Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Fabo Story Judge’s Report – Kyle Mewburn

I had loads of fun judging this round. Though I must say it made me feel a bit ancient when I realised FABO has been going such a long time that a lot of you weren’t even born when we started.

I was surprised, inspired and delighted to read your entries. There was some excellent writing – including some colourful descriptions and snappy dialogue. And so many exciting, wacky and downright weird ideas that it was a challenge to pick just one winner.

There were dinosaurs and robots, not to mention Jessie’s Quibbleyxrom’s making another appearance. And poor Ratty met some terrible fates, including being flushed down the toilet by Eleanor.

Two stories stood out. I loved the imagination and drama in Piper’s adventures in the Ratris where poor David and Ella were mutated into rats before being sent back to the Cretaceous era by a devious Ratty. But in the end it was the great, snappy dialogue in Indigo’s story about giants and a plot to kill the Queen that really stood out.

So congratulations Indigo from Ohope Beach School! A prize will be whizzing through the postal vortex soon.

– Kyle

You can read Indigo’s story here:

Indigo’s story

A giant lunged for them. David was caught in his monstrous grasp. ‘’You have entered my domain.’’ the giant snarled. ‘’Now you are mine.’’ He was tall and covered in brown fur, except for his face. This was covered in blotchy red patches that seemed to be alive. They coiled and wriggled ominously across his face. A fetid stench emanated from his mouth, and as David squirmed in his iron grasp, he cried not to gag. It seemed as though the giant favoured a particular deodorant made of onions and boiled eggs. Ella tried desperately to breathe through her mouth. ‘’Humans tonight,’’ the giant said, rubbing his belly.

David and Ella were led in chains to the giants kitchen. Ratty hid up Ellas sleeve. ‘’Move it.’’ the giant bellowed, pulling on the metal links as though he were playing an unusually violent game of tug of war. The chain threatened to choke them both, so they decided it would be suicide not to pick up the pace. ‘’What do we do?’’ David whispered harshly. Ratty poked his head out. ‘’Okay,’’ he said. ‘’I have magic powers that are very rare and I guard this hoop that I made. I did have a plan to kill Queen Elizabeth the 2nd using futuristic technology, so that I could make the world a better place, but you guys foiled it. Which means we’re all gonna die.’’ ‘’Hold on,’’ David said as they jogged along. ‘’You said you didn’t have an evil plan.’’ ‘’It’s not evil,’’ sighed Ratty in exasperation. ‘’Anyway, if we survive this, I promise I won’t do it. And I’m only saying that because we are all gonna die fish face!’’ he screamed the last bit angrily in David’s face. ‘’If anything,’’ Ella panted, ‘’You’re the fish face-you made the hoop. How come you made it so that we turned up here!’’ ‘’It was an accident!’’ Ratty sighed again. ‘’Okay?’’ ‘’Fine.’’ David said. ‘’ Now get us out of here.’’

‘’This is the worst plan ever.’’ Ratty said despondently. ‘’We’re all gonna die.’’ ‘’Quit being so negative would you.’’ Ella hissed out of the corner of her mouth. A giantess with a considerable girth approached them. The green blotches on her face wriggled. Time to chop you up, my kitties.’’ she cooed, as she removed the chains awkwardly, with her bloated fingers. Then with one mammoth hand seized on……empty air.

Ella sprinted for her life as her thighs burned. Her heart was beating faster than it ever had before, her life was on the line. The giant and giantess charged after them, their heavy footsteps shook the ground wildly from side to side. The long grass scratched her legs. Her lungs hurt. She couldn’t breathe. The giants were steadily closing the gap, so close so close. Ella braced herself for the crushing hands that were about to enclose her, and then the hoop was before them, Ella reached out, grasping for the safety and comfort of her own world. and then, finally, she was home.

Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Fabo Story Judges Report – Helen Vivienne Fletcher

Thank you to everyone who sent in a story this round. This is my first year judging Fabo Story, and I had no idea what a tough job it was going to be! There were so many wonderful stories, I had a hard time choosing just one.

I really liked that many of you had thought about what types of technology we might have in the future. Evangeline Speedy’s suspended animation made a great twist to normal detentions, Sophie’s imagery room sounded like it could be a lot of fun, and Noa Smith’s protect droids (which reversed all the damage of the explosion) would come in very handy! Holly Allison polluted future with acid rain and nuclear storms also clearly had a lot of thought put into it.

