The Green Cauldron
By Laken Slate
Trixie’s aunt plunked a cauldron and a book of spells in the clearing.
“Now I can double my potions,” Aunt Mangle cackled,
“You’ll slave in the sunlight as I sleep."
Trixie had only the shade of her hat as she worked.
She gasped at the many recipes requiring frog legs, lizard tongues,
and parts of other poor beasts.
Trixie toiled and troubled
but couldn’t find artificial ingredients.
She tried vegan incantations:
“Abracadabra, Ala-Tofu!” –
with no luck.
Finally, she stirred the cauldron chanting,
“Fire burn so carefully! Make this substance cruelty- free!”
Something remarkable happened.
Trixie’s cauldron bubbled with full, living clones of the animals.
At twilight, Aunt Mangle crept near.
“Look at all those pets!” she screeched.
“Bring them to me, so I can mix my cursed elixir.”
“Yes, Aunt Mangle,” Trixie whimpered.
She couldn’t bear to harm her creations.
The thought swirled in Trixie’s mind.
She realized her own power.
Aunt Mangle lurched away to her wretched workshop.
Trixie quickly cast levitation spells on her darling designs.
Then, she conjured something her aunt would never allow her to touch:
Trixie escaped in the moonlight,
with her living inventions,
never to be found by Aunt Mangle.
I adore picture books for many reasons, but today I'll focus on one: the pictures:) A picture truly is worth a thousand words, and they help children make meaning of stories, long before they can read. This natural image interpretation makes "Picture Prompts" especially engaging in the early grades.
I always loved showing the image below, when my class studied habitats. Students would instantly giggle and offer expert input on all that was wrong with the picture. My critical thinking questions naturally surfaced from their discussion: Why can't the cow live in the ocean? What does the cow need?
After lots of silly discussion we would go to the tables to start "Writer's Workshop." I would write "Wrong Habitat" on the board for students to label papers (according to their level on the writing continuum.) I was blown away by their hilarious responses! I so wish I still had pictures. I remember one student drew a goldfish living in a toilet! One student drew a bear on a beach:)
Writing was my favorite subject to teach, because it was always my favorite subject to learn. I had so many incredible educators, from elementary school to college, who encouraged me to write and made me feel confident. Even now, when I lay my little boy down for naps, I gather resources and try my best to become a better writer. So, when I noticed a "Picture Prompt" writing contest for grown-ups, I had to jump at the chance.
The contest starts on October 1st, and it's called the Fall Writing Frenzy. It'll be hosted by two incredible authors, Lydia Lukidis and Kaitlyn Sanchez. Lydia chose a fantastic assortment of seasonal and spooky pictures to inspire writers. We were given a limit of only 200 words to respond to a chosen image. I picked an adorable picture of a witch with a smoky green cauldron. I included my story in a separate post, and I hope you enjoy it! I had so much fun brewing this one up:)
My name is Laken Slate. I was an elementary school teacher for six years, before becoming a mom. I am set to graduate with a master's in Curriculum and Instruction in July 2021! Someday, I would love to be a picture book author. I am represented by the world's greatest literary agent, Joyce Sweeney :)