Category Archives: 2011 Writing Workshop

Mother’s Day Essay Contest – Get Famous Cotton Candy and Win $20 ca$h!

Dear talented writers, a perfect opportunity has just come up for you to win $20 cash! Here is what you do:

1. Write an essay and post it to this blog about the upcoming Mother’s Day or any Mother’s Day holiday.  Note: you don’t have to write about your own mother; and grandmothers are ok too. A poem is also acceptable.

2. Limit your essay to 500 words.  When you post your essay, list the word count.  Entries with more than 500 words are disqualified. Words in the title count, too.

3. You may submit more than one entry.

4. Submit no later than midnight of 5/5.

5. Participate  in voting of all entries.  Voting ends midnight of 5/7.

 6. The entry with the highest votes win. Each child can only win once even though he/she might have submitted two or more.  If there is a tie in the votes, the award money will be shared equally among the winners.

7. Winner will be announced on 5/8, the 2011 Mother’s Day.

8. All participants will get a giant bag of Famous Cotton Candy by the Flossie’s. See picture below.

In order for me to prepare the number of bags of the Famous Cotton Candy, please let me know whether you will participate by voting below:

WRITING CLASS THIS SATURDAY

Hi! I have been enjoying reading the stories you have sent! You are awesome writers!!!
This Saturday we will have our “Story Recital”. The first half of class will be review and practice. The second half will be the recital. Parents are encouraged to attend. Each student will have a 3 minute time limit to read. I know that’s not enough time for those of you who are writing longer stories to present the whole piece, but we only have an hour.
I can’t wait to hear your presentations! Looking forward!!!
Susan

Word After Word After Word – Chapter 7

   My house was quiet. No music, no conversation, no laughing. I closed the door and walked down the hallway into the living room. My mother was staring at herself in the mirror. She did that a lot these days, since she had lost her hair from chemo. She saw me looking at her looking at herself.

   “What do I look like, Lucy?” she asked me. “I look like something.”

   “An ostrich,” I said.

   Mama smiled.

   “I do,” she said.

   She took a breath.

   “What happened at school today? How is the beautiful and creative Ms. Mirabel?” she asked.

   “She is beautiful and creative,” I said.

   “And how is that hair?”

   “Robust,” I said.

   I smiled at her because she knew that was one of my vocabulary words.

   Mama’s hair was growing back, in small fuzz all over her head. She did look a bit like an ostrich. But she said she was getting better. That’s what she said. That’s what mattered.

   “Russell wrote a poem about his dog dying,” I said. “He brought his baby brother, Oliver, under the lilac bush.”

   “Russell?” asked Mama. “Russell who drives Miss Cash to distraction?”

   “He drives her to sighs,” I corrected her.

   “Well, Ms. Mirabel seems to be working miracles,” said Mama. “What about you? Have you written anything for Ms. Mirabel?”

   I shook my head, thinking about my poem about sadness. That’s all I wrote about these days. Sadness.

   “One poem. I’m waiting for something to whisper to me.”

   “Whisper? I am sure there are whispers all around you, Lucy.”

   Mama turned back to look in the mirror again.

   “Maybe you aren’t listening. Children hear everything. Children know everything.”

   Mama and I looked at each other in the mirror for a moment. Then the front door slammed shut.

   “That’s your dad,” said Mama. “How can we convince him to take us out for dinner?”

   “Tell him we’re having liver.”

   Mama laughed. She didn’t laugh much these days, and I liked the sound of it.

   “Jack,” she called as we hurried to the kitchen. “Luck thinks I look like an ostrich!”

   “I was thinking that very same thing,” Papa called back. “What a smart girl she is!” 

   “And, Jack,” added Mama. “We’re having liver!”

   “NO!” came a cry from the kitchen.  

The moon came through my window. Soon it would begin to move away. I could hear my mother and father talking in the living room as if …. As if nothing was wrong. I reached for my pad and pen. I would write something that would change life in my house. I would not write about sadness. Ms. Mirabel had said that she wrote to make life come out the way she wanted. Maybe I could do that, too.

                                                MAMA

                        Sadness. Your laughter can’t brush away

                 the sadness here. I hear you trying to laugh. I see you trying to smile   and trying to talk away the sickness.

                                    You can’t, you know.

                                    You can’t.

                                                             ———– Lucy

             No use. It was still sadness. Sadness was all I had.

Word After Word After Word – Chapter 6

Chapter 6

   Russell ducked under Hen’s big lilac bush. We were five today. It was late afternoon, and shadows fell across the yard.

   Russell wore a pack.

   “What is that?” asked May loudly.

   Inside the pack was a baby.

   “My brother, Oliver,” said Russell.

“You’ve seen him before.”

   “I don’t like babies,” said May.

   Russell smiled. He took Oliver out of his pack and sat him on his lap. “You’ll like Ollie,” he said. “There is not one bad thing about him.”

   And as if Oliver had heard Russell, he smiled and pumped his arms up and down.

   “I babysit for Ollie every day after school.”

   Hen reached out and took Oliver’s hand.

   “That’s why you don’t lay soccer?”

   Russell nodded.

   Oliver grinned and then reached out o May. May drew back.

   “He likes you,” said Russell. “Here.” He handed Oliver over to May, who held him away from her, as if he were a package of trash. But Oliver didn’t care. He leaned closer and closer to May until his head lay on her shoulder. Slowly, May put her arms around him and closed her eyes.

   “I think he’s wet,” she whispered finally.

   “Of course he’s wet,” said Russell cheerfully. “He’s always wet. My babysitting time is over pretty soon. I’ll take him home and change him.”

   May still held on to Oliver. She didn’t open her eyes. And when she did, she whispered to Russell again.

   “That was a beautiful poem about your dog, Russell.”

   Russell nodded and picked up Oliver. He ducked out from under the bush and put Oliver back in his pack.

   “He was a good dog,” he said softly.

   “What was his name?” asked May.

   “Everett,” said Russell before he disappeared in the shadows.

            There is a soft sweet smell here.

            The smell of somewhere far away


            I may have been one time but can’t remember.

                        It is a soft sweet smell.

                        Why is it I know it? Why is it so familiar?

                        I can almost reach out my hand to catch it.

                        But not quite.

                                                            ——- May

Word After Word After Word – Chapter 4

   We sat in Evie’s bedroom, Evie hiding behind the curtain, looking across the yard to the house next door. A woman was moving things inside.

   “A new neighbor. She looks healthy,” said Evie. “She has short, curly, yellow hair. Actually, she’s beautiful,”

   “Not that it matters,” reminded Henry.

   “Of course,” said Evie. “My father doesn’t need a beautiful woman. Just a woman.”

   May and I laughed.

   Evie’s cat, Looley, came in, saw us, and hissed before he began to frantically lick himself.

   Evie’s brother, Thomas, came, too, carrying empty pots from the kitchen. He sat them down and began stirring each with a wooden spoon. The light came in the window and touched his blond hair. He was short and stocky like a rain boot.

   “Hello, Thomas,” said Henry. “What’s up?”

   “Soup,” said Thomas seriously.

   “Two pots of soup?” asked Henry.

