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.

Posted in Prizes!, The Winner

Melinda’s FABO Report For The Competition Ending June 9

It is wonderful to see so many of you participating in Fabostory, even from as far afield as Canada (Hi Ella!). We received 67 entries for this challenge. Wow! Good effort, people!

It was really interesting to see several of you take the story in an Alice in Wonderland direction with cakes saying ‘eat me’ and drinks saying ‘drink me’ and odd doors and special keys.

There was some terrific writing although sometimes it was let down by the lack of an ending. It is true that good endings are hard to come up with, but there are other ways to finish a story in a satisfying way, even if you can’t figure out a resolution. Please, please make sure you check your story for mistakes, correct punctuation (are there enough full stops and commas), consistent tenses and that it is complete before you submit it. Some wonderful stories had too many mistakes which meant I marked them down.

There were many lovely images and ideas – like this from Maddie Mitchell at Raumati Beach School, “Great,” I thought. “Now I have a chance of getting strange-looking-vine-from-tree-o-thermia.” And Fear hung in the air like a thick mist from Maia at Carmel College. My feet vacuumed me down like I was getting pulled down a plug hole, by Maddie at St Cuthberts and Jake Richards at Upper Moutere wrote – the forest had eaten us.

I liked Vaya and Laela’s (Sunnynook Primary) idea of the children being in a video game. Charlotte Ng Waishing from St Cuthberts created a very interesting world of sweets trapping Maria and her friends. It was cool how intasab Zohra from Sunnynook Primary linked this story with the previous challenge, and how Natalie Lamb from St Cuthberts wrote the story as a police procedural.

Rosie Shiu from St Cuthberts had an interesting approach with the forest having a Dark Side and a Bright Side. The story by Indie Cowan from Cambridge East School was well paced and had some great action. Amber Wastney from Upper Moutere had a fresh, original idea for her story using mirrors.

Alex B from St Cuthberts had some lovely language – My heart was pounding like a piston, and, I blow the evening zephyr a kiss.

I loved these lines from Mackenzie Carkeek from Carmel College – ‘Are​ ​we​ ​seriously​ ​going​ ​to​ ​do​ ​this​ ​you​ ​know​ ​how​ ​it​ ​always​ ​ends​ ​in​ ​action​ ​movies’​ ​said​ ​Josh​ ​in​ ​a worried​ ​tone, and, ​the​ ​air​ ​was​ ​still​ ​a​ ​nose​ ​burning​ ​stench.

Jade from Clevedon School had a really intriguing story with chapters. And I loved the idea that the world was ‘degravitised’ in Leah Joy Werner’s (Upper Moutere School) story.

I liked Julita Seumanutafa’s (Carmel College) use of ‘voice’ – All these questions popped up in my head like, “What was I supposed to tell her parents?, especially her mum she would probably bite my head off.

If I just told her that Maria’s feet just disappeared, she would have asked me if it was her daughter’s feet that had vanished or whether it was my mind that I had lost.
And also Lola Wood at Raroa Normal Intermediate – Crawling through talking bushes isn’t exactly where I excel…

Grace Chisnall and Rosa Kelly both from Upper Moutere School had some great over all writing as did Annabel O’Rourke from Carmel College, Rebecca from Northcote Intermediate, Julia Wilkins from Willow Park School, and Cole Wescombe from Aidanfield Christian School.

My runners-up for this challenge are Ella Ava Bruce Sievert from Verran Primary, Nathan Stacey from Churton Park School and Finn Wescombe from Aidanfield Christian School. Great writing folks!

I have a special prize this week for Marlow Cornish from Taupaki School who is new to the story writing business but who impressed me with his vivid and cool ideas. Well done Marlow! Keep up the good work.

And finally, drum roll please …. The winner of this challenge is Anita Lese from Ellerslie Primary with great poetic language and a smart twist. You can read her story below. Congratulations Anita!!

