The fifth FABO Story competition will be judged by author Kathy White. Enter below!
1. Read the story starter and continue the story.
2. Your story should be no more than 500 words (not including the story starter). Stories over 550 words will be disqualified.
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 May 2nd (NZ time).
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.
Kathy White’s Story Starter: The Oak Tree Gang
“So how was it?” Mum asked as she drove through the Heu Heu Street intersection. “You boys weren’t too happy about going on your first school camp.”
Deano leaned forward through the gap in the front seat. “It wasn’t too bad, Mrs G, apart from the horrific river run …”
” … and Wills getting called Puffin’ Billy because of his asthma,” I added. Wills coughed as if on cue.
“And the over-salted rabbit stew on toast was disgusting.” Deano pulled a face. “Please don’t add it to your fine culinary repertoire, Mrs G.”
Mum smiled at him.
I sighed. Deano always impressed my mum with his vocabulary. I just wished he didn’t manage to make me look quite so stupid in comparison.
I yawned and pressed my face against the window as we turned the corner into Oak Tree Lane. Suddenly I was more awake than I’d been all week. “What’s happened to all the trees?”
Last week the street had been full of magnificent 100-year-old oak trees, one on every grass verge. Now they were stumps in the ground smothered in a fine layer of sawdust. I felt sick.
“As long as they haven’t cut ours down,” Wills wheezed. “You can’t have an Oak Tree Gang without an oak tree.”
I knew the news was bad as soon as I saw Mum’s face in the rear-view mirror.
“A phone company cut them down yesterday,” she said. “I came home from work to find it looking like this.” She pointed ahead of the car.
Holy macaroni. Right where our tree used to be, outside number 14, was an enormous tower made of concrete and steel. On the top were three antennae, and a platform full of dark grey boxes with LED lights.
What had they done with our club-house? And where was the flying fox that went into the gully?
“No way! ” Deano yelled, stumbling out of the car before it had pulled into the driveway. “There must be a law against this.”
“Apparently not,” Mum sighed, slamming the door. “I called them and they said the tree wasn’t on our land. There’s just one tree left and they’re coming to cut that down tomorrow.”
“Oh woe is me,” Deano said, sinking to his knees.
I heard a sound behind me and turned to see my beautiful cat, Tyler, running toward me, the bell on his collar jangling, and his big belly swaying. He started rubbing himself against my jeans, a big smile on his whiskery grey face. He obviously didn’t understand that this was mega.
“Hang on a minute,” said Wills, squinting. He pointed to a grey box at the top of the tower. “That looks like a mammoth drone.”
That’s when the light came on. A red laser light. And its sights were focused on ….