   Thomas nodded as he stirred.

   “One is good. One is bad,” said Thomas.

   “Which is which?” I asked.

   Thomas looked up and smiled.

   “Guess.”

   We laughed. Evie smiled as her father came into the room to scoop up Thomas. He leaned down to kiss Evie on the top of her head.

“We’re going for a bike ride,” he said.

   “Look, Papa,” said Evie. “An interesting woman is moving in next door.”

   Her father leaned next to her to peer out the window.

   “Ah, yes,” he said.

   After they left, Evie smiled at us.

   “He said ‘ah’ – did you hear?”

   “Your father always says ‘ah,’ Evie,” I said.

   Outside, her father rode down the driveway, past our window, Thomas sitting on a seat behind him wearing a helmet.

“We’re going for a bike ride,” he said.

   “Look, Papa,” said Evie. “An interesting woman is moving in next door.”

   Her father leaned next to her to peer out the window.

   “Ah, yes,” he said.

   After they left, Evie smiled at us.

   “He said ‘ah’ – did you hear?”

   “Your father always says ‘ah,’ Evie,” I said.

   Outside, her father rode down the driveway, past our window, Thomas sitting on a seat behind him wearing a helmet.

   “I don’t have one thing in the world to write about,” said May. “My life is the same, day in, day out.”

   “You’re lucky,” said Evie.

   “You could make up something drastic,” said Hen.

   “Drastic?” said May. “Like what?”

   Hen shrugged.

  “Disaster. Violence. Alienation,” said Henry promptly. “I read those words on the back of an adult novel the other day.”

   “I don’t have any of that,” said May.         

   “How about this,” said Henry, frowning. “How about I push you. A little violence.”

   May laughed.

   “Do you see any kid stuff? Bicycles, toys?” I asked Evie, knowing that is what she was looking for.

   “Nothing!”

   Evie came out from behind the curtain and looked at us.

   “She’s single,” she announced matter-of-factly. “I know it!”

   “Evie,” said May, “what if your father doesn’t want a new woman?”

   May’s voice was so quiet that we all looked up. There was silence. Evie’s face was still and thoughtful. Finally, she picked up her notebook. She opened it.

   “I have a character anyway. Like Ms. Mirabel says.”

   She wrote something down.

   I looked out the window and watched the woman next door carry a box into the house. A cloud passed over the sun, darkening the grass and trees for a moment.

   “Her name is Sassy DeMello,” said Evie.

   “Sassy DeMello??!” hooted Henry. “What kind of a name is Sassy?”

   “Do you mean your character’s name or the name of the woman next door?” I asked.

   “Both,” said Evie. “I like Sassy. She looks a bit like a Sassy.”

   We burst out laughing, but Evie ignored us. She put down her notebook and walked to the window to look out.

   “What do you think?”

   “I think you are a very funny girl,” said Hen. “And probably you will be an amusing writer.”

   Evie turned to grin at Henry. She hadn’t smiled much lately, and we all smiled back at her. Then she got serious. It was a little like the cloud passing over the sun again.

   “But Henry,” she said. “This isn’t funny.”

   “I know,” said Hen.

    She has come here after a sad time. Sassy has left much behind: her home, her life, the friends who made her smile. The sun lights up her loneliness. But she won’t be lonely for long. I will save her.

    I will save my father, too.

                                            ————– Evie

The World Down Below (Complete Story)

               

The World Down Below

By April Ma

                “…..13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Ready or not, here I COMMMEEEEE!!!” Larry called.

                He’ll never find us here. No, not this place, unless we were playing Marco Polo. Gilda thought.

                Connie, Gilda, and Larry, were playing hide and seek. Of course, this was a baby game, but teenagers can still enjoy it. Which was exactly what they did. Kind of.

                They were all bored, but their Aunt Jenne was coming the day after. So, they could get rid of some of this childish nonsense, for now…..

                Connie was a girl, sporty, quick and adventurous, and she knew quite lot of languages. Gilda was an indoor girl, straight A+s, since 2nd grade. Larry, on the other hand, was a mix of in between, with a great ear for hearing, with a dash of obedience for his sisters. But he was just a little younger.

                Connie and Gilda sneaked into a round stone door, nearly swallowed up with ivy and mold. Squealing, they tip-toed in.

                “Holy cow! I’d like to explore this place!” Connie gasped

                “This must be the ancient ruins those construction workers were blahhing about, Connie!” Gilda whispered.

                No reply.

                “Connie?”

                Still no reply, but a rustle of branches from a nearby oak tree.

                “Aunt Jenne’s going to miss you!!!!”

                Too late! She realized Connie had already gone exploring. She panicked for a while.

                “LAARRRRYYYYY!!!”

                “Uh-huh? Hmmm…. uh… where’s Connie??”

                “THAT IS WHY I TOLD YOU TO COME!”

                “Ohhh… then…………”

                He climbed up the same tree the rustles came from. Gilda followed, eager to find her sister, but desperate to go home safe.

                At the top, they were baffled to find the trunk hollow, smooth and big. Next to it lay a pastel orange Converse sneaker.

                “Connie!”

                At once, they glided down, down. So far down they thought it was underground. But the only thought that stuck in their heads was Where is Connie?

                Down, down, down, they went, Larry in the lead. At last they uhh…. found the “end””.

                “Awesome! Now we can just find Connie and get outta here! I don’t want to miss pickle night.” Larry exclaimed.

                “Whoa, hold on hungry bob…. How do you stop this thing?!?!”

                “Umm…. AHHHHH!”

                Larry skidded, and stubbed his toe. Hopping in pain, he was only tripped again by Gilda slipping through his legs.

                “Alright, so… what were we doing?! GET UP LARRY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING LAYING DOWN LIKE A LAZY PIG?!”

                “I’ve got a cut!”

                “Well go get a band-aid from your sport sack, dude. Be a man!”

                They started to enter the hole that Larry had stubbed his toe on. As soon as they stepped foot inside the mucky hole a drip-drip and a HUGE rumble served them a scary face and the side of the heebee jeebees. Dessert was a mud pie, gushy and soft.

                They ignored these sounds and trudged on through the thick muck. A loud echo rang in their ears; they thought they had heard it before.

                “What? OH! oday ouyay peaksay glishenay?” The voice said.

                “OF COURSE; young lady. Let me introduce you to Lord Burr-……” Another voice called.

                “Gosh! It’s Connie! Let’s go find her!”

                Splashing through the mud, waving at the cobwebs, at last they saw dry land and an opening where the voices grew clearer. As they approached the passageway, they heard a whiny voice chanting, I WANT A PICKLE YOU THING!!

                At this, 2 siblings charged in and attempted to snatch Connie’s hand.

                “HALT OUTSIDER.”

                Ten sharp bony spears crowded around Gilda’s neck.

                “Call in Soda Soufflé. Let him decide to do with this girl.”

                The spears went down, but still ready to strike.

                An odd shadow walked toward Gilda. It was hard to make out what or who he or she was in the dimness of the tree, but you could tell that. He spoke to the rest of his clan in what seemed like Pig Latin.