Marlow, please could you email your postal address to me at so I can send out your prize (or I can forward it to your school if you prefer). Anita, Tania is going to send your prize and has already emailed you.

Anita Lese’s Story

Her shriek morphed into a nail, and drilled itself into our memories. We retreated as a pack, shins scraping against bare bush, hearts pumping under our blazers. With our fear came sweat, penetrating the safety of our group.

I struggled forward searching for any changes to the scene. A puddle of dry mud encasing a pair of sneakers met my eyes.

A rustle of dead leaves reminded me of my companions. As if acting to cue, a hand squeezed my shoulder. I turned my head and saw the worried face of my friends. “Are you going in?” Rosie questioned, voice crackling with fear. The crackles turned into a roaring fire. The squeeze of my shoulder was a way of releasing nerves. I am the brave one. They are a shaky building, and I am their supports.

With new authority I nodded and threw my now undesirable bag over my shoulder, along with my strangling tie which flew through the air, then nestled around my discarded bag. One by one they followed suit. “You don’t have to.” I said. “We know.” Replied Charlotte and they continued to copy me.

Panting heavily in anticipation, we jumped into the great unknown. Our brains were radios all tuned to the same station. The ‘Save Maria’ station.

Everything was dark. Our eyes drifted around, searching left, right and centre. Searching for clues. Maria. Light. There was nothing.

Suddenly a light formed and slowly grew into a sun, we laid back relying on the sun’s familiar rays to calm us. A burning sensation in every spot the sun touched us was our repayment.

Faster than a wink something was sprouting from our shoulder blades and spreading to our fingertips. Wings.

The fear was back, eating our insides. Coursing through our blood. Lungs yearned for air, but mouths wouldn’t open. Once again, the fear led to sweat. It was sliding sloppily down my brow.

Animal like whimpers escaped Charlotte and Rosie’s mouths. Their worries gave me strength, reminded me I was the supports. I must stay calm. I pointed to the sun, then indicated my wings. Luckily they understood my wild gestures and each clasped my hands.

With that simple act our lungs opened, letting in fresh oxygen. Clearing our minds from any worry. We rose up, uncertainly flapping our wings. Could we trust these wings? With everything that had happened would this be a blessing? A curse?

The air was alive with the sound of our flapping wings. We were doing it, soaring high above the ground towards the sun. The wings were trustworthy, no hoax.

A sneaker patterned limb waved in front of my face. Maria. I clutched her leg and pulled her along with us.

“We escaped. We survived.” I tell the teacher. But she doesn’t believe me, she just gives me the knowing look only a teacher can give. Maybe that excuse was a little too crazy. Next time I’ll just do my homework.

Or stick with the classic, “The dog ate it.”

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter The New FABO Competition!

Judging the next competition is author Michele Powles. To enter the competition, just finish her story in 500 words or less and submit it using the online form. Good luck!


Read Michele’s story starter and then finish the story any way you like. Your entry must be submitted by 8pm Friday 23rd June. No late entries will be accepted.

Michele’s Story Starter

Ivan and I had planned to make a net after school. We hadn’t been able to agree what it would be for, but we had agreed that making a net was the best use of the ten balls of orange and red yarn that we’d found in the cupboard under the stairs.

“You asked your mum if we could use it?” Ivan asked me for the tenth time. His mum keeps everything, like Every. Thing. They even have a pile of stuff in the corner of their lounge that they all call the Invention Potential Pile. It’s cool, even if it’s a bit weird. I mean, I don’t know what you would be able to turn broken dolls and an old fan into, but that’s what’s at the top of the pile at the moment.

“She said it was fine,” I said to Ivan. Actually, she said, “knock yourself out.” But I didn’t say that to Ivan. He takes things literally and I didn’t want to answer endless questions about how we were supposed to knock ourselves out and still make a net.

“Cool,” said Ivan. “So, a fishing net, or a ninja net?”

