Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the fourth FABO Story competition now!

The fourth FABO Story competition will be judged by author Helen Vivienne Fletcher. Enter now!

Instructions

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 25th (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.

Helen Vivienne Fletcher’s Story Starter

Marco had never met anyone who had a whole library in their house before. Bookshelves, sure, maybe even a wall covered in books, but never a whole room. His uncle had just that, and it was a BIG room. The towering shelves stretched up, up, up in front of Marco, each containing hundreds, if not thousands of tomes. He spotted Alice in Wonderland on one shelf, The Wizard of Oz on another. He’d enjoyed those books, but today he wanted to read something new.

He wandered between the shelves, reading the spines. Something was calling to him, he could feel it. Like a little whispering voice, it was as if he could “hear” that the perfect story was in this room, just waiting for him.

Finally, he saw it. At the very top of one of the shelves, a single book seemed to stand out. The title, The Book of the Missing, was written in gold lettering, which caught the light. It was practically glowing! Marco knew he had to read it.

There was just one small problem. The book was near the ceiling, and that was at least three metres out of his reach.

“How on earth does Uncle Toby get books down?” he said aloud.

The books didn’t answer.

“Well,” said Marco, “there’s only one thing for it.”

He got a foot up onto the bottom shelf, and started to climb …

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the third FABO Story Competition Now!

The third FABO Story competition has now opened for entries! It will be judged by author Michele Powles.

Instructions

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…

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the second FABO competition for 2020 now!

The second FABO Story competition for 2020 is here! Author Maureen Crisp has posted a story starter and it’s up to you to finish the story.

Instructions

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 11th.

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 prize for the winner of the current competition will be revealed soon.

NOTE: Prizes can not be posted until the NZ Lockdown is over.

Maureen’s Story Starter

It was a dark and stormy night, so Rona made sure her torch worked before she stepped off the deck into the long wet grass.

‘It isn’t fair,’ she grumbled. Why did she have to check on the chickens?

Ever since last week’s explosion her mother hadn’t trusted her brother to do anything. Rona squelched through puddles, her gumboots making a squish suck sound until she found the path.

She flicked the torch around, the light was feeble in the gloom of the back yard. Wind whipped the branches so they clattered and crunched into each other making a brawl of sound. Rona’s hair was now getting plastered to her face with the torrents of rain.

‘I give up.’ Any chicken still outside the coop was going to be as brainless as her brother. She turned to head back to the house. The crack of lightening lit up the back yard. In the flash Rona saw the veggie garden, the washing line and a stray penguin.

Thunder rolled and faded. The dark gloom raced back into the yard. Rona stood frozen staring into the dark. She was looking right at a mountain of trouble for someone.

‘It’s not fair,’ she muttered as she went forward knowing that she was all that stood between her family and chaos. ‘Why me?’ …

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

FABO Is Back! Are You Ready To Write?

The FIRST FABO Story competition for 2020 is here! Author Melinda Szymanik has posted a story starter and it’s up to you to finish the story.

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

2. Your story should be no more than 500 words.

3. You have two weeks 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 8pm Friday April 10th.

5. The winner of the competition will be announced on this website a few days after the competition closes.

6. Every fortnight 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 prize for the winner of the current competition is shown on the sidebar of the website.

NOTE: Prizes can not be posted until the NZ Lockdown is over.

Melinda’s Story Starter: A Very Unexpected Experiment

Oliver Jamie had been keen on cooking from an early age. Perhaps it was the fun of making Yuck Soup as a toddler, with water from the hose, dirt from the garden, daisies plucked from the lawn, and all kinds of date-expired pantry items provided by his mother.

Now he loved to experiment, and unusual ingredients were his specialty.

‘What’s on the menu today?’ Mrs. Jamie asked her son as she padded into the kitchen, wearing bed hair and her fluorescent pink dressing gown. It was the first day of the school holidays and yet Oliver had been up since the crack of dawn. In the kitchen. Measuring, sifting, and mixing.

‘It’s a secret,’ he said. ‘But it’s nearly done. And you can be the first person to taste it.’