                He pressed a sharp spear into her neck. “Tell me, girl, where can I find pickle for Lord Burrito Bansickle? If you not tell me, you going to be fed to….. The Almas.”

                Yeesh! What’s with the creepy guy? Who is the Almas anyway?

                He pressed the spear point harder until she shed one drop of blood.

                “Now. TELL ME.”

                “Oday otnay urthay ymay istersay! Iay hinktay ymay rotherbay ashay omesay icklespay!” Connie panicked.

                In translation, she tried to say ‘Do not hurt my sister. I think my brother has some pickles! The “people” only got the “Pickles” part!

                “What???! Give; NOW!!!” bellowed Lord Burrito Bansickle.

                “Larry?! Give them your pickles, or we’re getting outta here as roast beef!”

                “Fine, Yeesh…..”

                He took out a finely polished jar of pickles. It had a shiny red cap. Inside, the pickles were assorted. Some rare and some fair, some small, some big, fat, skinny, they were all there.

                “What zis…” the Lord muttered.

                “This, would be a pickle, dude!”

                Larry took out an orange handkerchief and opened the fancy jar. He presented a pair of tweezers, and carefully drew out a medium sized fat pickle of the jar. He was much prepared, and pulled out a small wooden slab and a cheese knife out of his silver drawstring sports sack. He began cutting the pickles in thin professional slices. Larry brought it over to the Lord who began sniffing the pickles.

                “This? I eat!”

                He took a plastic fork from Larry’s hand and stabbed a pickle slice, hesitated, then wolfed it down a blink of an eye.

                ”Do you really keep all this stuff in there?” Gilda whispered.

                Larry nodded vigorously. He switched his attention to Lord Burrito Bansickle. A hopeful look spread across his face as the Lord chewed another slice.

                Gilda grabbed out her purple phone. She began typing a description at the speed of light.

the lord thing a mo bobber:

looks like a burrito lol:)

bug eyes lol

weird mouth dripping with pickle juice lol/eww

lol accent

                Then she posted it on her notes. then the screen flashed. Her phone had a habit of searching up everything she typed on reminders on Google, so the screen said: Lord burrito Bansickle?? ??

                Whoa… he’s famous?

                The screen listed the most informational sites. The first one was a poem by a teenager, and it was hard to read.

lord burrito Bansickle lol

never hadda pickle

He hated donuts

that burrito Bansickle lol :):)

                The screen flashed again and said in bold words, Almas. The most feared creature on earth. Many scientists have found a hollow tree trunk and explored, but never returned.

                What’s this got to do with it??? Oh yeah, the soda can guy said something about it.

                Connie was watching Lord Burrito Bansickle gobble down every, precious, pickle in Larry’s jar. She felt sorry for her brother. He was a pickle FREAK. Lord Burrito enjoyed this moment of slurping, licking and crunching the various pickles. Larry wore a concerned face that read, Please, not ALL of them…

                Gilda was typing something on Google in the search button of images. She typed: Lord Burrito Bansickle. Even though they were, like, right in front of him, she could not see his terrible pickle juice showered face in the dark tree trunk. Once the phone had loaded the images, she glanced at them one by one.

                Oh eww…. yechh… disgusting!

                It was his “internal Organs” aka the cheese and tomatoes and sour cream, the inside of a normal burrito, little bits tumbling down the side of his tortilla skin.

                Why has he not had a pickle before, I mean, they’re always on sale at stores….

                Then, when they looked up from their distractions, the three children simultaneously thought the same thing. Let’s get out of here before the burrito man finishes eating and kills us….

                Larry quickly bid a farewell to his delicious pickles. They kids glanced back one last time, seeing the thing was nearly finished the pickles. They stripped their feet down to the skin and began climbing the steep tree trunk. Their feet were as silent as mice, sweaty feet only squeaking once or twice when they slid down an inch or two on the hard slippery oak wood. They trembled as they climbed to the top. Without looking they all leaped down the tall tree, having enough time to slip on their flip-flops and sneakers. They landed with a crash among pointy twigs and some acorns. Although they had a scratch or two from the sharp twigs, they stood up with a confused look like, What just happened?

                The tripelets walked home in time to see the glorious sunset of rainbow, excluding green. They walked down the sturdy sidewalk that wound up to their house, happy to be walking horizontally again. Before they knew it, they sky faded to a navy blue shade and stars sparkled among it. They stared up, and if you looked hard enough, you see the words Lord Burrito Bansickle printed by the stars. Larry giggled and said, “It’s Pickle Day! I forgot!” and pulled out a plastic bag with a pickle. The girls could not believe their eyes when they that Larry had saved a pickle! They continued their walk home and once they arrived, they saw their Angora kitten perched on the counter, next to a plate of burritos.

                Their mother said, “Hi, where have you been? Tonight is pickle night, but I was going to surprise you by making…… BURRITOS! And pickles!” They each gave a shriek and traded looks of relief (that it didn’t eat pickles), and soon the delicious burritos vanished in an instant.

                “Goodness, why are you 3 eating so fast? What wore you out this afternoon?”

                “Umm…… We ran??”

                “Well, I’m glad you’ve remembered to exercise today!”

                And as they waited for their Aunt Jenne in the morning, they plopped down onto the sofa and watched the movie, The Invasion of the Food People: Lord Burrito Bansickle and had the perfect snack food, PICKLES!!

   THE END

New Kidnappers in the House part 3

We had our worst class, geography. I never had a clue on what they were talking about.

“Test everyone,” said Mrs. Curium.

What? Test? Crud. I haven’t studied since two months ago. My heart beat really fast, faster than it had before. I closed my eyes making sure I wasn’t dreaming. I opened them and guess what happened, it was real, still. I sat staring at my paper. Good thing it was multiple choice. I didn’t know what to do. I tried this pattern called the ABCDCBABCDCBABCDCBA pattern.

When Mrs. Curium graded all the tests, we all got them back and saw our scores. Total FAIL! I got a F, twenty-four percent. I tore it in half, smashed it into a ball, and hurled it wildly in the trash. My anger boiled in my stomach. I marched back to my desk head looking down and fists ready to punch someone into the dump.

“Is something wrong?” asked Mrs. Curium.

“No,” I said softly.

I felt like punching her hard metal face. Better than getting too much anger, I thought. I slammed my fist at her metallic face. BAM! SKADOOSH! KABOOM! I heard my fist go. Mrs. Curium had a dent at the top of her head. I put my hands over my mouth. She stood up, opened her mouth and said, “Go to the principal’s office NOW!” I stood up went out the door and thought, that was fun. I ran down to the principal’s office and then my partner ran up to me looking panicked. “Radon, bad news, I was just walking down spying on the principal. A new staff member came in and put a letter on Mr. Fakey’s lap. I tried to sneak and peek but I was too late, he caught me. And now I’m suspended for a week,” he said.

“So, you don’t have to do all the tests and do all the reading, math, geography, and all those other subjects,” I replied.

“ Yeah, but they won’t even let me work with you on this case we have now,” he said.

“What!?” I replied.

“I know right?” he said sadly.

“Okay then I’ll just have to tackle this case myself,” I said confidently.

“But Radon” he started.