“Definitely a ninja net. There aren’t any fish in the river at the moment.”

“There aren’t any ninjas either,” said Ivan. It was true. We had been hunting ninjas for the last term and hadn’t found any. But I was sure there were some in our neighbourhood. Who else would be leaving muddy footprints on Mrs. Gilinsky’s door step every Thursday night? Or taking all the black socks from Mum’s washing line each week?

“We’re making a ninja net,” I said with a sharp nod of my head. “Fishing nets are too easy.”

Finish the story here!

Posted in The Winners!

Melinda’s Judge’s Report For The Fabostory Challenge Ending May 26

Wow, thank you for all your wonderful stories – 59 in total. There were all sorts of weird and wacky solutions to dealing with the terrifying Miss Fox and rescuing the other students from their shrunken state.

Fynn Whittle from Sunnynook Primary sorted out Miss Fox with the help of Spongebob and krabby patties, and Katie Heays-Wilson also from Sunnynook had a taniwha save the day.

Gabriella Rusk from Churton Park School took Miss Fox’s name literally and expanded on the idea with Mr Wolf turning up as the replacement teacher. Zach from Sunnynook, using a mirror, and Emma Anderson from Carmel College using a whiteboard, both cleverly deflected Miss Fox’s spells and turned them back on her. Oliver Stacey from Churton Park distracted Miss Fox with donuts. Catherine Sole from Carmel College, had the fresh idea of yoghurt being the cause of Miss Fox’s strange powers.

Some of you opted for the classic ‘it was all a dream’ ending, but in most cases this doesn’t really provide a very satisfying ending to a story. Some of you had amazing ideas but let yourselves down by not reviewing and editing your work. Editing will always be an essential part of the writing process. With two weeks to write your story there should be enough time to go over your work and make any corrections needed before submitting.

Well done to Finn Wescombe from Aidanfield Christian School, who had some great writing and an interesting twist.

Nathan Stacey from Churton Park School also had some great writing with lots of action.

A blast from Miss Fox narrowly missed Cassie’s head and now her hat was a plaything for Miss Fox’s toys. This time Cassie did scream. Morgan clamped her hand over her friends mouth even though she wanted to scream too. Morgan flipped their desk on its side and ducked under it, dragging Cassie with her. “What do we do!?” whispered Cassie, terror in her voice.

Minty from Waiheke High had some great descriptions.

Cassie stood up with a yell, her chair scraping across the floor of the classroom.
She didn’t care much for Dan but Mrs Fox was creepy!!

Dan was now a miniature version of himself, squirming in Mrs Fox’s iron grip.
Morgan’s eyes were staring at the hobbit version of her classmate, hand over her mouth in a silent scream.

And I liked that Cole Wescombe from Aidanfield Christian School thought about things from the perspective of a miniaturised person.

Suddenly it dawned on her. She was hit by one of those ‘bullets’. She looked around to confirm it. There’s the field, look at the size of the grass! She turned to look at the classrooms. She could barely see the top of them they were so tall!

Then the bell went. Morgans first thought was, “How is the bell so loud now?” Her second thought was “Oh no, recess!”

And finally, drum roll please …. I have two winners this time with two fantastic stories filled with wonderful language and terrific ideas. Congratulations to Ysabelle C from Ellerslie Primary whose story was well-crafted and very funny, and Briana Wells from Carmel College with great language and a smart twist. You can read their stories below. Congratulations Ysabelle and Briana!! Please email your postal address to me at so I can send out your prizes (or I can forward them to your schools if you prefer).

Ysabelle C’s Story

Wiremu quit laughing and asked, “Is there anything wrong, Miss?”

He got his own beam, and he was suddenly in Miss Fox’s hands. The girls tried to sneak under the table. But Miss Fox saw them and shouted, “Get back into your chairs!” Miss Fox rarely shouted though.

