Posted in fabo story, The Winners!

Fabo Challenge No. 1: Judges Report by Melinda Szymanik

Fabo 2016, Challenge No. 1
Judges Report – Melinda Szymanik

We had a huge flood of entries and I was very excited to see so many of you are so keen to take part in Fabo this year. Congratulations to every one who entered – well done!

And what a fantastic collection of stories you sent in! Skunks and dragons were a popular choice for what lurked inside Tina’s box. I was impressed that most of you included the required key words, and did so in really thoughtful, clever ways. Good work! There were some very bloodthirsty stories, and I found it very interesting that many of you had the school catching fire and burning down ☺. I was pleased to see that at least one writer had a phoenix as Tina’s show and tell.

There are just a few things I recommend for next time. When you are writing your entry, don’t forget to follow on from the story starter. Do remember to reread your story before you send it in so that you can fix up any mistakes or long sentences that might need an extra full stop or two. All writers edit their work before they send it in. Do make sure you stick with the same tense (past, or present, but not both) in your story, and the same point of view (for this challenge you could be Tina, or you could be observing Tina, but you couldn’t be both).

There were many great stories with good plots, and some really lovely writing. Keep up the good work people.

Special mention goes to Charlize Ebert from Greenhithe School for a fun story (and the only use of an octopus I think) and this most excellent line – “Suddenly he lifted his tentacles and violently sucked onto Ruby’s face.”

My runners-up are (in no particular order) Jaclyn from St. Cuthberts School, Emily Bird from Hukanui Primary, Sarah Aitken from Broadfield School, Rebecca Wilkins from Northcote Intermediate, and Amber Sowden from Greta Valley School.

And my winners are Montana Harper from Greenhithe School, who used fresh and imaginative language and had a smart plot with a clever resolution, and Ayeisha Beadsmoore (the youngest entrant at 6 and a1/2 years old) from Matakana Primary School, whose story was simple yet rather magical and a little bit poetic. Please contact me at to claim your prizes.

Story Starter

The box on Tina’s desk shook. She pressed down on the lid to keep it still. Ruby glanced nervously at her, but Tina just smiled.

“What’s in the box?” came a voice from the seat behind.

“It’s my show and tell, Brandon,” Tina replied.

“Yeah, but what is it?” he asked, leaning over the back of her seat to get a better look.

“It’s a surprise,” Tina said. “You’ll find out soon enough.”

Everyone in the classroom heard the strange noise, and wrinkled their noses at the smell.

As 9 o’clock approached, Tina walked to the front of the room and placed the box on Miss Green’s desk, making sure she kept one hand on top of it at all times. She glanced at the clock on the wall. Only a few more seconds and the bell would go and Miss Green would ask her to lead today’s ‘Show and tell.’ Tina had been waiting days for her turn. Boy were they going to be surprised. They had never seen anything like this before. Little did they know how much danger they were in…

The Winning Entries

Name: Montana Harper

School: Greenhithe School

‘Brriinng!’Miss Green hurried into the classroom minutes later. Tina grinned politely up at her, ’’May I start my show and tell now Miss?’’she asked.

With a nod to Tina, Miss Green smiled and said, ‘’Of course you may start, Tina.” Tina gingerly started to open the mystery box.

”My show and tell is…”Tina was cut short as the box burst open. The stench of whatever was inside was horrible, and smelled like old cafeteria food. A flash of bright burning light had blown the box open. The burning hot flash of light scorched the maths homework that Miss Green had just printed out.

“Yay?”said Brandon weakly trying to be funny.

“No maths homework?” Another burning inferno shot through the side of the box. A menacing yellow eyeball with a slit of midnight black slashed through it peered out. Crackle, crackle.

“The maths homework has set Miss Greens desk on fire!” screamed Ruby. All of a sudden the fire alarm started to screech deafeningly. The burnt, blackened, crackling remains of the homework was flaming, smoke rising off it. The class started to rush towards the door; but a burning, white-hot fireball flew towards the metal doorknob, welding it to the wall. Another five red hot fireballs welded all of the windows shut. Tina yelled over the fire and the wailing alarm,

”What do we do now?” Brandon suddenly yelled.

“What’s that coming out of the box, Tina?”. Tina swung around, to see a small, scaly, mythical creature with an impenetrable shell of armour rising out of the box.

“My show and tell” said Tina ,“is a dragon, its only weakness is boiling water.”

Miss Green exclaimed suddenly, “We have all the water in our drink bottles and we have that small science pan from yesterday afternoon that we could use, as well as the flames from the dragon, I just don’t know how to get the dragon to heat it up, without it burning somebody in the process.”

”I think we could do it.” Tina said.

“Here’s the plan: Brandon, you sneak up behind the dragon and push it back into the box, Ruby, you put the water into the pan, then, once Brandon has gotten the dragon into the box put the pan on top, trapping the dragon in the box, then we will all hold the pan down until the water boils with the flames that the dragon will blow upwards, when the water boils we will tip it into the box and onto the dragon.”


Everything worked exactly as it should have, until we poured the water onto the dragon. It only looked up at us and croaked, about to fire us all into oblivion. Then, when all hope seemed lost, the dragon dissolved before our eyes as well as every piece of evidence.

“Whew!” Everyone gasped with relief,

“That was close!”

Brriinng! “Morning tea time!”


Name: Ayeisha Beadsmoore

School: Matakana Primary School

Finish the story here: RRRRRRRRRRRRR! The bell rang.

“Now Tina will lead today’s show and tell.”

Tina took her hand off the box and out flew some fire and burnt the Maths books.

“Oh No!” Rudy said.

But when Tina clapped her hands all was normal.

Tina took her hand off again and out flew snow and covered everyone.

“C-C-C-Cold!” they said.

Tina clapped her hands and everything was normal.

Tina took her hand off the box again and out flew some fireworks.

One burst like an enormous shell and everyone’s eyes shot upwards.

Ruby said, “I hope they don’t set off the fire alarm!”

Tina clapped her hands and all was normal.

Tina took her hand off the box one last time and the room became a party.

Everyone played party games and ate party food.

Suddenly Tina clapped her hands and everything was normal.

‘Well done Tina,” said Mrs Green, “you made everyone happy!”


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