“No buts I’ll do it myself and that’s that,” I interrupted.

“Fine,” he said as his eyes drooped down.

“Now go on to your easy life watching T.V., Playing video games all day and night, and most awesomely, getting to do whatever you want,” I said.

He trudged out the wooden door back home as I headed back to class.

I walked down to class as Mrs. Curium said, “Open your science books to page fifty-four class.”

I took out my science book and opened it.

“Today, we will be talking about protons, electrons, and neutrons inside our bodies,” said Mrs. Curium.

Boring, I thought to myself. Wish we could study something better like maybe . . . electric or fire. I heard her talk about how we all have atomic numbers and each of them are different. I have eighty-six.

“Now class, you might think this is weird or why do we have numbers but I’ll answer why you all have numbers. Your numbers are how many protons and electrons you have in your body, okay,” said Mrs. Curium.

I raised my hand.

“Yes Radon.”

“If we have numbers for electrons and protons, then why don’t we have numbers for neutrons?” I asked.

“Good question Radon ‘cause that’s what I’ll tell you about next,” Mrs. Curium started. “You all have atomic weights as well. An atomic weight is not how many neutrons you have class. When you do something like umm . . . this (s=atomic number n=atomic weight) s-n= would equal to how many neutrons you have, so s-n= number of neutrons inside your body,” she answered. “Now I will tell you your atomic weights,” she said.

I got number two hundred twenty-four. I subtracted. I have one hundred forty-six neutrons. I checked dang I always get it wrong the first time one hundred thirty-six not forty-six.

I turned around, another paper airplane I opened it. It said, Deer, Raidon Bring over da muney or els theans wil git derty. Sinseerlee, da kidnapers.

It already feels dirty to me and when will these villains learn proper grammar? Better start snoopin’ now or we’re not gonna get any further. Time to snoop big time.

Cheddar Moon – Chapters 1-4

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 1 

       I have a story to tell you, young readers. This is a long story, one that occurred when I was a mouse your age. It has been a very long time, so I might not remember everything. But if you listen carefully and quietly, I will tell you about the time when the moon really was made out of cheese.

       In the olden days, it was easy for us to live. There were few humans to disturb us, and they left us in peace. We built our homes out of old wood strips, and shredded fabric was used for bedding. Every home was large enough to hold ten mice, but discreet and small enough to be hidden from passing humans. We spent much of our time indoors, taking care of siblings, gathering fabric to shred for bedding.

       One day, I decided to explore the great outdoors. I had heard from family members that everything was different.

       “It’s dangerous, you know,” my sister said. “You never know what’s out there!”

       Shrugging off her concerns, I prepared to leave, packing a bag full of food, wood strips, and fabric in case I needed to shelter in an emergency or lost my way. For the rest of the day, I was extremely restless, eager to get outside. I tried to pretend everything was the same, trying to keep a nonchalant attitude. My strategy didn’t work.

      “You’re awfully quiet tonight,” my mother remarked as she passed me a bowl of soup. “It’s minced morsel stew, your favorite, and you haven’t said a word!”

       “Yes,” my father added. “Is something wrong? Is there anything troubling you? If so, you can always ask your mother and I for advice.”

       “No, it’s fine. Everything’s okay. I guess I’m just tired,” I say, hoping the conversation will end soon.

       “Charles has been thinking about-!” I cut my sister off with a warning glare.

       “Thinking about what, darling?” my mother intervenes.

       “I-I didn’t really mean that,” my sister says. “I think we should all sleep early tonight. We all seem tired.” Kayla lowers her gaze, picking up her spoon, gesturing to everyone to do the same.

       “Let’s eat!” my mother says, rubbing her hands together. “The stew’s getting cold. Charles, if you’re not going to eat that, dump it back in the cooking pot. Otherwise, stop playing with your food and eat a decent meal.”

       I decide to leave the dinner table, and brush my teeth for bed. However, I don’t sleep. I spend my time planning my escape into the outdoors world. Hours pass. Night falls. I hear Kayla come upstairs, stepping softly, trying not to “wake” me. She tucks my blankets more firmly around me then closes the door and leaves.

       I wait three long, excruciating hours in bed, until the clock chimes. Midnight. I know Mother and Father must be asleep, but I stand up to check. Pressing my ear to the door, I listen. Not a single squeak. I grab my bag, check my inventory, then scribble a note to my parents telling them of my decision to explore the outside world. I stick the note to my bedroom door, and creep down the stairs, silent as a shadow. I am looking back at my home for the last time. I turn around, my hand firmly around the doorknob. I am turning the cold, smooth handle when-

       “Charles!” my father’s voice comes to me. I start, my hand releasing the doorknob. My father comes racing down the stairs, stumbling and tripping on the last four in his haste to reach me. “Wait, son! Don’t go!”

       “Father?” I say, my confusion evident. “How did you know I was leaving tonight?” Suddenly, I realize. “Kayla! She told!”

       “Yes, she did, Charles. And she did so for good measure. Kayla didn’t want you to go alone. We arranged a way to help you during dinner,” he says calmly.

       “But you can’t stop me from going on the adventure of my life, Father! I’ve been dreaming of it! Besides, you and Mother can manage without me just the same. Kayla can cook, and Sarah can sew! You don’t need me here!” I protest, whiskers twitching in frustration.

       A sad expression crosses his face. “Charles, I don’t want you to go alone. You’re my only son. Just let me go with you,” he says.

       “No, Father. I’m sorry, but this is my mission. I promise to return as soon as possible. I just don’t want to leave Mother with Kayla, Sarah, and Baby Nellie to take care of. Please let me go alone. Please!” I beg, awaiting his decision.

       We stand in silence, until Father straightens, opening the door. “Good luck, Charles,” he says, “and I wish you the best on your journey.”

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 2 

       Readers, do you remember when my relatives said that everything was different in the outside world? It certainly was. After leaving the house where I had spent my entire childhood, I had stood outside in the dark, dim light of the world when it was sleeping. There was not a sound, just the calm, warm resonance of lake water lapping at the shore, the scent of a summer breeze being carried through the trees, sending blankets of soft, green leaves down onto the carpet of green grass. I stood outside for nearly one hour, breathing the scents of summer beauty, admiring all that I could see at one time. Finally, lying in the shade of a tall, sturdy maple tree, I fell asleep, comforted by the smells and sounds of nature.

       In the morning, I awoke to the sounds of birdcalls. I had never before heard them, because my home had been so isolated from nature. I watched the sun rise from the horizon, watched the darkness of night fade, to be replaced by the vivid, bright golden colors of dawn. I slowly climbed up the maple tree, and sat on the lowest branch to eat my breakfast. I was so immersed in watching the sun rise that I did not notice an angry bird squawking and screeching above me.

       The bird turned to its nest, reached in, then dropped a squirming, wriggling worm square on my head. I shook it off in anger, then threw it with all my might to where the bird was. The worm was too heavy for me, and I dropped it onto the carpet of green grass surrounding the tree. The bird fluffed up its feathers in contempt, then flew away to get more food for its chicks. I heaved a sigh of relief, then gradually slid down the tree trunk. I kicked the worm away, where it wriggled twice then stopped moving.

