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Poe Pitches a Party

When nobody is home but the pets, oh what mischief they get into.

Photo of Louella Bryant
5 1

Written by

Poe the potbelly pig had a big appetite. She ate table scraps and whatever the parrot dropped from his cage. 

One evening when her tummy rumbled, Poe saw that the ice box had no latch.

All it took was a tug.

The door swung open. 

Inside—a feast.

Poe sampled the salmon. She bit into the brie. She chewed the chicken satay and tasted the tiramisu. 

While Poe filled her gullet (which means tummy), Chaucer the parrot perched on the egg tray. 

Chaucer turned his head this way. 

Chaucer turned his head that way. 

He helped himself to a bright green apple.

Dickens the dog sniffed the bottom shelf. 

He sniffed the top shelf. 

On the middle shelf he found filet de boeuf (which is a kind of steak). 

He wolfed the boeuf with hearty appetite. 

Cooper the cat pawed a quart of buttermilk until it tumbled over.

Buttermilk leaked onto the floor. 

Cooper lapped the milk.

Faulkner the ferret feasted on flounder.

Rimbaud the rabbit nibbled the endive.

When the ice box was empty, what a mess was left! 

“Who will clean it up?” Poe asked.

“I will,” said Milton the mouse. 

He invited his friends and they ate up every crumb.

Meanwhile, tummies bloated (which means very full), Poe the potbelly pig, Chaucer the parrot, Dickens the dog, Cooper the cat, Faulkner the ferret, and Rimbaud the rabbit curled up together under the table and fell asleep.

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

Children love animals, especially their pets. Poe Pitches a Party is based on the true story of a friend who brought homeless animals home from the veterinary office where she worked, one of which was the potbelly pig who taught herself how to open the refrigerator. Unlike Poe, my friend had no mice to clean up the mess they left.

Share your suggested book title


How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

The sentences are short. Difficult words are defined in the text. The names of the animals are alliterations. The subject matter involves animals and food, both of which are of high interest for young children.

Please describe any familiarity you may have with Philadelphia and its residents? (optional question)

I have visited many times with my friend Lynn Levin, former poet laureate of Bucks County, who teaches at Drexel and U Penn.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

Pets and food are universal. Some of the foods, like tiramisu, are likely to be found in urban kitchens.

Location: Country


Location: State or Department


Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

Tell us more about you / your team

I hold the MFA in Writing and am retired from teaching in the MFA in Writing at Spalding University where I mentored emerging writers in fiction, creative nonfiction, and writing for children and young adults. I have published two novels for young adults and a picture book for special needs children. I have a third YA novel to be released in August of this year. I also have two grandsons, ages 1 and 2 and read to them every chance I get.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

The Black Bonnet (New England Press) Father By Blood (New England Press) Two Tracks in the Snow (Jason & Nordic Press) While In Darkness There Is Light (Black Lawrence Press) Full Bloom Stories (Brown Fedora Books) Cowboy Code (forthcoming with Black Rose Writing) Many stories, essays, articles, blog posts, and poems published in magazines and anthologies

Do you have an agent?

  • Previously yes, currently no

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists

Attachments (1)


Join the conversation:

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Louella Bryant  welcome to the Challenge Community!
Thank you so much for such a fun manuscript full of imaginations around pets running the house. Love it.
Since your final readers will be from the age group of 0-3 yrs, it may be interesting to tweak the manuscript to make it simpler, rhythmic and more engaging for your readers. You can learn more about early childhood development and tips on writing for this age group in the “Challenge Resources” listed at the end of the Challenge Page.

Photo of Amy Cheung

I love the alliteration in this story!

Photo of Virginia Brackett

Louella, your title makes me smile, and you skillfully continue its alliteration through out the piece. While you don't use only Tier 1 language, the story is appealing, and young readers beyond the toddler stage will understand the idea of excess that your creatures personify.

Photo of Dawnnbooks .

Nice concept.
You may wish to do some further research as to Teir 1 words.
There are words and phrases that even some adults may have challenges with much less 1, 2 and 3 year olds.

If you do edit I look forward to v2.0

Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott

Interesting house party. Good theme