She sat down, smiling at the nearly empty classroom. “Class,” she started. There was a tiny squeal from her palms. She continued. “We are,” she stopped again. “Why is my class empty?” she said sarcastically. “Oh, because I turned them into tiny humans!”

Morgan screwed a finger into the side of her head when the teacher wasn’t looking. “She’s gone loopy.”

Perhaps Miss Fox heard this because her eyes started to glow a dangerous red. “Are you two wondering why I haven’t gotten you yet? Because I save the best, for last!”

That was old Miss Fox’s saying. This new version used it very scarily.

She stood up, bent her head, and shot beams at them.

Morgan shrieked. Her call echoed down the hallway and it brought Vice Principal Bentley.

“Miss Fox, why isn’t your class here?” he asked sternly, but kindly. He had a big crush on her.

She batted her eyelids and said we were doing independent fitness outside. Vice Principal Bentley smiled sweetly and strode off.

“Now my evil plan will work! First, I need to grab some COFFEE!!” said Miss Fox.

Coffee possesses adults. A lot.

Cassie found the others in a small pile. “Hello! Are you guys ok?”

“Yes,” they chorused.

“What happened to Miss Fox?” Morgan asked.

“I don’t know,” said Florence. “We were all crowded around this box that Seth brought, and it was from his dad.” Seth stood in the middle of the crowd on the desk and he shrugged.

“Dad said to never open it. I kinda wasn’t listening.”

Cassie and Morgan looked at each other. “Typical Seth. Never listening.”

“So…” Morgan started.

“What was in the box?” asked Cassie.

“It was something small,” said Florence

“That turned the teacher crazy?” asked Cassie.

“I guess so.”

Morgan told him that they needed a good plan. There was an inscription on the side of the now huge box saying, “Whoever opens thee, shall be cursed, take heed.”

“How exactly are we able to do this when we are way-way smaller than our teacher?” asked Dan.
Florence read it and smiled. She muttered her plan and everyone thought it was a good idea.

When Miss Fox came back, she sat down, plotting.

Florence counted them down and they all shouted, “Deeh ekat, desruc eb llahs, eeht snepo reveohw!” (That was the inscription backward.)

It worked! Miss Fox rubbed her eyes and looked at the class, who was back to their normal size and piled on her desk.

“What are you silly billies doing on my table? I have good mind to punish you by making you do PE!!”

Everyone laughed, even the Vice Principal who was outside, wondering why they weren’t actually doing fitness.

Briana Wells Story

Wiremu’s smile turned into a grimace.

“Yes, this is the real me! Iniquitous, sinister, venomous, malicious and vile! Feel the burn kids, feel the burn!”

“Anyone think that are teacher could be slightly delirious?” Cassie asked.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN SLIGHTLY DELIRIOUS? OUR TEACHER IS OBVIOUSLY DOWN RIGHT MAD! THAT’S MY FRIEND SHE’S TURNED INTO A RATTY LITTLE FIGURE!” Mordan shouted. Possibly a bit too loudly. Mrs Fox looked outraged. ‘Zap!’ Morgan was now a wriggling ‘ratty little figure’ like Dan.

“Shoot, now it’s only me and you,” Wiremu whispered to Cassie.

“What are we going to do?” Cassie looked ashen.

“Find our way out of course,” Wiremu’s eyes scanned the room and he caught sight of something…. A possibility if they are careful.

“Cassie, do you think we could climb through that-” Mrs Fox cut him off.

“You not planning an escape are you? As your teacher, I wouldn’t advise it. As an evil assassin, it would make an interesting scene. Much more fun to catch you.”

“I agree with Morgan. Mrs Fox is unhinged. We should get help.” Cassie seemed concerned about the lady who had turned all our classmates into lego pieces.