       Sitting on the bag I had brought with me, I began to plan things out. I found a piece of tree bark which I used for a notebook to plan my journey, and I found some sticks to use as a calendar. I went back to the maple tree to grab more tree bark, and I stuffed the pieces into my bag. I found two old, rusted bottle caps, and I attached them to the bark pieces to make a wagon. I held everything together with some tree sap, and I put my bag onto the wagon. Now was the time to gather materials, I thought to myself. I should make use of the daylight while I have it.

       Pulling my wagon, I searched the base of the tree for any materials I could use to write with. With no luck, I sat down, brainstorming. My eyes wandered to the decaying worm, and I leaped onto my feet. I raced to the top of the tree as fast as I could, and sat on the highest branch. Looking down at the abandoned bird’s nest, I measured the distance with my eyes, and jumped. I landed on the very edge, but my weight caused the nest to tip over, and it sailed gracefully in the air before landing several feet away from my wagon. Panting with the effort, I slumped against the nest, trying to catch my breath. Once I had restored my energy, I hauled the wagon to the nest, and piled the eggshell bits into the wagon. The dried-up eggshells would work perfectly as chalk, and when I used up one piece, I still had some to spare. I counted the shell bits, and recorded it in my tree bark journal. Exhausted from all the muscle-stretching work I had done – building a wagon was no easy task – I ate a simple lunch and fell asleep. A day’s work had been done.

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 3

       After waking up from a long and luxurious rest, I stretched, twitching my whiskers and waving my tail. My muscles felt very tense and sore, and I was unwilling to get up. I was unaccustomed to the hard, rigidness of the ground I slept on, and I longed for my warm, dry bed at home. My bed at home had been lined with the softest, smoothest fabric my mother could find, and it was always fresh and clean. My makeshift bed of fabric strips was meager in comparison, and it was wet with morning dew. Undaunted, I laid the fabric strips onto the dry bark of my wagon, hoping it would dry throughout the day.

       Shaking the sticky dew drops off my ears, I picked a dandelion stem to eat for breakfast, but the stem was too tall and slick for me to hold. It blocked my vision, and I ran into the maple tree. A piece of bark fell, opening a hole in my new shirt. I realized it was time for a change. I decided to spend one whole week under my maple tree shelter, patching clothing, gathering food, and doing other miscellaneous activities. I wanted to gather food, but my clothing was in need of repair, so I decided to patch my shirt in the bright daylight, and I could use the dim light of the night to gather food. That way, I could make use of my time while staying safe under the cover of night.

       I grabbed a clean, white shirt from my wagon, ducked behind the tree to change, and emerged with the torn shirt in my paws. My day of sewing was about to begin.

       I had never been good at sewing – that was always what Sarah had loved to do. My younger sister would happily patch clothing while I gathered food and materials for the family. I never had time to watch her sew and mend, so it didn’t surprise me that I was clueless right now. However, I was spared the trouble by the surfacing of a distant memory. In the memory, I was watching my mother sew, her furry paws warm and soft from hours of chores. She was mending a pair of overalls, and she was instructing me. “Charles,” she had said, “I know you don’t sew. But even if you do, some time in the future, you need to remember to always watch the needle and the fabric. You can’t let your eyes wander and stray or you could hurt yourself.”

       With the memory fresh in my mind, I set to work. Grabbing some tough weeds and grass, I tore the grass into thin shreds. I had found a human-sized needle, and I worked the shredded grass into the hole of the needle. The job was a lot harder than I thought. The needle was too big, so I had to hold it with two paws. It took me the entire day to patch the paw-sized hole, but it was better than nothing. Only until I had finished did I realize how hungry I had been. I had been concentrating so hard that I forgot to eat lunch! Oh, well. I guess I’d transition straight to dinner!

       For dinner, I ate the leftovers of the dandelion stem I had eaten this morning. The plant was delicious, and it satisfied my hunger and thirst. Sitting on my favorite tree branch, I reflected on my day. I realized that this was the life I had always wanted, one where I could explore and figure things out for myself. I enjoyed my new independence, and I wanted to make it last. Watching the sun set, I could form only one thought in my mind. Nature has given us many gifts in life – my gift is the ability to explore and enjoy life in a completely different perspective.

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 4

       My week of preparation had passed. Everything had gone smoothly, and I knew I would have no trouble. I had made a solid wooden shield for myself if I needed self-defense from other animals, and I had gathered enough food to eat for one month! I was proud of my hard work, and ready to begin my long journey at last. I ate some homemade candied dandelion stems for breakfast, oiled my wagon with a strong-smelling liquid called Coca-Cola, grabbed a hand-stitched backpack, and began walking. I found an enormous, worn-out compass in a garbage disposal, and I rolled it on the ground when I walked.

       My goal was to hike three miles today, but I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon. So far, I’ve only gone about one-fifth of a mile, and it’s taken me five hours to do so! Well, don’t call me a slowpoke, will you? Don’t forget that I am several times smaller than you are! True, mice can scamper and run really fast, which compensates for our small body size, but it’s not very easy to run with a month’s supply of food stocked on your wagon, a backpack on your back, and a wagon that is rusting because you oiled it with Coca-Cola! Enough said; it’s time for lunch.

       The salted tree bark I had packed in bulk turned out to be very nutritious and filling, and the candied dandelion stems made a very sweet and tasty dessert. I drank some groundwater from an oak tree, filled my water canteen with the same groundwater, groomed myself, and continued walking again.

       It was at this part of my journey that I met up with trouble. If you want to guess, I’ll give you a chance. Okay. So, what are two things that a mouse can’t do? Okay, flying definitely counts. No, mice are extremely good at hiding. How could you not know that? Another answer, please? That’s right – swimming.

       I had been walking along, my backpack bouncing on my back, and the wagon creaking and squeaking along on the rough and gravelly dirt road behind me. In my left hand was a map, and I held a long, sharp stick to help me walk on hilly trails. The road wasn’t smooth like the roads back home; instead, it had many sharp, jagged stones. The road was coarse and rough, and my bare feet were aching with pain. I had been looking down the whole time to ensure I didn’t step on any rocks, and I was beginning to feel dizzy, and my neck had started cramping. Looking up, everything seemed to sway. The trees around me, the tall, enormous buildings, even the ground. I immediately dropped my bags and sat down until the wave of nausea passed.

       I was thankful to get a minute’s rest to recuperate from the tiring day and my dizziness. I hadn’t rested for several hours, and I was feeling faint with hunger and thirst. Reaching for my water canteen, which was located in a secret compartment in my rusty wagon, I let out an involuntary gasp. I had not been aware of my surroundings before, and now I noticed them for the first time. Three feet away from me lay the largest, deepest canyon I had ever seen! Do you know how large it was? The canyon was about five feet deep – hey, that’s not funny! You do realize I’m a mouse, right? Trust me – I’m not making excuses! If you’ve ever seen a mouse, you would realize how scary a five-foot drop would be! Well, if you’re still not convinced, visualize it as a canyon two stories deep!