His right arm was a blur as he whisked a thick, orange fluid in the mixing bowl.

‘It’s an interesting … colour,’ Mum said. She didn’t comment on the smell. Partly because she had no words to describe it.

Oliver bustled around the kitchen. Pinching spices and chopping herbs his mum didn’t recognize. Stirring and straining. Opening and closing the oven door. Mrs. Jamie poured herself a coffee.

The oven timer went ding.

‘Voila,’ Oliver said, handing his mum a plate filled with knobbly orange blobs, flecked with green. He handed her a fork. ‘I’ll be back in a jiffy,’ he said. ‘Start without me.’

Mrs. Jamie scooped some of the food with her fork, and pinching her nose closed, opened her mouth and took a bite.

Oliver didn’t notice the flash of white light in the kitchen behind him as he dried his hands in the bathroom. He didn’t notice the deep silence as he made his way back to his favourite room in the house. And nothing could have prepared him for what he found sitting where his mum had sat only a few minutes earlier.

‘Mum,’ he croaked, trembling. ‘Is that you?’ …

Now You Finish The Story On The FABO Website…

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the final FABO Competition for 2019 now!

The LAST FABO Story competition for 2019 is here! Author Kyle Mewburn has posted a story starter and it’s up to you to finish the story.

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

2. Your story should be no more than 500 words.

3. You have two weeks 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 8pm Friday September 27th.

5. The winner of the competition will be announced on this website a few days after the competition closes.

6. Every fortnight a children’s author will post a new story starter for you.

7. The competition is open to kids aged 13 and under.

Kyle’s Story Starter

The night was as dark as a dragon’s lair. Pale stars glistened like crystals in the crisp, still air. It was almost silent, too, as though the world was holding its breath. There were only three sounds disturbing the peace. The gruff snuffling of sheep grazing amongst the tussock clumps. The distant whisper of the creek slithering over stones. And Archie’s regular: “Ka-Boosh!”

Pippa swung her torch around. “Do you have to do that?” she asked, already knowing the answer.

Archie’s face was a grinning deathmask. “Of course. Everyone knows if you stand on a landmine you get blown up.”

“They’re not mines, they’re cowpats. And you could avoid them… if you wanted.”

“That’s not much fun, Pip.”

“Well, could you stop it for a while? It’s annoying.”

Pippa swung her torch back to the path and stormed away.

“All right,” Archie said finally. Pippa could almost hear his eyeballs rolling in their sockets.

They’d walked the track to the creek so many times, Pippa was quite sure she could find her way blindfolded. But she kept her eyes peeled and her torch pointed firmly at the ground as she picked her way between the tussocks. The last thing she needed was to fall down a rabbit hole and break her leg again.

She glanced over her shoulder, hoping Archie was being a bit more careful too. When she saw him hunched forward holding a long stick like a rifle, his torch jerking wildly from left to right, she sighed.

“What now?” Archie asked, bewildered. “I’m being quiet, aren’t I?”

“Sometimes you’re such a… such an Archie,” said Pippa.

Archie smiled as if it was a compliment.

The field sloped away, falling towards the chuckling creek. They zig-zagged down the hill, following criss-crossing sheep tracks. Rabbits jerked upright as they were caught in a circle of torchlight. They looked more guilty than startled. Like they’d been caught doing something naughty.

An ear-shattering shriek split the night.

Pippa and Archie bolted upright.

“What was that?” asked Archie.

Pippa was too shocked to answer. Which didn’t make much difference because she didn’t actually have an answer. She’d never heard any sound like it before.

“Come on,” said Archie. “Let’s check it out.”

He sprang off the rock and dashed upstream before Pippa had a chance to argue. She wasn’t at all sure investigating was a good idea. The goosebumps tingling across her entire body suggested it wasn’t. But there was no stopping Archie, so she hurried in pursuit.

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the new FABO Story competition now!

A new FABO Story competition is here! Author Elena De Roo has written a story starter. Now it’s up to you to finish the story.

