I have to say(or do I mean hate to say?)that I loved every single entry in the terrible query letter contest. All of them made me laugh, and all of them were horribly awful.

However, there was one that stood above the others. This one truly surpassed everyone else in awfulness for one simple brilliantly terrible reason: part of it was written in rhyming verse.


So, congratulations to Dee Ranged (or whatever your real name is) for creating a truly terrible letter. I’ve copied it so everyone else can also appreciate the wretchedness. On Thursday, I’ll dissect all of the things (besides the rhyme) that is wrong with this letter.

Deer Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Whatever M. Smoot:

I bought the bright green sticker on the outside of the envelope on eBay so I don’t really know what gender you are since I didn’t actually attend the conference at witch you spoke. Sorry. I paid good money for the “M. Smoot” sticker to gain access to your closed publishing house, so I hope you appreciate it. I’m sure you did a wonderful, stupendous, fantastic job at the conference and gave a fabulous, mesmerizing, interesting speech. Thanks for being such a helpful, kind, grate editor.

Anyway, enough about you. Now for my soon-to-be best seller… you’re gonna love it! Since it has an elephant AND a donkey in it, it will surpass sales of “Horton Hears a Who” and “Winnie the Pooh” (with Eeyore) combined. I know it will be made into a poplar movie and will be translated into many languages. That’s why I want to keep all foreign rites. I also want fool plush animal sales.

My book is called THE ELEPHANT AND THE DONKEY and it is completely in rhyme. Since it is about animals, I tested it out on my cat and dog and they absolutely loved it! They showed their appreciation by marking the corners of this manuscript. You’ll probably be able to tell (or smell) witch corner is witch.

I didn’t read my story to any pre-schools because I didn’t want the teachers to still the idea, but I know kids will love it!!!

Hear is more about it…

My 20,000-word picture book
For ages two to four,
Covers many topics
Other children’s books ignore.

Taxes, stocks, and politics
Are introduced in rhyme.
The story is sure to be a hit
At every child’s bedtime.

You’ll want to publish this right away.
It’s going to be a best seller,
More popular than “The Cat in the Hat,”
Or that tearjerker, “Old Yeller.”

The conflict is that an elephant
And donkey can’t agree.
They fight over just about everything,
Including cups of tea.

Will they ever learn to get along?
Can these protagonists save the world?
I’m writing a 1000-page sequel,
Where the answers will be unfurled.

Believe me, this book will fly off the shelves and beat the ebook download record, so you’ll want to publish this by November so we can both become rich quick. That’s only about a month away, but if you overnight the contract to me, I’ll sign it write away and the illustrator can start immediately. Oh, I really like the work of Tomie dePaola. I hope you can get him for this book. Do you have that kind of pool?

I know you only wanted a query and ten pages, but I am so confident you’ll like my work that I scent the hole book. I am offering this as an exclusive transmission for one week, but after that I’ll really need to move on if I haven’t herd from you. I want to enjoy my millionaire status before the world ends or before the next election – whichever comes first. Who knows what the tax rate will be after that!

I should tell you that I’ve already been published in my third grade newspaper, so I’ll want the “royal treatment” when it comes to royalties. We can go over all that when I meat you in person. Yule love how punny I am.

Dee Ranged

P.S. – I hope you like the red, white, and blue elephant and donkey sugar cookies I enclosed. They were only supposed to have white and blue icing on them, but my three-year old helped make them and she had an owie at the time, hence the red coloring. I was going to send a tea bag, too, so you could have tea and cookies, but Tea Party stuff seems to be getting a bad rap lately and I didn’t know your fillings on that, so I decided against it.

© Copyright 2006-2011 Madeline Smoot. All rights reserved.
May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.
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