Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Elena’s Judge’s Report!

Thank you to everyone who entered FABO and for all the wonderfully creative and imaginative stories you gave me to read. It was great to see entries from Australia and Norway too.

Lots of you had researched the story of the Pied Piper and although many carried on with the fairy tale theme, some of you chose to give your story a mystery or fantasy twist, or some comic or horror elements instead.

There were many wonderful takes on what might have happened to the mural, most involving various characters coming to life, from the Pied Piper to imploding eggpizachickensausagethings (Joseph Surrey), deadly doodles (Iibby Hayvice), Banana Man (Michael) and dinosaurs (Kezia Vaz)

Some of your Pied Pipers were out and out villains, whereas others were more three dimensional. Kiara’s Piper, who is looking a bit miserable, finally confesses, “it’s just I don’t want to be stuck in a painting and just standing there doing a pose.” Whereas Kate’s Piper hates fame and wants to be painted out. As it turns out, his replacement, Cinderella, is a much better dancer anyway.

Thank you Kate for making me laugh out loud: “Where are we, what happened?” Ana said drowsily as she rubbed her eyes and collapsed onto the ground. Luckily this time she had something to break her fall.
“Arg!!!” Niko coughed out loud. “Get off of me Ana!” he said as he attempted to sit himself up.

And I was impressed by your ingenious MacGyver type solutions Aanya: “Let’s use the sap from the tree (as a substitute for glue) to stick a bunch of grass onto a large piece of wood and connect that onto this bendy piece of bark to make some ear muffs …

Some of my favourite beginnings were:

The wall was tearing away with a rending sound and had somehow acquired a felt hat, mouth, flute and hands, along with a couple (okay loads) of legs. (Sarah Aitken)

The mural had literally come to life!
“Niko, what are we going to do? They’re walking away and when I say they, I mean a fairy, seven dwarves, a wolf, Little Red Riding Hood and a whole lot more!” said Ana. (Peter Browne)

“There,” Ana said, as she stepped back and admired the gorgeous blue rivers and the bright red sunset and the elegant trees. (Samantha T.)

Niko’s eyes were glued to the mural they had painted on the prefab classroom. The Piped Piper’s pipe had thick black music notes of all different sizes coming out of it, flowing towards Ana and Niko. (Maddie Mitchell)

There was also some excellent dialogue, which perfectly captured the character’s different voices:

The Pied Piper looked up to see Ana eyeballing him. “Hello, dear lady. Were you admiring my wonderful flute playing?”
“Ummmmm yeah, I guess,” Ana said.
“Well then, my fine maiden, I must ask you a favour. I seem to have fallen out of my mural. Would you mind singing the Pied Piper song to get me back in?” (Gina Field)

The mural had vanished!!!!!!
“But how could this happen,” cried Ana.
“You said it sister,” said Niko … (Ana was not his sister but he often said this). (Isabella Bamford)

And wonderfully original expressions and evocative descriptions:

Ana glared at him, barely able to control her anger, as she simmered like a sausage and fumed like a 1920’s car, all while tears of relief streamed down her face like they were skydiving. (Finn Wescombe)

“Niko and Ana stood there with their mouths hanging open like well-oiled doors …” (Sarah Aitken)

… Two tall legs appeared in front of them. They both glanced up to see their magnificent painting of the Pied Piper. He played a quick, short tune and said, “Masters, you have freed me from inanimation …” (Cameron Cross)

The judge strode in. She resembled a ghost – she had a white, long, pale face with glasses so thick that no happiness could be seen. (Charlotte)

When Ana woke up she was in a horrible place – children stumbled everywhere crying for their mothers and fathers, others sat down with a look of lost hope on their face. (Emily Bird)

All around the children were dancing. The Pied Piper was playing and of course everyone was happy, just like they thought it would be, but in the corner … stood a little girl who looked lonely and shy. (Habiba Haitham Khalil)

It was the same lullaby being played over and over again in their ears. The same dance being danced over and over in the same steps. (Kate Carter)

All around the Pied Piper was lush green grass and there were big, tall, strong mountains in the distance. (Jayne Ewart)


Happy endings, with Ana and Niko winning first prize for their mural, were popular. But below are some not so happy endings which I thought stood out:

Jett McKelvie had Niko and Ana receiving second place, which was a nice touch.

I liked Annie Cheng’s understated ending. “What type of dinosaur did you want to paint again?” Ana said, with a grin.

And Gabriella Rusk’s: Ana blew her last note and as she did so a single ray of sunlight shone on her …
“It’s a good thing I didn’t paint that dino,” Niko said.
“Because then we would have had to get rid of a T Rex!” Ana added.
The dark clouds moved away as the sun illuminated the sky.

Bridget managed to combine a nice mix of creepiness and comedy in her conclusion. (The inspector’s) skinny finger rubbed up against Ana (who is frozen in the mural) as if she could not believe that you could paint such intricate little humans – they looked almost like real people. If Niko and Ana knew they would be stuck in a painting forever, I think they might have brought earplugs.

Kezia pulled off the classic horror story ending: Anna laughed. “Must’ve had a bad dream in your sleep silly.”
Niko’s ears pricked up. Ana and Niko stared at each other. A soft flute tune was playing getting louder and louder …

As did Ember: “My job is done,” the porcelain doll screeched … “For now.”