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

2. Your story should be no more than 500 words.

3. You have two weeks 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 8pm Friday September 13th.

5. The winner of the competition will be announced on this website a few days after the competition closes.

6. Every fortnight a children’s author will post a new story starter for you.

7. The competition is open to kids aged 13 and under.

Elena De Roo’s Story Starter

Even though it was only just after 5pm, the misty mid-winter drizzle meant it was already getting dark by the time Anneke and her younger brother stood waiting for the pedestrian light at the bottom of Queen Street. They had plenty of time. She and Nikau had managed to catch the earlier express bus into town – it was at least an hour before their robotics workshop was due to begin at the library.

De-de-de-de-de-de-de … The pedestrian signal went. She and Nikau wove their way through the flow of people crossing the road in the opposite direction. Someone, she didn’t see who, pushed a flyer into Anneke’s hand.

“Hey, what’s that?” said Nikau, once they’d reached the other side. He pointed to the stylised image of a comet streaking across the outside of the leaflet.

Anneke shrugged. “I dunno. Probably a new electric scooter or something.”

“Can I see?” Nikau grabbed it. A handful of glitter stars fell out into his hand. “Wow! Listen to this.” He moved into the nearby entrance of a brightly lit food hall to read it.

COMET is here!

For a limited time only COMET, the most famous and fabuloso POP UP SHOP in the universe, is orbiting into your galaxy right now!

If you can imagine it – we have it! Gazillions of prizes and give-aways, the very latest inter-galactic games and absolutely astronomical opening specials on all – yes, all – of our signature range, dark matter make-up!!!

Entry by invitation and in the allotted time-slot only:

17:13 local time

Strictly no late entries. Present this ticket at the door. Valid for 2 customers.

Make sure you don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity! COMET will not be popping up in your galaxy again for another hundred light years.

Snooze and you lose! Be there or be E = mc2! Find us at Queens Rise (2nd floor) right now.

“Did you hear that? Free stuff,” said Nikau. He took a few steps back and looked up at the sign above the food hall entrance. “Woah! Queen’s Rise. The store’s right here. Can we go?” said Nikau. “Please, Anneke.” He stuck out his lower lip and made pleading puppy dog eyes.

Anneke sighed. It did sound fun. Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to have a quick look. She checked her phone – 5:10pm, or 17:10 using a 24-hour clock. They had exactly three minutes before their time-slot.

She and Nikau bounded up the short escalator to the first floor two steps at time. Once at the top they hurried past a circle of busy restaurants to the next up escalator. This one was much longer and steeper. The noise of the first floor faded away. Anneke checked the time on her phone. 5:12pm. Nearly at the top now. She reached back for Nikau’s hand and they stepped off. In front of them was a large solid double door. Scrawled across it in purple neon was the word, COMET.

The digital clock above the door flicked from 17:12 to 17:13. A green slot lit up and blinked.

Welcome universal shoppers – said a smooth female voice – 17:13 time slot customers may now scan tickets for entry.

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

A New FABO Story Starter By Helen Vivienne Fletcher

A new FABO Story competition has started! Author Helen Vivienne Fletcher has written a story starter. Now it’s up to you to finish the story.

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

2. Your story should be no more than 500 words.

3. You have two weeks 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 8pm Friday August 30.

5. The winner of the competition will be announced on this website a few days after the competition closes.

6. Every fortnight a children’s author will post a new story starter for you.

7. The competition is open to kids aged 13 and under.

Helen Vivienne Fletcher’s Story Starter: The Shortcut

“On your marks … Get set … GO!”

Two hundred pairs of feet pounded out of the school gate onto the cross-country track. Jodie had managed to position herself in the middle of the group, but lots of the other kids were overtaking her. Soon she would be at the back, coming last like always.

She started to puff, out of breath already, and she could feel her cheeks turning an embarrassingly bright shade of red.

Oh, how she hated cross country!

It wouldn’t be so bad if there was something interesting to look at, but it was just the same streets and houses she saw every day on the way to and from school.