I also liked that many of you introduced new complications and threats to keep David and Ella on their toes. Isaac’s giant mutated rat was a clever addition to the story, as were Jessie Avison’s Quibbleyxroms. There were also some fantastic ideas about Aramaya – Indigo Ciara Tomlinson’s imagining of this character was one that stood out, with some well-written description.

It was also nice to see some humour coming through in some of the stories. Jasmine B in particular did a great job of creating some funny banter between Ella and David in amongst the serious situations they found themselves in.

There are many more fantastic ideas I could mention, but I know you’re all itching to find out the final result, so on to the winner…. Congratulations Jeromia Lin!

Jeromia’s story had an exciting beginning, middle and end, and I was also particularly impressed with the use of description. I felt like I could see everything that was happening throughout the story.

You can read Jeromia’s story below.

Congratulations to everyone who entered. You should all be really proud of yourselves. There will be a new story started posted soon, so I hope you all keep writing and entering your fabulous stories.

Jeromia’s Story

Lights flickered on and off inside the school building, their sparks bouncing across the gray exterior of the walls. The sounds were getting louder now, banging and popping filling the atmosphere with an unearthly noise. The screams and yelling of the children were drowned out by the explosions, their booms rumbling and vibrating the ground. David’s back was dripping with sweat, as his clammy hands fumbled across the ground, looking for Ratty. A sudden hiss interrupted his search. Ratty was tangled in a strange man’s arms, biting and clawing and scratching at his arms, struggling to break free. “I have him.”

The bubble was sticking to Ella’s hair as she ran, screaming and shouting for David. She had lost him amongst the chaos, with students and teachers running around screaming. Finally, she spotted him and ran over, relief flooding through her body. “David, I found you! Where’s Rat-” Ella broke off with a gasp. The man had a long black cloak that was blowing in the wind, its sides encrusted with precious jewels. His eyes were unreal, like the heart of a storm, cloudy grey and silver with pale flecks of white. What was most surprising was his arms. They were wrapped in silver cloth, except the cloth was glowing with an unearthly glow. Ratty seemed to be fighting against it- he was batting the man’s arms, trying to free himself from his grip. The man spoke, his voice a strange rasp. “I want your rat.”

The strange man in the black cloak spoke like a hissing, rasping snake. His voice seemed to scratch the surface, and Ella flinched at the sound. “Your rat is much more special than you think.” He licked the sides of his lips, and continued. “He has a special gift, one that is only found once in every millennia. He has the power to control time. Using my extractor, I can control this power myself.” His eyes started to glow, and the air began to hiss and crackle with heat. Then Ella did the first, most unexpected thing she could think of. She took off her bubble and threw it at him.

The man was knocked to the ground, and Ratty scrambled out of his grasp. The atmosphere began to warp, and the man disappeared into an ominous fog. Then everything was black.

Ella and David had saved the world. For now.

Posted in The Winner

The Winners Of The FABO Story Competition: 11 – 22 June

Wow what a huge bunch of amazing entries! I’ve been writing and judging fabostory for six years now and I can honestly say that it’s getting harder and harder to pick a winner each year. There was an amazing array of imaginative interpretations for this story. There were pick-pockets with circus intrigue, jewel headed boys and a lot of razor sharp realizations that future and past David and Ella shouldn’t have been meeting in such odd circumstances.

I have to say Happy Birthday to Amelie Espagnet who described her orb headed boys with wonderful clarity and entered on her birthday.

A special mention goes to Marina Showers from Sunnynook Primary for her wonderful creative language and to Ruby from St Cuthberts for the whiplash fast change in your time frame from the future with clockwork boys, to being in a contemporary movie, to being thrown adrift in time by the bracket after All! Phew.

Ashleigh Bernacchi’s scales and dark shrivelled hands had me shuddering, and Hayley King’s world made of mars bars was a close call to taking out the top spot.

A quick note to remember that tense is so important to your writing. Quite a few amazing pieces slipped between tenses and it made an otherwise stand out story a little confusing, especially when were already dealing with time travel.