“Oh yes, I’m sure that would work, you know, Mrs Fox would definitely appreciate sitting down with a councilor and discussing WHY SHE TURNED OUR CLASSMATES INTO MINIONS!” Wiremu’s patience was wearing. They had to get out and they had to get out fast! Luckily Mrs Fox didn’t appear to hear his outburst. She had returned to her desk and was now placing her students in a domino line.

“Oh, what a shame, just not enough. Fortunately I have you two. I might keep you average sized for a little while longer. Draw out the tension, you know?” Mrs Fox said. Time was running out.

“The air vent!” Wiremu whispered desperately to Cassie. Cassie nodded. “Three, two, one, go!” Wiremu ran like nothing could stop him. Mrs Fox looked up with red hot lasers shooting out of her eyes. Wiremu ducked and felt her glare singe his hair.

“You won’t get away!” Mrs Fox sounded like a villain in a cheesy action movie. Wiremu grabbed the metal grate and pulled. Mrs Fox was shooting them with her laser eyes, but fortunately she didn’t have very aim. He doubted that she was a champion thrower in her school days.

“Cassie, help me! The grate’s not coming off!” He yelled. Cassie grabbed the other side and they pulled. ‘Pop!’ The grate came off. Cassie scrambled through, Wiremu following her pursuit.

“I’ll catch you!” Wiremu heard a yell and looked behind him. He saw that Mrs Fox was running towards them. Luckily for them Mrs Fox ran a bit like a hippo, slow and clumsy.

“Not much of an athlete is she?” Cassie chuckled. They moved quickly, and were soon to a dead end, another grate.

“Should I pull this open?” Cassie asked.

“Yeah,” Wiremu replied. He heard another pop as it opened.

Then he heard cheering. “Congratulations, kids, this is going to make excellent tv! It was definitely worth the money we spent on those 3d projections and that actor!” A guy with a t shirt that had ‘director’ on it said.

“So this whole thing was fake?” Wiremu could hardly believe it.

“Yup!” The director said.

“Well that explains a lot!” Cassie exclaimed with a grin on her face.

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

A New FABO Story Competition To Enter!

Authors Tania Hutley and Melinda Szymanik will be sharing the judging duties for the next competition. To kick things off, Tania has posted a new FABO Story starter. To enter the competition, just finish her story in 500 words or less and submit it using the online form. Good luck!


Read Tania’s story starter and then finish the story any way you like. Your entry must be submitted by 8pm Friday 9th June. No late entries will be accepted.

Tania’s Story Starter

After school, a group of us usually walk home together. Usually we go straight home, but that day for some reason, we decided to head down to the river.

It’s quite a walk to get there, so we don’t often go. And it’s a bit spooky. The trees are so tall, it’s always dark and muddy. There’s no sunlight, but somehow the plants still grow so thick they can trip you up. I’ve seen spiders there as big as dinner plates.

That day, a couple of us were throwing stones into the river when I heard Maria yell from a little way off.

“Hey, come here, you guys. I found something.”

We had to push through a patch of thick bush to follow her voice, and almost went right past her.

Then we saw her feet sticking out of the ground.

“Maria,” I gasped. “Are you okay?”

Her voice was muffled. “You’re not going to believe this.” Then she gave a little shriek and her feet disappeared…

Finish the story on the FABO Website now!

Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Elena’s Judge’s Report!

Thank you to everyone who entered FABO and for all the wonderfully creative and imaginative stories you gave me to read. It was great to see entries from Australia and Norway too.

Lots of you had researched the story of the Pied Piper and although many carried on with the fairy tale theme, some of you chose to give your story a mystery or fantasy twist, or some comic or horror elements instead.

There were many wonderful takes on what might have happened to the mural, most involving various characters coming to life, from the Pied Piper to imploding eggpizachickensausagethings (Joseph Surrey), deadly doodles (Iibby Hayvice), Banana Man (Michael) and dinosaurs (Kezia Vaz)

Some of your Pied Pipers were out and out villains, whereas others were more three dimensional. Kiara’s Piper, who is looking a bit miserable, finally confesses, “it’s just I don’t want to be stuck in a painting and just standing there doing a pose.” Whereas Kate’s Piper hates fame and wants to be painted out. As it turns out, his replacement, Cinderella, is a much better dancer anyway.