       For the first time since I started this long journey, I felt afraid. At the bottom of the canyon, there was a huge pool of dirty, litter-filled water. If it weren’t for the fact that the canyon was so deep, and the water was filled with bits and pieces of shattered glass, rusted metal, and other debris, I might have had a chance to jump down, using some scrap tree bark as a raft.

      I peered down, cautiously, to search for any humans or wild animals hiding in the canyon. From where I stood, I could only see the middle of the canyon; I was oblivious to the walls and sides. I desperately needed a closer look.

       I tried tiptoeing to the edge of the canyon, stepping ever so carefully; I was afraid to move my arms for fear that they would throw me off balance and send me tumbling to my death in the heart of the canyon. Moving my foot just one inch was difficult. I broke out in a cold sweat, and my hands were wet with moisture. I held my arms like a scarecrow, and I was walking stiff-legged, much like a zombie. I held my breath, looked down at the walls of the canyon, and – nothing happened. I ran back to my wagon as fast as I could, tripping over small pebbles on the ground. I collapsed on my backpack, my chest heaving with the breaths that had been waiting to be breathed.

       Laying on my backpack for what seemed like forever, I finally mustered the courage to stand up, eat dinner, and lay out the shredded fabric for bedding. Raising my head, which had been buried in the backpack the whole time, I was shocked. How could time pass by so quickly? When I had arrived, the sky was a clear, cloudless blue, and the sun was shining in the sky. A gentle breeze ruffled the green leaves on the trees, and birds were chirping and singing to one another.

       Now, the sky was a magnificent violet-purple, tinged with stripes of gold and ribbons of peachy pink. The sun was lowered to the horizon, a dim, auburn semi-circle. It was now sunset, and there were only faint birdcalls to interrupt the silence of the evening. A light wind made the lush carpet of grass sway and dance, ruffling my pristine white shirt and messing up my whiskers.

       As I lay flat on my back on the makeshift, shredded fabric bed, I watched the beautiful, glorious sunset until fatigue and exhaustion overcame me like a wave and I fell asleep.

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 4

My week of preparation had passed. Everything had gone smoothly, and I knew I would have no trouble. I had made a solid wooden shield for myself if I needed self-defense from other animals, and I had gathered enough food to eat for one month! I was proud of my hard work, and ready to begin my long journey at last. I ate some homemade candied dandelion stems for breakfast, oiled my wagon with a strong-smelling liquid called Coca-Cola, grabbed a hand-stitched backpack, and began walking. I found an enormous, worn-out compass in a garbage disposal, and I rolled it on the ground when I walked.

My goal was to hike three miles today, but I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon. So far, I’ve only gone about one-fifth of a mile, and it’s taken me five hours to do so! Well, don’t call me a slowpoke, will you? Don’t forget that I am several times smaller than you are! True, mice can scamper and run really fast, which compensates for our small body size, but it’s not very easy to run with a month’s supply of food stocked on your wagon, a backpack on your back, and a wagon that is rusting because you oiled it with Coca-Cola! Enough said; it’s time for lunch.

The salted tree bark I had packed in bulk turned out to be very nutritious and filling, and the candied dandelion stems made a very sweet and tasty dessert. I drank some groundwater from an oak tree, filled my water canteen with the same groundwater, groomed myself, and continued walking again.

It was at this part of my journey that I met up with trouble. If you want to guess, I’ll give you a chance. Okay. So, what are two things that a mouse can’t do? Okay, flying definitely counts. No, mice are extremely good at hiding. How could you not know that? Another answer, please? That’s right – swimming.

I had been walking along, my backpack bouncing on my back, and the wagon creaking and squeaking along on the rough and gravelly dirt road behind me. In my left hand was a map, and I held a long, sharp stick to help me walk on hilly trails. The road wasn’t smooth like the roads back home; instead, it had many sharp, jagged stones. The road was coarse and rough, and my bare feet were aching with pain. I had been looking down the whole time to ensure I didn’t step on any rocks, and I was beginning to feel dizzy, and my neck had started cramping. Looking up, everything seemed to sway. The trees around me, the tall, enormous buildings, even the ground. I immediately dropped my bags and sat down until the wave of nausea passed.

I was thankful to get a minute’s rest to recuperate from the tiring day and my dizziness. I hadn’t rested for several hours, and I was feeling faint with hunger and thirst. Reaching for my water canteen, which was located in a secret compartment in my rusty wagon, I let out an involuntary gasp. I had not been aware of my surroundings before, and now I noticed them for the first time. Three feet away from me lay the largest, deepest canyon I had ever seen! Do you know how large it was? The canyon was about five feet deep – hey, that’s not funny! You do realize I’m a mouse, right? Trust me – I’m not making excuses! If you’ve ever seen a mouse, you would realize how scary a five-foot drop would be! Well, if you’re still not convinced, visualize it as a canyon two stories deep!

For the first time since I started this long journey, I felt afraid. At the bottom of the canyon, there was a huge pool of dirty, litter-filled water. If it weren’t for the fact that the canyon was so deep, and the water was filled with bits and pieces of shattered glass, rusted metal, and other debris, I might have had a chance to jump down, using some scrap tree bark as a raft.

I peered down, cautiously, to search for any humans or wild animals hiding in the canyon. From where I stood, I could only see the middle of the canyon; I was oblivious to the walls and sides. I desperately needed a closer look.

I tried tiptoeing to the edge of the canyon, stepping ever so carefully; I was afraid to move my arms for fear that they would throw me off balance and send me tumbling to my death in the heart of the canyon. Moving my foot just one inch was difficult. I broke out in a cold sweat, and my hands were wet with moisture. I held my arms like a scarecrow, and I was walking stiff-legged, much like a zombie. I held my breath, looked down at the walls of the canyon, and – nothing happened. I ran back to my wagon as fast as I could, tripping over small pebbles on the ground. I collapsed on my backpack, my chest heaving with the breaths that had been waiting to be breathed.

Laying on my backpack for what seemed like forever, I finally mustered the courage to stand up, eat dinner, and lay out the shredded fabric for bedding. Raising my head, which had been buried in the backpack the whole time, I was shocked. How could time pass by so quickly? When I had arrived, the sky was a clear, cloudless blue, and the sun was shining in the sky. A gentle breeze ruffled the green leaves on the trees, and birds were chirping and singing to one another.

Now, the sky was a magnificent violet-purple, tinged with stripes of gold and ribbons of peachy pink. The sun was lowered to the horizon, a dim, auburn semi-circle. It was now sunset, and there were only faint birdcalls to interrupt the silence of the evening. A light wind made the lush carpet of grass sway and dance, ruffling my pristine white shirt and messing up my whiskers.

As I lay flat on my back on the makeshift, shredded fabric bed, I watched the beautiful, glorious sunset until fatigue and exhaustion overcame me like a wave and I fell asleep.

the world DOWN BELOW4

        Connie was watching Lord Burrito Bansickle gobble down every, precious, pickle in Larry’s jar. She felt sorry for her brother. he was a pickle FREAK.

