Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Michele’s FaboStory Judge’s Report

Nice work Ninja netters! This week there were some stand out entries purely based on the level of description you guys are all working with. Paying attention to details really brings life to a story so well done. Special mention for this goes to Sienna Maia Smith for “the breeze closed the door behind us” and Catalina Addis for your “steel lion knocker made a thump as it hit the vintage wood”, Finn Wescombe of Aidanfield Christian School for his beetroot allergy details and Evie Wilkins from Woodland’s Park School, because, puppies! You all brought me into the scene of your story and made me believe I was there.

A huge shout out to all the entries at Saint Kentigern College in general this week. You all gave great attention to detail and made some seriously great ninja netting attempts. I particularly enjoyed how Holly Huges solved all the mysteries in the story starter and gave us a sense of place with the creeping cold of night. A big thumbs up to Saint Francis de Sales school too, particularly Jack Townsend for his awesome Ninja 101 dial up story. And finally great work to Island Bay school too, particularly Helena R, some fantastic entries this week.

One thing to remember is to pay attention to tense and point of view. There were a few stories that started out in present tense and then shifted to past tense – (I am catching the ninja – present tense) would change to (and then the ninja was caught and our jobs were done – past tense) for example. And there were a few where your narrator would start out in first person (I am going to catch a ninja) and then end up in third person (he crept up on the ninja and wrapped him with a net).

But this week’s overall winner was Larry McMyler! Larry, could you please contact Michele using the Contact form on this Website? You get to choose a book from this year’s New Zealand Children’s Book Award Shortlisted titles. You can all check them out by clicking here! Some of our Fabo Judges are among the shortlisted authors. Yay!

Larry did a great job of creating tension, pace and a setting that brought the story to life. Congratulations to everyone! A ninja job well done!


Read Larry’s story here

“Ninja net it is,” Ivan agreed. And so we began. Weaving, cutting, tying, we knew it would take time and hard work, but we believed it would pay off. And it did. Because after many hours, sitting out on the cracked, weed-strewn patio, we had ourselves a decent net. Now I say decent, not amazing, because sure, it would hold together, but maybe not under the strength of a fully grown man who has spent his whole life training in a secluded Ninja Dojo, hidden in a remote mountain range in Tokyo, training under the guidance of a 90 year old man who can arm-wrestle anyone into the ground. But yeah, decent enough. Once we had finished the net, Ivan decided we should scout out our target first. But first, we needed camouflage. So after a few minutes of searching the Invention Potential Pile, we had found two beanies which were long enough to cover our faces. We then cut three holes, two for the eyes, and one for the mouth.

“Tonight, at seven, we will disappear into the night, and our target will be in our sights,” Ivan said in a deep, raspy voice. Then he pulled his makeshift mask over his face, and dived behind the couch, knocking over the reading lamp.

“Alright, Batman,” I said, rolling my eyes.

So that night, after a lot of explanation to my parents, we met up at the letterbox at the end of Mrs. Gilinsky’s driveway. Mrs. Gilinsky, our neighbor, always kept her dog inside its enclosure, for fear of people feeding it anything outside its strict diet of only the best dog roll. The dog, a cocker spaniel with long silky fur, attracted a lot of attention with the local children.

“So did you bring the net,” Ivan inquired.

“Sure did,” I answered, producing the net from my schoolbag, “Where will we hang it?”

“From the tree by the doorway,” came the reply after much consideration. And so we fastened the net so that it hung from a branch of the Pohutukawa that stretched across the yard.

“And now we wait,” I said, once the job was done.


We waited for about ten minutes patiently, then just as we were about to pack up and head home, a figure leaped over the fence. We retreated to our hiding place, behind the recycling bin, and watched the mysterious trespasser. The child, he or she was definitely a child, and was, by an estimate of height, about the age of eight. They seemed to be walking gingerly towards the dog kennel. But just before they could make it to the kennel, they got caught up in the net. A voice, the voice of a young boy, cried out in shock.

“Benjamin?” I called out to my brother, revealing our hiding place.

“George!” Ben replied. A light turned on in the house, Mrs. Gilinsky must have heard us.

“Come on guys!” Ivan whispered, pulling us behind the bin. And just in time as well. Mrs. Gilinsky was just opening the door. She spent some time looking out onto the yard.

“Pesky possums,” she said in a shrill voice.

When we made it back home, we took off our muddy shoes and went into the living room.

“Where have you lot been?” said Mum.

“Ninja hunting,” I replied with a smile.



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