Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Stephen JamesCoronation ChickenCatherine EmmettPBFunny rhyming narrative733

Coronation Chicken

1 dreamy maid
1 mean queen
1 kind-hearted chicken
1 ancient stone tablet
A bucketful of hope
(And a dash of guile!)

Mix the ingredients in a palace until you have a quirky, humorous rhyming picture book, perfect for fans of Peter Bentley and Jonny Duddle.

I am a musician and have a background in songwriting. My songs have been aired on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction and I’ve performed at many great venues. The flood of story ideas I’ve had since my daughter was born four years ago has completely turned my attention from song lyrics to picture book verses and prose.

I want to build a lifelong writing career, so I’m very dedicated to studying the craft. This year, in addition to the learning I’ve had from my mentor, I’ve completed many writing courses/workshops. I’m starting a new course with Clare Helen Welsh in September and I’m booked onto a number of workshops at WOWCON 2020. I find courses and events really inspiring, as they keep pushing the bar higher and higher. I’m a member of the SCBWI.

I’ve taught team building workshops in more than 300 schools. I hope that one day I’ll be using the communication skills I’ve developed alongside my writing skills to deliver exciting author visits.

Thanks for taking the time to read my work.

Best wishes,
Steve James

Coronation Chicken

[Art note: There is a thought bubble over the maid’s head filled with images of her dream life]

In Bleakington Palace a maid with a mop

Paused while she pictured a scene –

Of living her life by a lake making art


[Art note: The Queen shouts at the maid]


[Art note: A silhouette of the maid (Elise) working on her art in her tiny house. There’s an image pinned to the wall of her dream home by the lake]

Elise gave her days to the meanest of queens.

She scrubbed and she sewed a fine seam.

At nighttime, she sketched and perfected her craft

And ALWAYS believed in her dream.


One morning the Queen yelled some news at her staff, 

“I’m planning a GLORIOUS ball.

And YOU have the honour of losing your homes

So I can extend the Great Hall.”

“PLEASE,” begged Elise, “we have NOWHERE to go!”

The Queen looked annoyed and then smiled,

“Birdbrain, you fool – your queen is not cruel…


…you can live with the chickens, dear child.”

[Art note: A silhouette of Elise working on her art in her tiny house]

That night Elise worked on her dream until dawn 

Then left without packing a thing.

She crept in the coop feeling lonely and sad

But a hen took her under her wing.

Next morning when builders demolished the village

They dug up a tablet of stone.

“This funny old writing,” the foreperson gasped, 

“Says something to do with the throne.”

[Art note: A close up of the stone tablet. The words are carved in ancient lettering. There is an asterisk next to the word ONE*]

When midnight arrives and the bells ringeth twelve

On the day that this stone hath been found.

The ONE* who is first in THE COURT of the Palace

Shalt sit on the throne and be crowned.

[Art note: Elise has the chicken that took care of her on her head. This chicken is with Elise in all subsequent scenes]

Elise brought Her Majesty news of the stone

But the Queen bellowed, “THAT IS A LIE!

For scattering rumours whilst wearing a chicken 

I’ll have you both put in a pie!”