Thank you Kate for making me laugh out loud: “Where are we, what happened?” Ana said drowsily as she rubbed her eyes and collapsed onto the ground. Luckily this time she had something to break her fall.
“Arg!!!” Niko coughed out loud. “Get off of me Ana!” he said as he attempted to sit himself up.

And I was impressed by your ingenious MacGyver type solutions Aanya: “Let’s use the sap from the tree (as a substitute for glue) to stick a bunch of grass onto a large piece of wood and connect that onto this bendy piece of bark to make some ear muffs …

Some of my favourite beginnings were:

The wall was tearing away with a rending sound and had somehow acquired a felt hat, mouth, flute and hands, along with a couple (okay loads) of legs. (Sarah Aitken)

The mural had literally come to life!
“Niko, what are we going to do? They’re walking away and when I say they, I mean a fairy, seven dwarves, a wolf, Little Red Riding Hood and a whole lot more!” said Ana. (Peter Browne)

“There,” Ana said, as she stepped back and admired the gorgeous blue rivers and the bright red sunset and the elegant trees. (Samantha T.)

Niko’s eyes were glued to the mural they had painted on the prefab classroom. The Piped Piper’s pipe had thick black music notes of all different sizes coming out of it, flowing towards Ana and Niko. (Maddie Mitchell)

There was also some excellent dialogue, which perfectly captured the character’s different voices:

The Pied Piper looked up to see Ana eyeballing him. “Hello, dear lady. Were you admiring my wonderful flute playing?”
“Ummmmm yeah, I guess,” Ana said.
“Well then, my fine maiden, I must ask you a favour. I seem to have fallen out of my mural. Would you mind singing the Pied Piper song to get me back in?” (Gina Field)

The mural had vanished!!!!!!
“But how could this happen,” cried Ana.
“You said it sister,” said Niko … (Ana was not his sister but he often said this). (Isabella Bamford)

And wonderfully original expressions and evocative descriptions:

Ana glared at him, barely able to control her anger, as she simmered like a sausage and fumed like a 1920’s car, all while tears of relief streamed down her face like they were skydiving. (Finn Wescombe)

“Niko and Ana stood there with their mouths hanging open like well-oiled doors …” (Sarah Aitken)

… Two tall legs appeared in front of them. They both glanced up to see their magnificent painting of the Pied Piper. He played a quick, short tune and said, “Masters, you have freed me from inanimation …” (Cameron Cross)

The judge strode in. She resembled a ghost – she had a white, long, pale face with glasses so thick that no happiness could be seen. (Charlotte)

When Ana woke up she was in a horrible place – children stumbled everywhere crying for their mothers and fathers, others sat down with a look of lost hope on their face. (Emily Bird)

All around the children were dancing. The Pied Piper was playing and of course everyone was happy, just like they thought it would be, but in the corner … stood a little girl who looked lonely and shy. (Habiba Haitham Khalil)

It was the same lullaby being played over and over again in their ears. The same dance being danced over and over in the same steps. (Kate Carter)

All around the Pied Piper was lush green grass and there were big, tall, strong mountains in the distance. (Jayne Ewart)


Happy endings, with Ana and Niko winning first prize for their mural, were popular. But below are some not so happy endings which I thought stood out:

Jett McKelvie had Niko and Ana receiving second place, which was a nice touch.

I liked Annie Cheng’s understated ending. “What type of dinosaur did you want to paint again?” Ana said, with a grin.

And Gabriella Rusk’s: Ana blew her last note and as she did so a single ray of sunlight shone on her …
“It’s a good thing I didn’t paint that dino,” Niko said.
“Because then we would have had to get rid of a T Rex!” Ana added.
The dark clouds moved away as the sun illuminated the sky.