We have a broad range of ages who enter Fabo but one of our youngest entrants, Anna Walker from Hutt Central School’s feathered crocodile almost got my winner’s vote this week. Amazing work Anna. But the overall winner this week is Sienna Williams from St Kentigern College. You did a great job setting the scene straight away and keeping up the tension right till the very end. Congratulations!

Sienna’s Winning Story

David and Ella stared after them with a look of despair, searching frantically for Ratty in amongst the bustling crowd of bubble-headed children. More had started to congregate in a circle around them. David and Ella shivered with fear as they stared at the expressionless bubbles in front of them. Two of the bubble-heads stepped forward and simultaneously chorused in a robotic voice, “we will take them to the principal’s office.” One of them reached into its pocket and sprayed a foul-smelling gas into their faces.

When they awoke they were slumped in two uncomfortable chairs in the school office. Ratty was there snoring noisily. Ella stole the bracelet and slipped it into her pocket. Two scary bubble-headed office ladies sat at the desk typing away. When all of a sudden one stopped and in a harsh, cold voice rasped, “enter the principal’s office now.” They creeped towards the heavy ebony door barely daring to breathe.

The principal cloaked in shadow seemed to stare disapprovingly in their direction. “Execute them,” he growled. Two guards moved out of the darkness and pulled a leaver. Beneath their feet the floor opened up to reveal a gaping chasm. Then with no warning the sissy hologram blurted out, “15 minutes until detonation.”

The principal motioned for the guards to stop and said, “I will let you live if you give me this sissy hologram 7.3.” They accepted the offer enthusiastically and the principal ordered “take them to the dungeon.” The guard dragged them out the door and across the hallway.

David stared at the bland stone prison bars of his cell. Suddenly out of the corner of his eyes he saw movement. He stood up startled and asked his voice trembling, “whho’s there.” “Only me,” a sweet silky voice whispered. A person wearing an auburn cloak emerged from the darkness. “How did you end up here?” questioned David. “And why aren’t you a bubble-head?”

“My name is Princess Amaya. Previous ruler of planet earth. Many years ago, Earth was a peaceful place where every being lived in harmony. Then one dark day the evil king of the bubbles invaded our planet. He came with his army of bubbles and we were no match for him. He imprisoned all human beings. The bubbles are parasitic creatures and live off the people whose planets the invade. The latched onto all of the heads of my subjects. They controlled them by thought and there is only one thing in this universe that can bring an end to them. It is the ancient’s bracelet.” “I know where that bracelet is!” shouted David excitedly and he pulled the bracelet from his pocket. Ella was now awake and was startled to see the stranger in the cell opposite. David threw the bracelet to princess Amaya. She pushed a button on it that they had not noticed before, then suddenly the security guard snoring in the corner next to them turned human again. David and Ella had saved the human race!

Posted in The Winner

Jane Bloomfield’s FABO Judge’s Report

First of all, I’d like to congratulate everyone who wrote and filed (old journalist term for posting) a story. Real writers, write. Procrastinators, think about writing. You have all made the first step.

A big polar-bear-paw-pat on the back to:

Dihini Thantrige, Jessica Went, Freya Lawson, Joey, Finlay, Dontae, Gabriella Rusk, Indiana Taylor, Jayden Cooper, Nathan Exley, Zoe Guan, Avala Ingram, Avala Ingram, Jasmine Kister, Roarna, Anya, Benjamin McQueen, Maggie Yang, Jemimah, Max Barlow, Indee Gjaja, Bethany Argyle, Hyugo, Ysabelle C, Riki, Siena Mackley, Louenne Allemand, Leo Marcroft, Caleb Bond, Alex Walters, Renee Findlay, Bella Flowers, Elizabeth van Wijk, Tayne Coombes, Maddie Mitchell, Charlotte Ng Waishing, Meetens, Michelle Jeng, Kieran Moreton, Alisa Rao, Alex Bow, Kate Barber, Nathan Elliott, Jordy Thompson, Jeremy Beecroft, Harriet Douglas, Miah Brabin, Molly Roberts, Flo Cook, Hannah Hadden, Claudia Goldsworthy, Sui Brooking, Zoe Grant, Bella Taylor, Lexie Hughes, Roy Greer, Finn Wescombe, Bessie Martin, Fiona Chen, Cole Wescombe, Pipi Hunter, and Tania Lin.