And Chevy: And how to get rid of the Pied Piper who controlled us for the rest of his life, dancing in bed, in the shower, at the shops. Where ever we went, he was one step behind us …

Natalie Lamb even managed to include some Fabo references: “Do not say the Pied Piper!”
Only, of course, everyone did … And that was how Fabo Primary School ended.

As always, it was really hard to decide on a winner from my shortlist:

Sasha – I loved the mystery you set up and the details you included, which gave your story a sense of place.

Alexandra – I was very impressed with your codes and rhyming riddles.

Ysabelle – What a great idea to have your Pied Piper play off key and need to have flute lessons.

Finn – You’ve written some excellent dialogue, created really believable characters and it felt like you had a lot of fun writing this. Your story came very close to winning.

But the winner is Nathan Stacey from Churton Park School

Nathan, your story drew me in, building up suspense with a nice mix of dialogue and description and action, and had an equally strong beginning, middle and ending.

Please let me know where you would like your prize sent to.

Elena’s Story Starter

Ana dabbed the very last splodge of bright red paint on the outside of their prefab classroom.

“High five,” she said to Niko. “Bet we win best mural prize for this.”

The two of them had been working on the mural every day after school for what seemed like years – at least a week anyway – and now they were finally finished.

“You should have let me put that dinosaur in,” grumbled Niko, “then we’d beat the other classes for sure.”

Ana rolled her eyes. “The theme of the competition was fairy tales, remember. Since when did you ever see a dinosaur in a fairy tale.”

Both of them stood back and admired their line of brightly painted children, dancing along behind the Pied Piper. Even though it had been a bit of a squash, all the students of Room 11 were represented. They’d even put everyone’s names underneath, so they’d be immortalised forever … or until the school was repainted.

“Come on, Niko” said Ana, “let’s go home.”

But no sooner had they turned away, than Ana heard flute – or was it a recorder – music coming from behind them. Strange, there weren’t usually any after school music lessons on a Friday.

“That’ll be the Pied Piper trying to lure us away,” Niko joked.

Ana laughed. “Yeah, sure.”

Only all at once, she found she didn’t want to leave … the music was so beautiful … so sad. She simply had to turn back …

What she saw made Ana freeze in her tracks.

“Niko, look at the mural!”


Winner: Nathan (Age 10)

But there was no mural to stare at.

Twelve people stood in the courtyard, one held a flute and was blowing into it, the others were dancing along. The children stood mouth agape. The one with the flute noticed the children and beckoned for them to come join him. Niko and Ana went to obey but clumsily tripped over each other’s feet and came crashing to the floor. Ana’s vision went fuzzy and she stopped hearing the music. When she struggled to her feet she only heard the faintest wisp of music and sight of the last of the children dancing around a corner.

“Uh Niko” said Ana “They’re getting away!”
“What does it matter?” said Niko “What’s he gonna do?” “Make rats bite the principal’s toes? That’s all he does, control rats! Right, Ana?” said Niko. “Am I Right?”
But Ana was dead still, her eyes filled with terror. “No” said Ana after a while. “No, that is not all that he does.”

Ana ran into Room 11 and threw her hand into her bag, rummaged around and pulled out a book.
“What are we doing?” asked Niko sceptically
“NO TIME FOR CHIT CHAT!” yelled Ana, tearing through the pages until she found the right one. “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” Ana read aloud. “Once Upon a time, the town of Hamelin was ravaged by a plague of rats. They ate food, sickened people and stole. On one particularly bad day a man showed up with a flute. He played a sweet tune and led the rats out of town.”
“Yeah,” said Niko “And they all lived happily ever after. The End.”
“Shut up!” yelled Ana. “And keep listening …

“But when he came back, the mayor refused to pay the man, so the man vowed to return and get his revenge. And so one day the man returned and played a tune. He led all the children of Hamelin out of the town and into a cave and they never returned. Only two children were unaffected” Ana finished her story. “Now do you see the gravity of this situation?”
“Oh God,” said Niko, “I do now.”

Niko ran outside and round a corner, Ana trailing him.
“Where are we going!” she yelled.
They rounded a corner and came face to face with a construction site, where the builders had gone home for the night. Niko leapt over the safety barrier and started to climb the ladder.
He was stopped by a hand on his ankle.
“This is crazy!” said Ana, glancing around nervously.
“Do you want to save our friends?”
Ana gulped and finally gave a small nod.
“Then get up here”
Ana clambered reluctantly up the ladder and followed Niko onto the top of the hall.
“Now what?” asked Ana, surveying the surroundings.
“We look for the piper” said Niko
“Over there,” said Ana, pointing to just in front of the hall, where the piper was hurrying the children inside just like the cave from the book.

Suddenly, without warning, Niko went bonkers.
He acted like a monkey, then an owl and then a frog.
Ana wasn’t pleased but she trusted Niko and followed his lead pretending to be an ostrich.

What first started as a smile on the piper’s face turned to a giggle and then a fully blown laugh. He laughed so much that he dropped his ornate flute on the ground. The flute shattered upon impact. Immediately the glassy eyes of the kids changed back to their normal colour. The piper didn’t notice what happened next as he was still laughing like mad. The piper started to dissolve. At first slowly but getting faster and faster until nothing was left but some puzzled children who didn’t know what had happened.

Ana and Niko hugged each other. They may have saved their school, but they still had a mural to repaint.



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