Bridget managed to combine a nice mix of creepiness and comedy in her conclusion. (The inspector’s) skinny finger rubbed up against Ana (who is frozen in the mural) as if she could not believe that you could paint such intricate little humans – they looked almost like real people. If Niko and Ana knew they would be stuck in a painting forever, I think they might have brought earplugs.

Kezia pulled off the classic horror story ending: Anna laughed. “Must’ve had a bad dream in your sleep silly.”
Niko’s ears pricked up. Ana and Niko stared at each other. A soft flute tune was playing getting louder and louder …

As did Ember: “My job is done,” the porcelain doll screeched … “For now.”

And Chevy: And how to get rid of the Pied Piper who controlled us for the rest of his life, dancing in bed, in the shower, at the shops. Where ever we went, he was one step behind us …

Natalie Lamb even managed to include some Fabo references: “Do not say the Pied Piper!”
Only, of course, everyone did … And that was how Fabo Primary School ended.

As always, it was really hard to decide on a winner from my shortlist:

Sasha – I loved the mystery you set up and the details you included, which gave your story a sense of place.

Alexandra – I was very impressed with your codes and rhyming riddles.

Ysabelle – What a great idea to have your Pied Piper play off key and need to have flute lessons.

Finn – You’ve written some excellent dialogue, created really believable characters and it felt like you had a lot of fun writing this. Your story came very close to winning.

But the winner is Nathan Stacey from Churton Park School

Nathan, your story drew me in, building up suspense with a nice mix of dialogue and description and action, and had an equally strong beginning, middle and ending.

Please let me know where you would like your prize sent to.

Elena’s Story Starter

Ana dabbed the very last splodge of bright red paint on the outside of their prefab classroom.

“High five,” she said to Niko. “Bet we win best mural prize for this.”

The two of them had been working on the mural every day after school for what seemed like years – at least a week anyway – and now they were finally finished.

“You should have let me put that dinosaur in,” grumbled Niko, “then we’d beat the other classes for sure.”

Ana rolled her eyes. “The theme of the competition was fairy tales, remember. Since when did you ever see a dinosaur in a fairy tale.”

Both of them stood back and admired their line of brightly painted children, dancing along behind the Pied Piper. Even though it had been a bit of a squash, all the students of Room 11 were represented. They’d even put everyone’s names underneath, so they’d be immortalised forever … or until the school was repainted.

“Come on, Niko” said Ana, “let’s go home.”

But no sooner had they turned away, than Ana heard flute – or was it a recorder – music coming from behind them. Strange, there weren’t usually any after school music lessons on a Friday.

“That’ll be the Pied Piper trying to lure us away,” Niko joked.

Ana laughed. “Yeah, sure.”

Only all at once, she found she didn’t want to leave … the music was so beautiful … so sad. She simply had to turn back …

What she saw made Ana freeze in her tracks.

“Niko, look at the mural!”


Winner: Nathan (Age 10)

But there was no mural to stare at.

Twelve people stood in the courtyard, one held a flute and was blowing into it, the others were dancing along. The children stood mouth agape. The one with the flute noticed the children and beckoned for them to come join him. Niko and Ana went to obey but clumsily tripped over each other’s feet and came crashing to the floor. Ana’s vision went fuzzy and she stopped hearing the music. When she struggled to her feet she only heard the faintest wisp of music and sight of the last of the children dancing around a corner.

“Uh Niko” said Ana “They’re getting away!”
“What does it matter?” said Niko “What’s he gonna do?” “Make rats bite the principal’s toes? That’s all he does, control rats! Right, Ana?” said Niko. “Am I Right?”
But Ana was dead still, her eyes filled with terror. “No” said Ana after a while. “No, that is not all that he does.”