I had fun writing the story starter ‘The Polar Bear in The Bookshop’ and it was fun reading all the creative and widely varied responses to it.

Sometimes the book came alive. Meetens wrote, “a few Snowflakes drifting out of the book his step-son was rapidly dissolving into.”

Michelle Jeng wrote, “ I flipped back to the page with the photograph of an icy landscape surrounded by blue ocean … there was a polar bear and it was waving.” I could really imagine a tiny polar on the page waving. Nice.

There were many great descriptions of the sensation of stepping through the portal to the North Pole. Siena Mackley wrote, “I was pulled into a swirling rainbow vortex.

Remember to keep your eye on details. Some stories said James was in a library. When clearly he was in a bookshop! Nice shout out for libraries being the home of books all the same. And quite often his named changed. I called him James, yet he became Lance, Jake, etc.

Even writers of fiction need to get their facts straight. Polar bears are only found in The North Pole, The Artic. Not Antarctica, in the South Pole. I did learn from Louenne Allemand, “polar bears have 42 teeth and that the male polar bears can weigh up to 680 kilograms.”

Quite a few writers obviously hate fish pie. Max Barlow (9) offered this delightful recipe.
My grandmas fish pie is absolutely repulsive. When her nose gets hot it starts bleeding and oozing with yellow and green slimy snot. And guess what she doesn’t even notice that it goes into the fish pie. She was as blind as a bat she put the rottenest of all the fish in the whole entire supermarket it was blue cod so it looked double yuck.

Feeling queasy? I was when I read that. Caleb (7) used another method to create humour in his story, “… two elephant seals, that were half elephant, half seal!  I could bear-ly see the bear get it?’ Funny.

I love writing humorous stories. It’s fun to throw in a few deadpan jokes, play around with words and have oddball characters. Writing humour can be like getting dressed-up for a school disco. Less is more. My winning story does it very well. In Bessie Martin’s story, James is hoping to escape through the book but it doesn’t work. Enter his dastardly, spoilt step-sister. Things get progressively worse and reach a funny climax with James being physically squooshed inside the book. Love that imagery. The situation is resolved with a gritty, unexpected ending. Well done Bessie. Please use the Contact Us page on this website to send us your address and your favourite lollies.

Highly Commended Stories

Highly commended certificates to: Anya (8) of Grey Lynn school whose polar bear turned into Santa Claus. I love the use of treacle as a verb in this sentence. I may have to pinch it. “The lovely smell of chocolate and fresh candy canes treacle down me. I had never felt so alive before.”

And: Ayeisha Beadsmoore also 8, of Matakana School, who created a very satisfying story and a new invention ‘the book-enteras’. “I turned to my stepdad, thinking he would yell at me “Where have you been?!”. Instead he said, “Welcome to a family of book-enteras! Lets go home for some fish pie.” Brilliant.

Finally I’d like to mention Benjamin McQueen (13) who wrote a fantastic story. I was gripped from the beginning, Benjamin. I loved all your characters and their names and the world you created. However, you were way over the word count. Maybe you could keep developing this story for another project.

Happy writing everyone!

Jane’s Story Starter: The Polar Bear In The Bookshop

It was a dreary grey day in June, the day I saw the polar bear in the bookshop. The bookshop owner, Daisy, was busy at the till and the rest of the shop was empty. Well, apart from me and the polar bear.

Of course, I wondered if I was seeing things. A huge white bear standing in the children’s corner, holding an open book in his spiky black claws!

I forgot about the newspaper I had gone in to buy. I glanced at my step-dad sitting outside in the car, then I tiptoed over to take a closer look.

The bear smelt terrible. Sort of fish-breath mixed with muddy seaweed. I shoved my hand over my mouth to stifle my gag. Up close his fur was stiff and yellowing behind the ears. He looked like he hadn’t gone for a swim around an iceberg for a while. Or had a fish dinner. He had that kind of sad face polar bears do. His rubbery black nose was almost touching the pages now. The bear was either very short sighted or he was trying to get into that book.

The doorbell chimed. I looked around.

My step-dad said, ‘Hurry up, James. Your mum’s got a fish pie in the oven.’

