Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Lauren PippaThe Ketchup KingJon CoxPBFunny573

Dan LOVES tomato sauce; he is the self-proclaimed Ketchup King. Waited on by his ‘Butler’ and tended to by his ‘Doctor’, he swans through his royal life pouring ketchup on everything he eats. Until, one day, his skin starts to turn red. When a kingdom-wide ketchup ban is imposed, Dan has no choice but to try alternative condiments. But can any new flavour ever really cut the mustard with someone so committed to their sauce?

The Ketchup King is a 573-word picture book for 3- to 5-year-old fussy foodies and their pooped parents. Inspired by my own son’s refusal to eat anything unless it is covered in ketchup, it has a subtle message about not being afraid to try new things. It is a character-driven, fun story that will appeal to fans of the playful rhyming picture books of Lucy Rowland and Caroline Crowe, as well as anyone who enjoys Kes Gray’s classic, Eat Your Peas.

I am a #WriteMentor 2020 mentee and Golden Egg Academy Picture Book 2020 graduate, and have previously attended picture book writing courses run by The Guardian, Nosy Crow and SCWBI. I am also a volunteer school librarian and member of two picture book critique groups. As well as 12 years’ experience as a trade journalist, I have more recently spent two years working as a learning support assistant in a primary school.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my manuscript. I have attached the first 248 words of The Ketchup King below, and have many other completed picture book manuscripts that I would be delighted to send you on request.

Best wishes,

Lauren Pippa

The Ketchup King By Lauren Pippa

Spread 1
There once was a boy known as Ketchup King Dan
Whose mealtimes were ruled by his one royal plan:
To squeeze bright red sauce on each dish that he ate,
To squirt it on everything put on his plate.

Spread 2 [Illo: Dan covered in ketchup, wearing paper crown and cape. ‘Butler’ Dad horrified.]
Each day King Dan splattered and spurted that sauce,
All over whatever was served for main course.
But, one day, as Dan slurped his ketchup on stew,
His Butler shrieked loudly, “What’s happened to you?”

Spread 3 [Illo: ‘Doctor’ Mum just home from work, despairing at her ketchup-covered son.]
His Doctor was summoned and started to check
The King’s bright red arms and his speckled red neck.
“King Dan,” she announced, “From today, you begin,
A week without ketchup – on food or your skin!”

Spread 4
“A week!” shouted Dan, “No, I’ll put up a fight!
Ketchup-free dinners are simply not right.
All food without ketchup is tasteless and bland.
I won’t eat my veggies if red sauce is banned.” 

Spread 5 [Illo: Dan in bed still wearing crown. Dad trying to cheer him up with a sandwich.]
“Oh, come now, King Dan,” said his Butler. “Don’t cry.
Together, we’ll find you new sauces to try.
Let’s start with these slices of cheese in brown bread.
Then leave out the ketchup, add pickle instead.”

Spread 6
Dan looked at the lumpy brown sauce in dismay.
(He really was having a difficult day.)
But, bravely, he picked up the sandwich and tried
First sniffing, then licking the strange stuff inside.

The Ketchup King paused as he took his first bite.
Then, smiling, he said, “Wow, this combo’s all right!
But don’t think this means that I’ll swap anymore.
If food needs improving, that’s what ketchup’s for!”