Ana ran into Room 11 and threw her hand into her bag, rummaged around and pulled out a book.
“What are we doing?” asked Niko sceptically
“NO TIME FOR CHIT CHAT!” yelled Ana, tearing through the pages until she found the right one. “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” Ana read aloud. “Once Upon a time, the town of Hamelin was ravaged by a plague of rats. They ate food, sickened people and stole. On one particularly bad day a man showed up with a flute. He played a sweet tune and led the rats out of town.”
“Yeah,” said Niko “And they all lived happily ever after. The End.”
“Shut up!” yelled Ana. “And keep listening …

“But when he came back, the mayor refused to pay the man, so the man vowed to return and get his revenge. And so one day the man returned and played a tune. He led all the children of Hamelin out of the town and into a cave and they never returned. Only two children were unaffected” Ana finished her story. “Now do you see the gravity of this situation?”
“Oh God,” said Niko, “I do now.”

Niko ran outside and round a corner, Ana trailing him.
“Where are we going!” she yelled.
They rounded a corner and came face to face with a construction site, where the builders had gone home for the night. Niko leapt over the safety barrier and started to climb the ladder.
He was stopped by a hand on his ankle.
“This is crazy!” said Ana, glancing around nervously.
“Do you want to save our friends?”
Ana gulped and finally gave a small nod.
“Then get up here”
Ana clambered reluctantly up the ladder and followed Niko onto the top of the hall.
“Now what?” asked Ana, surveying the surroundings.
“We look for the piper” said Niko
“Over there,” said Ana, pointing to just in front of the hall, where the piper was hurrying the children inside just like the cave from the book.

Suddenly, without warning, Niko went bonkers.
He acted like a monkey, then an owl and then a frog.
Ana wasn’t pleased but she trusted Niko and followed his lead pretending to be an ostrich.

What first started as a smile on the piper’s face turned to a giggle and then a fully blown laugh. He laughed so much that he dropped his ornate flute on the ground. The flute shattered upon impact. Immediately the glassy eyes of the kids changed back to their normal colour. The piper didn’t notice what happened next as he was still laughing like mad. The piper started to dissolve. At first slowly but getting faster and faster until nothing was left but some puzzled children who didn’t know what had happened.

Ana and Niko hugged each other. They may have saved their school, but they still had a mural to repaint.

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

A New Story Starter By Melinda Szymanik

Here’s a brand new story starter for May, and judging the competition will be children’s author Melinda Szymanik.


Read Melinda’s story starter and then finish the story any way you like. Your entry must be submitted by 8pm Friday 26th May.

Melinda’s Story Starter

Cassie hung her bag up alongside all the other bags outside her classroom. She unzipped it and pulled out her pencil case and homework, zipped it back up and walked into the classroom. Her teacher, Miss Fox, sat at the front of the room, hunched over something on her desk.

“Hey,” Morgan said.

“Hi,” Cassie replied, smiling as she slid into the seat next to her best friend, near the back of the room. “Are we early?” She glanced around at the other seats, empty except for Dan and Wiremu sitting near the windows.

Morgan checked her watch and shook her head.

Cassie thought about all the bags hung up in the corridor. Where was everybody?

Miss Fox looked up.

“She looks different,” Cassie said.

“Are her eyes glowing?” Morgan asked.

“And her skin? “Cassie replied nodding slowly. “That’s a weird colour.”

“I know, right?”

The two girls leaned closer together.

“What’s that on the desk? Is that a pile of little lego people?” Cassie whispered.

“They’re moving,” Morgan whispered back.

“Are … are those … are they … is that the rest of our class?” Cassie breathed. “Morgan. We have to do something.”

Suddenly Dan burst out laughing. Wiremu grinned at his mate.

Miss Fox rose slowly to her feet. She stuck out her arm, her open hand facing Dan. She bent her head towards him. A beam of light shot from each of their teacher’s eyes, blasting Dan. In an instant he was a tiny squirming figure clutched between her fingers.

Now go here to finish the story.