Jodie wished she could stop for a rest, but teachers lined the course, encouraging everyone to keep running. At least the crowd was thinning out, as more and more students sped off, racing towards the finish line.

Jodie bent down, pretending to tie her shoe, so she could catch her breath. When she stood, she noticed something strange up ahead. One of her classmates, Arlo, had wandered off the racecourse. He glanced around, then ducked between two houses.

Did he know a shortcut?

Jodie checked to make sure none of the teachers were looking, then stepped off the pavement, following Arlo.

There was a narrow alley way running between the houses. How had Jodie never noticed it before? She walked down this street every day. The passageway smelt of mould, and she could hear a repetitive plink, plink, plink noise like water dripping. Jodie couldn’t tell where it was coming from, as the walls of the houses towered above her on either side, blocking out the light.

Jodie stepped forward, peering into the darkness. “Arlo?” she called.

“You shouldn’t have followed me, Jodie.” Arlo’s voice echoed, bouncing off the buildings around them, but she couldn’t see him in the gloom.

Suddenly, the passageway filled with a bright light.

“What is that?” Jodie asked.

Arlo stepped out of the shadows. “Come on. I’ll show you …”

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

A New FABO Story Starter By Suzanne Main!

A new FABO Story competition has started! Author Suzanne Main has written a story starter. Now it’s up to you to finish the story.

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

2. Your story should be no more than 500 words.

3. You have two weeks 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 8pm Friday August 16.

5. The winner of the competition will be announced on this website a few days after the competition closes.

6. Every fortnight a children’s author will post a new story starter for you.

7. The competition is open to kids aged 13 and under.

Suzanne Main’s Story Starter

“Move it, slowpoke,” Danny grumbled.

I scowled at my older brother’s back. What was the big hurry? Mum was working late. As for Dad, we hadn’t seen him in years, not since he moved away with his new family. The house would be as cold and empty and unwelcoming as it was every day after school. I was in no rush to get there.

I kicked at a stone sending it scuttling across the pavement into the bordering bushes. A high squeal erupted, causing Danny to spin around. With a roll of his eyes and a resentful sigh, Danny trudged back. “Now what?”

“That wasn’t me. It came from in there.” I parted the branches of the nearby bushes and peered into the gloom.

I gasped.

Danny must have seen it too, because he dropped to his knees. Pushing his arms through the tangled branches, he scooped out a small bundle. A floppy-eared puppy, its black and white fur only thinly draping the fragile bones. It whimpered, obviously abandoned.

“Can we keep her?”

Danny frowned. “Mum couldn’t know. She’d never allow it.”

I scratched my head and thought. “It could live in Dad’s old shed.” Mum never ventured near Dad’s old domain at the end of our long garden.

Danny nodded and his mouth stretched into a strange shape. A smile. I blinked at the rare sight in amazement. He tucked the shivering puppy inside his jacket, cradling it against his body as we hurried home.

Together we made a warm bed for our puppy in the shed. We pooled our pocket money and Danny bought dog food from the dairy. The pup ate greedily then fell into a deep sleep. We named her Lyra after a character in a book Danny had read. That Lyra had lost her parents too.

A few days later, Mum left early for work as usual. We fed Lyra and played with her before school. She was already filling out and becoming more playful. When last bell rang that day we raced for home. The front gate was open. We pelted around the side of the house, down the garden, to the shed.

It was empty.

That was when I spotted the puppy-sized rust hole in the side of the shed.

“Ah-oh,” said Danny, noticing something else. “Mum’s home early.”

I turned with a sinking heart. The back door was open. Mum was inside, moving around the kitchen, her head visible through the kitchen window.

Where was Lyra?

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

A New FABO Story Starter By Michele Powles!

A new FABO Story competition has started! Author Michele Powles has written a story starter. Now it’s up to you to finish the story.

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

2. Your story should be no more than 500 words.

3. You have two weeks 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 8pm Friday August 2nd.

5. The winner of the competition will be announced on this website a few days after the competition closes.

6. Every fortnight a children’s author will post a new story starter for you.

7. The competition is open to kids aged 13 and under.

Michele Powle’s Story Starter: Wild, Wet, Willa.

