Posted in fabo story, The Winner

FABO Story Judges Report by Elena De Roo

Wow!!!! This is the highest standard of writing I’ve seen, since I’ve been part of Fabo. You’ve made it extremely hard for me to pick a winner.

A wonderful variety of creatures (both extinct and invented) appeared in your stories. Moa (with dinosaurs a close second) were popular, but some of the others that featured were: a dryad; a living statue; a taniwha; a cyborg moa and robotic tuatara; and a giant, light pink Orchard Mantis.

There were so many wonderful entries that stood out for one reason or another.

Amanda – I loved your variation on a classic ending —[Anika] was just about to try and steer the Moa back to where they had come from when Levi rode up beside them, sitting on top of the largest North Island Goose in the world. “This is awesome,” he breathed and together they rode off into the sunlit city.

Niamh — I was super impressed with the calculator-like device you came up with, to explain Anika’s and Levi’s predicament — … with switches labelled:
MOVING THINGS INSIDE VISIBLE FROM OUTSIDE. The first switch was on, the second and third were off.
Also — The International Invention Convention Building — is such a great name!

Piper – lovely attention to detail, especially colour.
His blue eyes were so wide, they looked like small doughnuts — was my favourite simile.
And I loved your description — A mammoth-sized T-Rex skelton stomped on visitors to the museum, and it lifted them up with its dagger-like teeth. Luckily when it ate them, they simply fell through its bony rib cage …

Divya – Your lovely sentence — A heavy breeze pushed past us — is one of my favourites.
It was also a nice touch to describe Anika and Levi as ‘curious creatures’, in your ending — “Well the most curious creatures here are probably you two. Where did you run off to?”

Maebel —Excellent world building!
When Levi argues dodo’s didn’t exist in New Zealand back in 1580, Stanley the Dodo explains — “We were here back when the land was still called Pangaea but the other two species [snake and giant brown moth] died of fear, when we started to drift.

Lewis — Your short story was full of energy. I especially liked the image of Levi being spirited away like a fat chicken.

Anaya — Nice use of sound and onomatopoeia.

Bethany – Your story had lots of twists and turns that kept me on my toes, and I loved your lively dialogue, especially the line, “Where next? Where next?” said the chit-chattery voices of the class. Especially impressive as you were the youngest entrant.

Charlotte – Love the moment, when Anika asks Levi if he’s still going to tell on her, and he answers — “If I make it out alive I won’t, but if I don’t I will tell on you!” whispered Levi back. A smile drifted across Anika’s face …

Cole – You also had great dialogue which captured the character’s voice — Anika, showing off as usual, and also trying to hide her panic, began talking. “This type of Moa, the Dinornis Novaezealandiae, lived in the lowlands of the North Island. Though it hunted and ate meat, it was mainly a herbivore and was tall enough to reach the higher branches of trees. It was also annoyed by sound … Oops.”

Special mention to the following finalists who all came close to winning:

Evangeline — Your evocative first sentence was my favourite opening — Crunch, crunch, scaly feet trod on leaves, gradually looming closer to the children — and I was impressed with the way you included the “grandfather paradox” in your time-travel story.

Lucia — Great attention to detail and vivid description that really brought your characters and story to life for me —
She[Miss Payne] pushed up her purple framed glasses and stared in horror at the scene before her. “How on earth did you two get in there,” she cried. Her face turning an ugly shade of tomato red.

Indigo —I loved the humour in your story, especially when the supernatural voice gets a little confused —
“For the male with his sore foot,” boomed the voice. Anika and Levi looked at each other in confusion, surely the god could tell that Anika was a girl?

Rilee — Lots of nice moments in your story — Levi’s eyes snapped shut; he shrunk down into a ball whispering, “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die …”Anika kicked him. “Snap out of it! It won’t hurt us – it’s a herbivore.”
Also, I’m super-impressed that you included the word “lugubrious” (I had to look it up to make sure I had the meaning right.) Well done!

