
it was quite large, as well.

She held it right against her head,
to try to hear the sea.

A crab came out, pinched her ear and said:
"Don't you eavesdrop on me!"

Copyright 2020 - Elayne Crain

Soap opera star

As I was singing in the bath,
shampoo got in my eyes

and I hit some high, high notes
much to my surprise!

Whether my song earns your Bravo!
or if it hurts your ears…

singing that soap opera – well,
it moved me to tears!

Copyright 2020 - Elayne Crain

The patient bacteria*

When Chinese chicken hit the floor,
we gathered right away.

But germs know the 10-second rule;
we live it every day.

One second turns to two then three…
time slowly ticks on by.

Count four, then five Mississippi -
and still, we all comply.

Six, then seven and eight - a wait
long as the Amazon.

Nine…aww, man! He picked it up!
So long, our sweet Szechuan.

* Author’s note: biologists say food 
gets contaminated the moment it touches 
germs or bacteria. Sad, sad news for 
us clumsy eaters.

Copyright 2020 - Elayne Crain