“You said you had it in your pocket!” Willa’s face was twisted into angry creases as she hissed at David.

“I didn’t,” David replied. “I said I thought I had it.”

Willa closed her eyes for just long enough to make David hope she’d forgotten she was yelling at him. Then she opened them again and wiped rainwater off her face. “You. Were. In. Charge. Of. The. Key.”

David shrank. It was true. Mum had put him in charge of the house key, and now that they were standing on the doorstep, in the pouring rain, he couldn’t remember what he’d done with it.

The school holidays had sucked, big time. One of David’s fish had floated to the top of its tank and gulped its last gulp. Someone had driven into Mum’s car and busted it up so they’d had to cancel their trip. All David’s friends were away and there was nothing to do. Oh, and it had rained. Every. Day.

Standing outside as his hoodie turned into a soggy, skin-sucking mess without any way of getting out of the cold, was the icing on the sucky-holiday-cake.

Willa folded her arms, her wet hair plastered to the sides of her face. “Let’s go next door for a while, you said. It’ll be fun, you said.”

David looked at the skin on his thumb and pulled at a loose bit near his nail. “It was fun. Sort of. And anyway, why didn’t you take the key? You’re the eldest.”

“Mum said I needed to stop doing things for you. You’re eleven.”

“Eleven and a half,” David muttered and knew, immediately that it was a mistake to mutter anything while Willa was in this sort of mood. The concrete thudded wetly as she stamped her foot. She pointed her finger at him and her face started going red.

“It’s okay. I’ll find the key, promise,” David said, frantically digging in his pockets.

Willa opened her mouth and looked down at her body, her eyes growing wider and her face getting steadily redder.

Uh oh. “Take a breath. You can do it,” David said desperately.

Willa gasped and managed to squeak out, “You said this wasn’t going to happen again.”

“I didn’t think it was. Quick, think about kittens. Puppies. Sunshine.”

Willa’s whole face was now the red of overripe tomatoes. Red, and starting to glow. Her eyes started changing colour and as she glared at David, a loud whooshing noise rushed into his ears and made him feel woozy….

Click here to finish the story…

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

A New FABO Story Starter By Jane Bloomfield!

A new FABO Story competition is here! Author Jane Bloomfield has written a story starter. Now it’s up to you to finish the story.

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

2. Your story should be no more than 500 words.

3. You have two weeks 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 8pm Friday July 5th.

5. The winner of the competition will be announced on this website a few days after the competition closes.

6. Every fortnight a children’s author will post a new story starter for you.

7. The competition is open to kids aged 13 and under.

Jane Bloomfield’s Story Starter: Weird Tuesday

This is how weird Tuesday began …

I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating my usual breakfast of Fruit Loops with milk. My big brother Raymond, as per, had helped himself to two-thirds of the box, leaving me with only colourful crumbs. The crumbs floated on top of my bowl of milk like a pixellated rainbow. I spun my spoon round and round, swirling the colours together. My stomach rumbled. I reached for the perfect banana from the fruit bowl, but not before Raymond jammed his fist down hard onto its blunt end.

‘You love smashed banana don’t you, midget-person?’ he said, and laughed. Milk dribbled down his chin, tracking past his volcanic pimples. I had to look away.

Right then, there was a loud rap on the front door. I instantly stood up from the table to go and see who it was. But Raymond did too and we collided at the kitchen door. He held me against the frame. I raised my hands in surrender and let him go in front of me.

On the front steps was a medium-sized brown paper parcel tied with white string. Raymond picked it up, then he shoved it at me and stomped off.

The package was addressed to me:

“Mark Malcolm-Jones”

The writing was green and wild and swirly like seaweed washed up on the beach. The postmark was a place I’d never heard of before. Catatonia. The package had an interesting smell. I couldn’t make it out. Cinnamon perhaps? Or turmeric? It felt warm in my hands. I tensed a little.

Then the package started to squirm.

Now You Finish The Story…