The bear now had the book on the ground opened to a photograph of an icy landscape surrounded by blue ocean. Next thing, he placed one massive foot on each page, growled softly, winked at me and then, pfft, he was gone.

From where I was standing, I had two options.
Option One: Fish pie (gag) at home with my ancient Nana and Pop.
Option Two: A trip to the North Pole.

I zipped up my puffa coat and walked towards the…

Bessie’s Winning Story

…book and scooped it up. I fumbled through the pages till I found the page the bear had looked at. I grinned, placed the book on the floor and stamped on it. I closed my eyes and waited to disappear. My foot hit the book. Shock resonated up my leg and I opened my eyes.

“JAMES GREEN! What on EARTH are you doing!?” My step-father was yelling at me. I looked down. My shoe had made a foot-shaped dent in the book. I had not magically teleported. I had bunged up a thick, 40$ book. I gulped.

“Na na na! You’re in trouble!” whispered Hallie, my step-sister. Hallie has bouncy blond curls, big blue eyes and is the most annoying person ever.

“Shut UP, Hallie!” I hissed.

“James! I heard that! I am very disappointed in you!”

It wasn’t fair. Hallie was only a year younger then me, after all. She’s eleven. She’s just a total jerk.

When we got home I stomped up the stairs lugging the bag with the book in it up the stairs. Did I tell you we had to buy the book? We had to buy the book. Daisy the shop owner had been very upset by the book’s demise. I yanked opened the door to my ‘room’ and stalked through. It’s the box room. There’s just enough space for my bed and my footy kit and a little chest of draws. The rest of the room is taken up by old stuff that Hallie or Mum or Kevin discarded. At my Dad’s place I had a big bedroom with all my stuff dumped on the floor in an orderly, tidy fashion and the smell was like old socks and farts. This room has colour coding and smells of Hallie’s old lip gloss. Yuck.

I opened the book and smoothed a soccer cleat size hole. I froze and peered at the page. Now I’d straightened the page tiny words on the iceberg were visible! They said touch nose to page, wink once and stamp into book. I grinned and did the first two actions. I carefully placed the book on the floor and breathed deeply. Then I bought my foot down. Just before my foot touched the page I saw something I’d missed in the earlier flurry of excitement. A disgruntled polar bear looking very flat. WHUMP!

My foot hit the book.

I was being pulled.


I gasped and sucked in breath. My head was spinning. I tried to speak but my voice was mumbly. I realised I was stuck, my mouth smooshed to the side. I tried to poke out my tongue but it hit an invisible wall, leaving a slimy mark. I was crushed like a dried flower tucked into the pages of a book. “MMPH!” I swiveled my eyes and saw a irritated polar bear to my left, as flattened and stuck as I was.

Suddenly I heard a voice. “James? Daddy and Mummy want to talk to you! You are in so much trouble! … Uh…James? JAMES!? Where are you!?”

“HALLIGH! Helph!”

“James? Where are you?”

“I’m in fa fook!””

“Under the bed?”



Hallie looked at the book “JAMES! Mummy and Daddy will KILL you! Maybe I’ll get this bedroom and you can sleep outside!”

“Helph!” I whimpered.

Hallie grinned and taunted “So much trouble, so much trouble!”

Then she slammed the book with a light-engulfing BANG!

Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Maureen Crisp’s Fabo Judges Report

It is always interesting to see what themes pop up in the stories. There were many horrible principals and scary teachers. Bullying and revenge also featured a lot. I loved the stories that broke outside this and attempted to be really creative. An out of control yoghurt truck was a good idea but I couldn’t think how this could have fitted with the story starter of a repeat incident.

The phrases that stayed with me had these little gems…
weird blobby splashy crunchy noises.
and aggressively put my clothes on
3 super berry deluxe mouse yoghurts
his bushy eyebrows were like two fat caterpillars
buncha munchy crunchy carrots,

Shout out to the fabulous Upper Moutere school who sent in the most entertaining entries of really high caliber. Max you could have made the story longer…. Max you could have made the story longer… Max… you…. Sorry Max, My keyboard got stuck in a time glitch.

Also a shout out to St Cuthbert’s who also had excellent stories… pages and pages and pages of them. There were descriptive words everywhere. Verily my brain was working like a dynamo with all the expansive words that populated the discourse in the correspondence I received.

