What an amazing, often action-packed, and inventive collection of stories has been flooding in over the last couple of weeks. I have really enjoyed reading all your stories. There were over 60 entries and the writers ranged in age from 7 to 13. Wow! As you can imagine the judging process was quite difficult.
I was really impressed with the overall quality of the writing and the creativity when deciding what Dad’s secret actually was. The projects included: robots, time-machines, Lamborghinis, weird insects and pink spiders, all the way to nail polishers, pie makers, and barbecue-lawnmowers.
There was some wonderfully evocative use of language. I loved Kyle’s Marvel Comic take on his story and his Robot Jack description, with its “cubical head made out of vibranium and sharp, pointy, knife-like toes.” Also, Elizabeth gave her robot story a great sense of movement by using mostly verbs and short words. “With that he picked me up and put me on top of his bold, metal head. He smashed the roof and flew past the sun up into space and off to Robot World.”
And while we’re talking about fast pace, I’d like to commend Elliot from Greytown School for the sheer energy in his story — it was action packed from beginning to end.
Best beginning goes to Ella: “Dad’s going to be so proud … I am going to make a little brother!!”
Best description of angry Dad, to Molly and Aidan: “He has a FURIOUS look on his face and I think it’s turning maroon, and the vein in his head is almost bursting out of it. ‘JAMES, WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU THINKING,’ he trumpeted, like an elephant with horrible tummy pains.”
Best endings to Tara, Hamish and Vianne.
Tara: “I stare at the old green layer of paint that hid the secrets behind it. The wooden shed keeping everyone out, or was it keeping something in? The shiny padlock mocks me as I walk away.”
Hamish: “Dad went back into the shed and said to himself, “I have another project to do.”
Vianne: “Today was not the day that wishes came true.” So even though I had wished that I didn’t get grounded, I did get grounded from nearly everything.
Many of the stories used humour to great effect. I especially liked Noah Fifita’s idea of having the dad sing a song as he approaches the shed, one that makes the main character’s bones freeze. “I cannot wait to see my robot, my robot, my robot. Oh I cannot wait to see my robot.” CREAK! CREAK! … Also, Noah and Kate’s (Reignier Catholic School) future telling machine with its wicked sense of humour. When the main character (who is sure he will be famous) wants to know his future he is shown a policeman eating a chocolate coated donut with rainbow sprinkles.
Using the five senses is a great way to bring descriptions to life. This is how Bella describes Dad approaching: “I hear the click clack of his new bought, polished shoes coming closer.”
It was very hard to choose a winner. There were several stories that were in my short list and I would like to give them a special mention:
Sarah – I really liked the way the tone of your story was in keeping with the story starter, and loved the corrupt robot and the karate-kicking sister characters.
Carly, whose Robo Robot had a had a craving for nuts and bolts. A great story, Carly – nicely structured and paced with an excellent beginning, middle and end, and good proof reading too.
Trinity, who very skilfully turned the story around and made it moving and sad. Lovely writing.
Lela – “Greetings, Clinton, son of Patrick and Melissa. I am Jeffrey, your dad made me. I am built for your protection. You are not like others you know.” This story was well plotted with great writing and an excellent open ending. Loved it.
But the story I have chosen as winner, and I feel is most in keeping with the story starter, is by Aoife Moss from St Joseph’s. Congratulations! Please email me your address to email@example.com and I’ll send you your prize.