       Lord Burrito enjoyed this moment of slurping, licking and cruching the various pickles. Larry wore a concerned face that read,  Please, not ALL of them…

        Gilda was typing something on Google in the search button of images. She typed: Lord Burrito bansickle. Even though they were, like, right in front of him, she could not she his terrible pickle juice showered face in the dark tree trunk.

       Once the phone had loaded the images, she glanced at them one by one.

       Oh eww…. yechh… disgusting!

       It was his “internal Organs” aka the cheese and tomatoes and sourcream, the inside of a normal burrito.

        Why has he not had a pickle before, I mean, they’re always on sale at Hy-Vee….

Word After Word After Word – Chapter 3

   The class was quiet – no coughing, no rustling of papers – at the sight of Ms. Mirabel. She wore a bright pink jacket trimmed with what looked like feathers. She wore long earrings that had feathers, too. Maybe  she would fly around the room, words falling like bird droppings on all of us.

   “I am going to sit in the back today,” siad Miss Cash. “It will be Ms. Mirabel’s class. Think of her as your teacher. She will be visiting us for six weeks, sometimes on a daily basis. At times she’ll be in charge of the class. Sometimes I will be.”

   The windows were open, and the breeze rippled the feathers on Ms. Mirabels.

   “I’m going to read some things to you,” said Ms. Mirabel. “Words. Some I hope you will like. You may not like some of what I read. You don’t have to like everything.”

   We all looked at one another. Miss Cash had never told us we didn’t have to like the things she read. I looked quickly at Miss Cash, but her face was still and stony.

   “Some words may make you happy, some may make you sad. Maybe some will make you angry. What I hope” – a sudden gust of wind made Ms. Mirabel’s hair lift – “what I hope is that something will whisper in your ear.”

   “What does that mean?” asked Russell.

   Miss Cash sighed loud enough for me to hear. Russell always asked questions that made Miss Cash sigh.

   Ms. Mirabel didn’t sigh. She smiled brightly.

   “You will know,” she said.

   Surprisingly, Russell grinned back at Ms. Mirabel as if they had a secret pact. Quietly, Miss Cash got up and opened the door at the back of the rrom and was gone.

   Ms. Mirabel looked at us. “First, a place.”

   “The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of bay and it smelled of  manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows.”

   “Charlotte’s Web”, someone whispered excitedly.

   “I knew that,” said Russell.

   “Now, a moment, a time, a place,” said Ms. Mirabel. 

   “The road that led to Treegap had been trod out long before by a herd of cows who were, to say the least, relaxed. It wandered along in curves and easy angles, swayed off and up in a pleasant tangent to the top of a small hill, ambled down again between fringes of bee-hung clover, and then cut sidewise across a meadow.”  

   “Characters,” said Ms. Mirabel. And she began to read.  

   “`Did Mama sing every day?’ asked Caleb. ‘Every-single-day?’ He sat close to the fire, his chin in his hand. It was dusk, and the dogs lay beside him on the warm hearthstones. 

   “`Every-single-day,’ I told him for the second time this week. For the twentieth time this month. The hundredth time this year? And the past few years? 

   “`And did Papa sing, too?’

   “Yes, Papa sang, too. Don’t get so close, Caleb. You’ll heat up.’

   “He pushed his chair back. It made a hollow scraping sound on the hearthstones, and the dogs stirred. Lottie, small and black, wagged her tail and lifted her head. Nick slept on.

   “I turned the bread dough over and over on the marble slab on the kitchen table.

   “`Well, Papa doesn’t sing anymore,’ said Caleb very softly.  

   I smiled. I knew that story. 

   “Now a memory,” said Ms. Mirabel.  

   “The memory is this: a blue blanket in a basket that pricks her bare legs, and the world turning over as she tumbles out. A flash of trees, sky, clouds, and the hard driveway of dirt and gravel. Then she is lifted up and up and held tight. Kind faces, she remembers, but that mighbe the later memory of her imagination. Still, when the memory comes, sometimes many times a night and in the day, the arms that hold her are always safe.”   

   Ms. Mirabel smiled. “And a poem,” she said.  

            “A nut 

                        My poem.

            When cracked you’ll find inside

                        Words

                        Whispers

                        People

                        Place

            That tuck in snugly to make

                        Story.”

   Ms. Mirabel read on and on, some things I’d heard before, some things I hadn’t. The breezes came in and around us like the words Ms. Mirabel spoke. No one moved, even when the bell rang for lunch.

   Ms. Mirabel stopped.

   “Maybe tomorrow some of you will bring your writing. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. I can read it for you. When we talk about it, we will be very kind. We will talk about what we like, and we will ask questions.”

   Ms. Mirabel waved her arm toward the door, her bird feathers rippling. “Go,” she said. 

   And we went.  

            Hollow boned

            Birds

            Sing!

            Until the sun falls down

            They tuck themselves under the

            Green leaves of trees

            And sleep until the sun calls

                        them to

            Sing again!

                                    ——- Henry

My favorite teacher contest entry

My favorite teacher is Mrs. Mathieson. Mrs. Mathieson is my favorite teacher because she is kind, understanding, caring, fun, and everything nice you can think of. She ‘s kind because she will help us when ever we need help. You are probably thinking that that’s what all teachers would do. You are right, but Mrs. Mathieson is different. She will help during school, after school, and even late at night when you call her for help.

She also understands others because when we forget to do our homework she will give us a second chance. When we are sad or mad she understands how we feel.

Now for some reasons she is caring. We had a class pet her name was Sugar, she was a rat. We all took turns taking care of her, but without Mrs. Mathieson we wouldn’t have known how. When Sugar was sick she brought her home so she could take her to the vet. A few weeks later, Sugar died.During those few weeks Mrs. Mathieson took care of her everyday feeding her, giving her fresh water, and cleaning her cage. After winter break we got a new class pet. She took care of her the same kind and caring way. Now she is also caring to the environment because on Earth Day we went outside to pick up litter.

Another reason I like her is because she is fun. Mrs. Mathieson would read us stories like No Talking. After we finished reading the book, we had a no talking contest. The no talking contest was just how it was in the book!She can also make reading fun. Some kids in my class hate reading, but it all changed when Mrs. Mathieson let us take tests and earn points. After we earned enough points we could spend it on soda, candy, and much more! She can even make studying for states and capitol fun. We always had 10 minutes before class ended to do a few problem solving questions. It was very fun!

Another   reason Mrs. Mathieson is my favorite teacher because she will always participate in after school activities .  Mrs. Mathieson also went to the Comets’ game on January 28, 2011 when the school choir went to sing the National Anthem. She also helped at the school carnival.

She also taught me a lot of new things. She helped me learn new words like depict or enigma. She taught me all the states and capitols in the U.S.  She also showed me some of the best ways to proofread and write stories.  Mrs. Mathieson show use how electricity works and how to conduct a science experiment.  She taught me so many things I can’t even name all of them!

I wish I could keep on talking about all the things she has taught me, but I will soon reach five hundred words. Those are only some of the reasons why I like Mrs. Mathieson. I could go on and on and fill hundreds of pages if I could.

The Poison Apple

 It was a normal day. I woke up, got dressed in my favorite jeans and t- shirt, ate breakfast and walked to school, but then everything change.  When I stepped in the classroom, I looked around. I saw animals everywhere- some were running, some were eating, others were playing. Where are my classmates? I thought.

