Zach and Backer, the Toad Who Rode a Bull

You are about to have the opportunity to be the first to read a very rough initial draft of a new children’s story I’m writing.

After I get an idea about a possible new story, I let it bounce around in my brain for a while as I closely watch to see if the ideas keep coming or I lose interest.

When I think I have enough basic ideas for the roughest of outlines of a story, I begin to type as fast as I can to try to get the basic outline down before I lose it.

Initially, I don’t try to rhyme, use alliteration, create word play, or do anything fancy. I figure there will be lots of time to make the story better in later revs.

But, what tends to happen fairly quickly into the process is rhymes, alliteration, word play, and the like, just start showing up, so I capture them.

The further I go along in writing the draft, the more the rhymes and other things just naturally start to flow and gradually play bigger roles in later parts of the outline begins.

I find that to be an interesting evolution that just happens naturally for me. So the last half of my first drafts for nearly all of my stories end up with far more rhymes than the first half.

I’m no longer surprised by this and just go with the flow.

Most creative people probably prefer not to show their early drafts, but you have indicated a special extra interest in my children’s story writing adventures and misadventures by following this blog, so I wanted to give to you the opportunity to see one of my stories in a very early stage.

May you find the very rough first draft below worthy of your time.

With Love,


Zach and Backer, the Toad Who Rode a Bull

Zach Littlecity and his buddies liked to catch toads and watch to see which ones jumped the farthest or raced the fastest.

One day, Zach found a toad that looked different than any he’d ever seen before. Instead of the usual toad colors, this one was striped like a zebra. But instead of being black and white, his stripes were purple and yellow. He was certainly was a colorful fellow. The toad had a friendly face, and Zach decided he’d try him out in the next toad race.

So Zach put the toad next to all the others on the starting line, and on a buddy yelled go, all the toads jumped forward. All but one. Zach’s toad didn’t move at all. He didn’t walk,, and he didn’t crawl. He just sat there looking pretty, at least according to Zach Littlecity.

While the other toads jumped and jumped. Zach’s just sat there like a big old lump.

Your toad’s a dud a buddy said. But Zach thought maybe he’ll do better in the contest to see which toad jumps the farthest. So the other boys had their toads jump. And some of them jumped quite far. Now it was Zach’s toad’s turn to try to be a star.

But instead of jumping forward he did something no one expected, he jumped backwards and was rejected.  “That doesn’t count”, Zach’s buddies screamed. “Toads always jump forward. That’s just their way. You’re toad’ is broken and cannot play.”

Zach put the toad next to his face, and whispered, “I don’t care if you ever win a race. I like you the way you are. To me you’ll always be a star. So if you want you can stay with me. We’ll be friends just wait and see.”

The toad smiled and seemed to nod his head, so Zach thought for a while, and then he said, “It’s five blocks home, but you don’t have to walk it, come rest right here inside my pocket.

A few days and many backward jumps later, Zach said, “You jump a lot. You’re no slacker. Since you always jump backwards, I’ll call you, “Backer.”

Then one day they went to a rodeo. Inside Zach’s pocket Backer couldn’t see the show, so Zach put him on a board to watch the rodeo.

But just as he did a horses’ tail swept poor Backer right off the handrail.  He jumped in fright at the loud tap, and back he flew into a woman’ lap. She looked down and screamed, “EEEEEK, what that?!?” and that scared toad jumped back onto a cowboy’s hat!

Things were now very rough, because the cowboy who wore it looked mighty tough.

That poor Backer must have felt cursed, because things then went from rough to worse.

The cowboy didn’t know a toad was on his head, so walked to the bull riding pens and said, “I drew the number for Last Ride Red.” The other cowboys all looked down, for Last Ride Red was the meanest bull around. He’s called that because anyone who has tried, never ever wanted to go on another bull ride.

But the cowboy was mighty brave and would to try to ride him anyway. He climbed on the side of the pen and leaned forward getting ready to sit on him. The bull sure looked mean from where he sat, but as he leaned, the toad slid right off the cowboy’s hat!

That startled the man holding the gate. He tried to close it but it was too late.

As Last Ride Red came charging out, the crowd began to shout! “That toad’s in trouble! Everyone look out!”

Backer knew he had to hang on tight so he grabbed the bull’s hair with all his might. He knew if he was thrown down, this mean old bull would stomp him into the ground.

Last Ride Red was having a fit. He even ran into the fence shattering it. But no matter how high and hard that mean bull bucked, that little toad never gave up.

After an hour of thrashing around it was the tired old bull who gave up and laid down.  Everyone jumped to their feet and cheered. The bull hadn’t done what they had all feared. Instead of stomping the toad into the ground, the toad rode the bull all the way down.

Zach ran out and picked Backer up, but a man came running to them with a huge trophy cup. “This toad’s our rodeo champ”, he said, because he was able to stay on Last Ride Red.

So the boy carried his tired toad home in the cup of the golden trophy Zach proudly held up.

The next day the news told the story of Zach’s toad who rode the bull.

But what about Last Ride Red? He had a happy ending too. He had his last rider that day and now gets to stay in a field full of cows and play.

The End

About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 4 young grandsons. I manage a wealth management firm I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of 23 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and enjoying our small redwood grove and fern garden.
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10 Responses to Zach and Backer, the Toad Who Rode a Bull

  1. mimijk says:

    This is a terrific draft Russ…

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you, Mimi. I’ve been up most of the night writing it, and was about to sign off to go to bed and saw that you sent a comment. I’m glad I read it before signing off. Thank you. You put a smile on a tired writer’s face. (This message is probably rambling. If so, I apologize.)

  2. strokedtolife says:

    What a great story! You are very courageous to share your early draft. Good work my friend!

    • russtowne says:

      I don’t know why your posts are being moderated. Hopefully it will stop shortly as I trust what you have to say and feel no need to moderate your posts. I apologize for the delay.

  3. strokedtolife says:

    What a great story. You are very courageous to share your early draft. Good work my friend!

    • russtowne says:

      “You are very courageous to share your early draft.” It’s THAT bad? ;-D! Seriously, thank you for your kind comment and compliments.

      • strokedtolife says:

        Ha ha oh dear- I didn’t realize how that sounded until you pointed it out. I think that you are courageous because I am too terrified to share my early drafts. You’re a wonder my friend 🙂

  4. russtowne says:

    Thank you, but no apology is necessary, Kendra. I knew what your intentions in your comment were and know that everyone else did too, and was just kidding you. I appreciate your compliments and support.

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