Posted in The Winner

Melinda’s FABOstory Judge’s Report

Fabostory Challenge 6th to 17th March 2017

I had great fun reading your stories about what happened to poor Tom the dog/boy, and I was mightily impressed to see how many of you managed to include the bonus words. Well done! There were 53 stories in total from all over New Zealand and a few from Australia as well.

It was a popular idea to have Tom cured by the same box that had turned him into a dog in the first place and I was amazed and amused to see how many of you had the students hijacking a car. The quality of the stories was generally very high and there was some wonderful polished writing. It was great to see so many well-constructed sentences and lots of correctly used punctuation. Even the best story ideas won’t get far without these.

Well done to Jess Hudson who seemed to pick up on the joke in Ivan’s name and make good use of it – “Ivan,” Maria said calmly in this not at all calm situation. “Ivan Eyedea. You are the smartest kid I know. Come on, you need to think of something,”…

And to Chloe Mann who came up with a great name for Tom’s condition – dogoitis.

A shout out also to Katie Lye and Finn Wescombe for ‘best use of the word hijack.’

When they went to the counter to pay for the goods Maria said, “hijack” and the salesman said, “how did you know my name?”
“It’s on your badge”.
“Oh”, Jack said.   (Katie)

And – I laughed at her, took charge of the hijack-in-the-box and took care to lock the lid. (Finn)

For a sentence that just made me laugh out loud thanks to Ella GrayThey popped into the library to get a book that Maria needed for school. It was called ‘I just want to hijack a car.’

And William BattenWhen we finally got home, puffed, we gave the antidote to Tom, he ate it suspiciously, but ate it anyway because he’s a Labrador and they will eat anything.

Special mentions for well written, well thought out responses to the story starter go to Jess Hudson from Remarkables Primary, Kelly Zhang and Emma Ying from St Cuthberts, Corwin Heath-Cameron from South Wellington Intermediate, Zoe Churm from St Cuthbert’s College, Finn Wescombe and Cole both from Aidenfield Christian School, and Ava Schaumann from St. Francis Xavier School.

And the winner of this challenge is Matteo from St Peter’s Catholic School, whose well executed story had energy, and a truly fresh and imaginative spin on Tom’s transformation. You can read it below. Congratulations Matteo!! Please email your postal address to me at so I can send out your prize (or I can forward it to your school if you prefer).

– Melinda Szymanik


Our teacher, Mr Dart, said it’s rude to listen in on other people’s private conversations. And he said eavesdropping can often lead to trouble.

I wasn’t sure what he meant. I didn’t think it was all that bad. After all what kind of thing could kids my age be talking about that was so secret. Or so dangerous.

Of course Mr Dart was right. And I found out the hard way. It all started the day Maria Aches, Tom Bowler and I (Ivan Eyedea, but you can just call me Ivan) were having lunch under the willow tree. The tree doesn’t grow on school grounds but its branches hang really low over the fence. Some other kids were having their lunch just beyond our hiding place and we could hear them talking.

“Don’t worry. It’s behind the caretaker’s shed,” one said.

“Are you sure no one will find it?” another said.

“They’d better not,” the first one said. “I buried it pretty deep. It should be safe.”

We met behind the shed straight after school, and soon found the patch of freshly turned earth. Maria handed out scallop shells she’d borrowed from the art room and we started digging. The dirt was pretty loose and we made quick progress.


“It’s some kind of box,” Maria said excitedly as she scraped more earth away.

“Do you think it’s treasure?” I asked.

“I could buy a new bike,” Tom said.

He pulled the box up and lifted the lid. Rays of light shone out from inside. Tom leaned in closer and that’s when it happened. The light focused itself on Tom and held him in its beam. Then it threw him backwards onto the ground where he lay twitching, arms and legs sprawled, eyes blank and staring.

“Tom? Tom, are you okay?”

“Woof!” Tom said. “Woof, woof, woof.”…

Matteo’s Winning Story


Liv Eurtreets was hungry. Liv Eurtreets was cold. She was also angry.

Angry at the world. Angry at the horrible humans who had hijacked that car that was to take her home to a family – and tossed her out, onto the streets.

Eight days now it was; eight days since she had escaped the cold, hard, caged environment that was the pound. She’d been looking for a home – a place of comfort, hoping she might finally find one…

She had however, found something different….Something very different. Something even worse than her caged kennel at the pound. Having escaped the animal control, Liv had stumbled into the hard reality that was the backstreets. Again.

Two men – thugs, walk past. They’re talking in low tones. Liv cranes her neck round to overhear.

“Third alley, at the back.”

“Sure they won’t find it?”

The conversation fades away.

Third alley Liv thinks. She knows that place. It’s a frequent source of food, if mainly consisting of rubbish.

She thinks, and barks in recognition; she remembers.

The freshly turned dirt at the back…


I’m a superhero. Weeeeeeeee! Fun! Except kind of not fun.

I’m flying. Though a multi-dimensional cylinder – like the one in RUN, the game.

Except real. REAL. Of course I’m not scared. Only marginally freaked. (Okay, maybe a little. Or maybe more than that.)

What if I’ve been scared the whole freakin’ time this has been going on: Box – light – Boom! Noooooooo. Totally not.

If this is the kids’ secret then it’s worth keeping.

I spin and turn and flip – like the ball in that game I can’t remember the name to.

I think I might be slightly enjoying this. Slightly.


Liv’s paws plod along the wet concrete of the big city’s sidewalks. She is silent.

At least her body is. Her mind is not. It is furiously pumping away:

Sidewalks, I must be quiet, treasure?, HUNGRY, back of the alley, what could it be, HUNGRY, treasure?

She turns right. Spins her head round to look and creeps forward.

Plod, Plod, Plod.

And then she stops. Frozen.

“Ha, stupid stray!”

A guard; they have posted a guard. He picks up a broomstick and runs forward.

“Get out!”

The thug lunges, clumsily forward, bringing his wooden broom down.

Liv darts to the side, her wet coat shaking water droplets out into the dark alley and her tough, calloused paws pounding on the ground.

The thug trips and curses. As he hauls himself up, Liv races to the end of the alley, slides to a stop and spins. The small lump of fresh soil is there.

The thug stumbles forward.

Liv’s legs are a confused bundle of limbs and dirt as she paws the ground, then her sharp claws scrape against something. She uses her muzzle to push it open. Almost…

The guard stumbles closer and closer. He raises the broom.

The box opens, light streams out..

Liv feels sucked in.

Blackness surrounds her, and then light, in all colours streaming around her. A black object zooms towards her. Then as it nears she sees a human child. There, and then gone. More light follows; then blackness again.


It goes black and I stop moving. When I open my eyes I’m a dog. A dog? And I’m in a dark alley. And –



Liv is still. When she opens her eyes, two gasping human children stare down at her. Except it’s not her – not her body anyway. She cannot stay silent any longer.
“Woof” Liv says “I’ve an idea!”


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