Holiday Writing Contest: A Holiday Hippo Wish

As many of you know, in addition to telling stories, I also write them! I’ve got three published books and a whole lot of manuscripts in the works. This year I have grown even more serious about my writing, participating in such author-ly endeavors as Picture Book Idea Month, seeking professional critiques for my manuscripts, and beginning the process of finding an agent for my work. I’ve also joined a few online writing groups and subscribed to some writing blogs so I can learn as much about the craft of writing as possible.

Recently I heard about a writing contest through one of the groups I joined. At random I decided to enter, and I’m glad I did because I won a critique of the first page of my novel, Carlos and the Corral of Forgotten Ones, by Erin Black, an editor at Scholastic Press! Her feedback was super helpful, and I know it will make my story a lot stronger as I move forward.

Then I came across another contest — the 3rd Annual Holiday Writing Contest — hosted at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and decided to give it a try as well. The contest asks participants to write a children’s story about any sort of holiday mishap in 350 words or less.ย  The prizes for the contest range from critiques by editors to autographed children’s books to Amazon gift cards. If you want to have some fun with words and tell your own holiday story, head on over to Susanna’s blog and get started. The deadline is this Friday so don’t delay.

Here is my entry, just making the cut at 345 words! Phew! I hope you enjoy it! Please feel free to leave your comments as they are much appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚


A Holiday Hippo Wish

โ€œAAAHHHHHH!!!โ€ Mrs. Allen’s scream rang throughout the dark house on Christmas Eve.

โ€œWhat is it, Mommy? What’s the matter?โ€

Anna hopped out of bed and raced down the hall to find a hippopotamus in the bathtub!

โ€œHello,โ€ said the hippo. โ€œI’m pleased to make your acquaintance. You’re more pleasant than that other woman. She gave me a fright with all her screaming.โ€

โ€œSorry. That’s my mom. I think she was surprised to find you here.โ€

โ€œNot as surprised as me! I was minding my business, floating down the river, when all of a sudden some impala-like creatures dove through the sky, lifted me with their hooves and brought me here. Then a fat man in a red suit told me to shimmy down the chimney. When I refused, he pushed me down! All he gave me for my traumatizing ordeal was a sickeningly sweet substance and a chalky white liquid. I want to go home!โ€ The hippo burst into tears.

โ€œI’m sorry,โ€ said Anna. โ€œThis is all my fault. I asked Santa for a hippopotamus for Christmas. But I had no idea he’d take you from your home and force you down the chimney! I guess I need to be more careful what I wish for.โ€

โ€œI guess so,โ€ said Anna’s mother. โ€œNow what are we going to do? This hippo cannot stay! If grandma sees her, she’ll have a heart attack!โ€

Anna looked at the clock. โ€œ1:00AM. There’s still time! Hurry!โ€

Anna and her mother pushed the hippo down the stairs and out the front door. Then Anna hung a note around the hippo’s neck.

Dear Santa,

Sorry for the inconvenience, but please return this hippo to her home. I promise to make my Christmas wishes more carefully in the future.



The next morning Anna looked out the window to see an inflatable hippo with a bow around its neck. The attached note read:

Dear Anna,

Your wish has been granted. Here’s a hippo the whole family can enjoy.



24 Responses to “Holiday Writing Contest: A Holiday Hippo Wish”

    • Lindsay

      That’s a great point, Teresa! I don’t know that I’d even intended to show that when I set out to write the story, but it’s neat how things take shape and take on their own life as you go. I have had the wonderful opportunity of seeing hippos in the wild. One actually roared at me and my husband! Yes, the hippo, not a lion, roared at us! So they definitely would not make good pets! haha

    • Lindsay

      Thanks Cathy! It was fun getting into the hippo’s head and thinking about how he might see the reindeer! Having seen lots of impalas on safari, I thought the hippo might notice some similarities between the impala and the reindeer!

  1. Lindsay

    Thanks so much to everyone for reading. I’ve really enjoyed your comments. As a writer, getting feedback is so appreciated! And it’s been interesting to see the different things people have taken away from the story — some that may even have escaped me in the writing of it. Great to see how a creative piece takes on a life of its own in the eyes of the reader/audience!

    • Lindsay

      Yes, I tend to get that song stuck in my head. And I do have a hippopotamus puppet that enjoys dancing along as I sing. Haha! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill

    How delightful, Lindsay! I love that Anna worried about the hippo’s feelings and was so quick to realize that maybe she hadn’t quite thought her way through that wish ๐Ÿ™‚ And how thoughtful of Santa to replace the hippo with a more appropriate version! Thanks so much for joining in the holiday contest fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lindsay

      Thanks for hosting the contest Susanna! I’m glad I heard about it! And thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts about my story. With all the entries you have to read, that is so very kind of you!


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