The FABO writers are all great writers but remember you need the boring stuff to give the reader time to reflect on your brilliant ideas. Presentation always lifts a story. Go back over your work and put in capital letters, full stops and paragraphs. This immediately lifts your story into the second round of judging. As entertaining as the stories are… they cannot be saved if the sentences run on and on without a pause in a great big long description of action and adventures and lavish attention to detail.

You do not need to show off how many long words you know. If you read an action scene you will see that the writer uses short punchy words to make the reader read faster. This is a writing trick called pace. You cannot write an action scene with long words because readers get caught up in wondering how to pronounce the words and what the word means. This pulls the reader out of the story. You want to hold your readers to the last full stop.

Ava Alpe worked hard on all the details to get her story right and it showed. There weren’t any missing words or a plot that went somewhere else. It was a complete story too. There weren’t too many of those.

Congratulations Ava.
If you send us your address using the Contact Us page on the website, we can get your prize out to you.

Maureen’s Story Starter

“Hey, Yoghurt Brains, are you coming to play footy? Hurry up will ya!”

The rest of my team laughed at Frazer’s sad joke. When would he give it a rest?

I sat down on the classroom steps to lace up my shoes. Just once I’d like to be known for something really cool.

Inventing a new dance move… Saving the life of someone….

But no, everybody knows me because of that stupid time I got detention with the principal and ended up in the school garden with a yoghurt pot on my head.

It wasn’t even my fault!

My mum says that if I write the story down I might win a prize. It’s got everything… Action… humour… sad bits… and total fiction. Nobody believes me.

“Come on,” yelled Frazer. “Yoghurt is faster than you!”

I jogged down to the field with my team. We passed the Harris triplets who were all eating yoghurt. That stuff should be banned, I thought. I could see Frazer turning to say something more… and then the whole story happened again right in front of me….

Ava’s Winning Story

Except this time … I was the one watching it unfold!

The Harris triplets were all sitting on the bench eating their yoghurt pots.

I mean why wouldn’t you eat yoghurt before sports practice? My mum always gives it to me. She says “It’s the perfect snack before sport. It’s full of calcium, it’s healthy and it will give you energy”. I wish she wouldn’t give it to me because nobody has ever forgotten what happened to me at detention. Frazer only makes it worse by never letting me forget it.

Back to the Harris Triplets – I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but they have to be the biggest kids in the whole school – and they aren’t even the oldest! When I say big – I mean big – they looked like an ad for weetbix. They had kauri trees for legs and they actually had muscles in their arms, which is weird for twelve year old boys! I swear all three of them were at least twice the height I am …. and I’m not small … I am a hooker!

But today I heard Frazer say something to the Harris triplets. Something he never should have said …. “You’d better watch out boys, if you eat yoghurt, you will end up just like Yoghurt Brains and everybody will laugh at you!”

Suddenly Frazer was in the air and I mean literally! He had a Harris on either side of him holding his legs and he was upside down. “Laugh at us for eating yoghurt?” asked the Harris triplet that wasn’t holding him. “Are you kidding mate? Yoghurt made us this big – maybe you should try it some time?” and then he laughed and so did his brothers. But while he was laughing, I saw him pick up the not yet finished yoghurt containers and get ready to throw them at Frazer. Frazer was so petrified, he started to cry. Worst of all, it was in front of coach, the team, some parents and me! The weirdest part of it all was I actually felt sorry for Frazer – even though he had tormented me the last three months over the yoghurt incident.

“Boys hold him up higher.” The two Harris triplets holding his legs, lifted Frazer impossibly high. The other brothers raised the first pot up in the air and went to throw it at Frazer. I have no idea what came over me – but I jumped in front of Frazer – and SPLAT, yoghurt was on my face. It had happened again. How was I ever going to get over this? Amazingly, the Harris triplets let Frazer go. He was shocked.

The Harris triplets told me they couldn’t believe that I would do that for a mate…take a yoghurt pot to the face! “You are some kind of dude,” they said “how come you are not the Captain of our team with that personality?”

The rest is history. Frazer has never teased me again. I was made Captain of our team and I got a citizenship award at the end of year assembly.

Things weren’t so bad after all.

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.