Lucy — A beautifully crafted story, and it was lovely to see your use of Te Reo Māori in it.

Fleur — Your story came a close second place, and was very nearly the winner. I loved the way you cleverly included all the extinct birds from the story starter. And what a beautiful opening — Anika turned around, only to feel her insides drop. Towering above them, with gleaming brown feathers, was a Moa. It’s dark, malicious eye gazed down at them. “Levi, move very slowly”, she whispered. As she tugged at Levi’s sleeve, her heart pounded in her chest. If only she could share this special moment with the rare – extinct – Moa with someone other than Levi.

My winner is Rose Vannini (Mid Canterbury Centre for Gifted Education) — for a story which impressed me with its entertaining characters, overall quality and satisfying ending. Congratulations Rose, I’ll be in touch to organise sending your prize.

Rose’s Winning Story

Anika turned painfully to look. They were in a huge forest that couldn’t have been there. The exhibit was only about the size of their classroom. Stalking towards them through the trees was a moa. Not a stuffed moa. A real living, breathing moa. Anika had always thought the moa in other museums were beautiful birds with their amber eyes and huge feathers. But this one charging at her suddenly looked more like a cross between a monsterous giraffe and a chicken on drugs. It was looking right at them with its creepy amber eyes.

“Can we run now?” whimpered Levi.

He looked absolutely terrified. This moa shouldn’t be alive! But it was, very much so. It raised its head and let out a deafening “caaaaa!”

Anika stumbled backwards but that was all thanks to her stupid foot. The big monster trampled bushes under its massive clawed feet as it came closer. “Caaaaa!”

Just as the moa was nearly upon them the door reappeared in the wall and a man with a wild beard and even wilder eyes stepped in.

“What are you moaning about bird?!” he growled.

Then he saw Levi and Anika and froze. “Hello kids,” he leered “you’d better come with me. Bird- take them!” he said to the moa. It grabbed their t-shirts in its beak and stomped off after him, deeper into the forest.

“Welcome,” said the old man, “to my humble office.”

“Caaa!” called the moa.

“Shut up,” said the old man.

“Who are you?!” Anika yelled. “Put us down!”

“I am the brilliant scientist Professor Citrius.”

“Who?” asked Levi.

“Don’t tell me you have never heard of me?”

“Nope.” said Anika, trying to disguise her fear.

“Bah! Ignorant children these days!”

“He’s completely bonkers.” Anika said to Levi, who didn’t answer. Out of all the people to be captured with, it had to be him.

Just as Anika was trying to think of an escape plan Professor Citrius cried. “Here we are! Home sweet home!”

The professor’s idea of ‘home sweet home looked just like all the rest of the forest to Anika. “Drop them bird!” he shouted.

Anika was surprised when the moa placed them gently on the ground.

“One day I will rule the world using these birds as my minions.” He said, more to himself than anyone else.

“You can’t do that,” cried Levi “we’ll warn people!”

“Oh don’t worry about that. I didn’t spend years creating a gap in time for my plans to be foiled by two interfering children. I shall rule the world! Bird, you may have your dinner!”

The moa didn’t move.

“Didn’t you hear me? Eat the-”


The moa swallowed the professor in one bite.

“Nobody likes being bossed around,” said Anika to the moa. “We understand that, come with us.”

“Wha-” began Levi

“Shush,” said Anika “we could do with a class pet.

The moa looked at her with its beautiful amber eyes and let out its first truly happy “caaaaa!”

2 thoughts on “FABO Story Judges Report by Elena De Roo

  1. HI there

    My kids really enjoyed this site and opportunity to write for a bigger audience last year. Is it up and running this year?


    *Jodie Grant* *Year 5/6 * Motupipi School

    1. Hi Jodie,
      Thanks for your message.
      The competitions will restart at the beginning of term 2 on Monday April 29th.
      They will run through to the end of term 3.
      A new competition will start every fortnight during term time.
      To get notified when the new competitions start, sign up to Follow Blog Via Email.


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