The third FABO Story competition has now opened for entries! It will be judged by author Michele Powles.
1. Read the story starter and continue the story.
2. Your story should be no more than 500 words (not including the story starter).
3. You have a week to write your story, so there’s no need to rush! Take your time and send us the best story you can write.
4. Send your story to us by 7pm Saturday April 18th.
5. The winner of the competition will be announced on this website a few days after the competition closes.
6. Every week there will be a new competition and a children’s author will post a new story starter for you.
7. The competition is open to kids aged 13 and under.
8. The winner will receive a Puffin book of their choice* and their story published on the Penguin NZ website!
*book must be $25 or under, book must be in stock, book will be delivered post lockdown.
Michele Powles’ Story Starter
Jeremy Walker reached for the laptop. “It’s my turn to choose, and I say tigers.”
His twin sister Briony was too quick and pulled the computer into her lap. “We watched the tigers at San Diego Zoo yesterday. All they do is sleep or stalk about. It’s depressing. I want to see more penguins.”
“Birds? Boring,” said Jeremy.
Briony ignored him, her brown eyes already darting over the screen. “Saint Louis,” she said triumphantly. “They’ve got a penguin and puffin live stream.” The twins were going on an online tour of the world’s zoos each morning. Mum had complained they were spending too much time online but Briony had argued this was educational and if they did it at ten o’clock, they’d be quiet for mum’s Zoom meeting. Briony was excellent at getting her way, which was annoying, but sometimes very useful.
CLICK. The screen was suddenly full of birds. Black and white, yellow and orange, beady little eyes and snapping beaks. Jeremy sat back as the noise spewed out of the speakers. It was a clattering, raucous muddle as the puffins and penguins chatted, argued and maybe even sang to each other. They were all on the rocks of the enclosure, the water an empty blue pool below them. Jeremy waited for something to happen. Something. Anything.
He yawned. “At least tigers roar every now and then.”
SPLASH. As if it had heard him, a penguin dived into the water. And another and another. Like living torpedoes, the penguins and a solitary puffin arced through the water leaving long lines of bubbles in their wake. Jeremy wasn’t about to admit it, but it was cool. Underwater, the birds stopped being kooky and became graceful dancers.
“Hey, that’s not allowed.”
Jeremy tore his gaze away from the underwater disco and looked up to the top of the screen where Briony was pointing. A figure, dressed in black and holding a giant bag, was clambering over the enclosure wall. The intruder’s face was out of shot. “Maybe it’s a keeper?” suggested Jeremy. But as he said it, the shadowy figure bent over, and Jeremy’s breath rushed out of him in a startled gasp. That was no zoo keeper…