Then suddenly a beaver said “Hey, Faith! It’s me Justin!”  I was so surprised I was sure I jumped 4 feet high.

“Geez, it is still your classmates,” Said a buffalo.

 “Who are you?” I said. “No wait I know. You are Richard. I have to say the buffalo face matches you perfectly.” Then everyone started laughing. Will it was mostly growls and howls but who cares it is still the same thing. After the ‘laughter’ died down I said “I also know why Justin is a beaver.”

“Why” said Justin and everyone else.

“Because you are Justin Beaver.”Then everyone was laughing again. 

“Very funny,” Said Justin while rolling his eyes. While all the animals are ‘laughing’ I looked around the classroom again. Now I can name all the animals. The penguin is Samrina, the gray wolf is Erin, the cat is Emma, and the mule is Samuel, turtle is Marissa, the snake is Annabeth, flamingo is Gabriel, the  parrot is Jacob, then there is Sally the squirrel, Alvin the chipmunk and Perry the platypus.  There is also a chicken named José, monkey named Mary Rose and a goldfish named Cooper. (Who is in my teacher’s coffee mug.)No wait I forgot my teacher, Mrs. Zoroark, is a bear and the principal, Mr. Zory, is a gorilla.

“Hey where is Abby?” I asked.Then suddenly I see a humming bird flying straight towards my face. I ducked down right before she hit my face.

” Sorry” Abby said. ” I’m not use to flying this fast, but in a way you deserved it. How can you forget me? ”

“Sorry, Abby you were too small. No offense Will I found Abby but  I still want to hear how you guys turned into animals!” I exclaimed.

“I will tell the story because I am the principal,” said Mr. Zory. “I got here early in the morning around 6:45 am. I went in to my office at the front of the school. I sat down in my spiny chair and started to spin around and around.” The class started laughing again.  “Hey! Be quiet! You all have detention after school today!” Mr. Zory commanded. “Now where was I … Oh I remember now, after spinning for a while I looked on my desk. I saw a basket of red apples. It had a note on the handle of the basket. It said “Congratulations! You have won the Principal of the Month Award! You have earned yourself 20 apples!” On the bottom of the note there was the letter G.M.W.”  “ After I read the note I brought the apples to Mrs. Zoroark’s room to share because her students’ got the highest score on the Kansas Assessments.” “I walked to the classroom and give everyone an apple. Every one took a bite of the apple and turned into animals. There is still one apple left because you came to school late.”

  Then I interrupted Mr. Zory and said “Wow! That’s weird!”

“Yea, I know, it is weird that the apples turned us into animals.”

“No that our class got the highest score on the Kansas Assessment.”

“Whatever, Now I need to finish telling the story. Wait there isn’t any thing to tell.”

“Hey! Mr. Zory, I have a question. Don’t you ever wonder what G.M.W stands for?” asked Emma.

“No. I think we should search it on the computers. I would search it up if I could but with these fingers I will crush them in no time, said the principal.

“I will search it then.” I said as I went to the computers. I went on the internet and search G.M.W. There were 1 billion results. 

Most results talked about robberies and animals appearing at weird places.  There was always a note that was signed with the letters G.M.W.

Animals appearing in weird places? I thought. Hmmmm. I haven’t seen the Xterment family and the Brown family in a long time. Could they have…..? I suddenly stopped in mid thought.

“Oh, no!” I yelled. ” I remember barks and meows in Mr. Xterment’s house. You all know that Mr. Xterment is allergic to furry animals.”

” There is another problem,” Samrina said quietly. ” I live next to them and I saw the animal control go in to their house.” 

” But where is the Brown family?” I asked

The Rainbows of Time – Chapter 1

Gazing out at the dark, starry night, Leah shifted her weight to get a closer look. The hard, wooden chair with its stiff back had been the only thing Leah could use. Her soft, pink beanbags were too low to the ground, and her panda shaped chair only made her level with the top of her nightstand. A few minutes earlier, Leah had tried sitting on the nightstand, which was only five inches shorter than her delicate 3’5’’ frame. As she climbed on, the nightstand wobbled and tipped away from the wall. Leah had stumbled away just as the nightstand fell onto the pink beanbag, the crash muffled by the soft, plush fabric.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Leah began walking backwards, away from the fallen nightstand. She tripped over a doll and hit her shin hard against the low frame of her bed. The bruise, which had formed almost instantaneously, had turned a shade of green.

Rubbing the 1 ½ inch long bruise, Leah sighed in anticipation. Tonight was like no other night. At exactly 11:59 P.M., Leah Katherine Trivue would be turning six years old. Forcing herself off the uncomfortable seat, she limped to her bedroom door and opened it. All was quiet. Leah could hear the quiet, steady breathing of her parents, who slept in the room next door, and she could hear the soft, quiet mews of her cat, Eve. Listening one last time, Leah carefully made her way down the stairs. Standing in the doorway to the kitchen, squinting in the darkness, Leah could just barely make out the time. It was 11:55 P.M. Good, she thought. I can read for a while! Limping to the bookshelf, she picked out a random book, hopped outside on her good leg, and flopped down on the hammock that hung from two maple trees.

The cool, September air was damp with mist, and a breeze blew through the trees sending a few leaves floating towards Leah’s face. As she brushed them away from her wavy, golden-honey hair, the hammock swayed and Leah dropped her book. Bending over to pick it up, Leah hung on to a tree branch for balance, slowly inching her way up. With a final heave, Leah dropped the book onto her lap, panting.

Looking down at the book she had chosen, she smiled. Leah’s sixteen-year old sister, Mariah, had made the book last year just for Leah. The black leather cover was fine and unscratched, and its fancy, gilded letters shone with a golden radiance. Leah ran a finger over the title, tracing every curve and every line. She gazed openmouthed, at this wonderful work of art and talent. The cover of the book had a rainbow on it, and Leah spent several minutes looking at it. The colorful stripes of the rainbow sparkled, and the clouds at the end reminded Leah of white snow melting in the sunlight. When she viewed the cover from different angles, Leah saw a rainbow, an hourglass, a unicorn, and a picture of a girl who looked just like Leah. Her favorite picture, of course, was the unicorn, with its sparkling white coat and clear, blue eyes.

Opening the book, Leah read the title page. The book was called The Rainbows of Time. Leah loved the title. It sounded so distant and faraway, yet mysterious and thrilling. Turning another page, Leah read, “This book is written and illustrated just for my little sister, Leah. Happy birthday, Leah! Love forever, Mariah.” She smiled, recalling all the times her older sister had cheered her up when she was sad, read to her when Leah couldn’t read yet, and cleaned Leah’s injuries when she fell off her bike. Seeing the dedication page made Leah very happy, and she began reading.

“Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a girl named Leah. When she read, Leah had the power to change the boundaries between fantasy and reality, fiction and truth. Leah – “Suddenly, she stopped short.

The sky was changing. Everything grew dark and pitch black. Leah tried to run back to her house, but she felt immobilized. She tried to scream for help, but her voice seemed to have stopped working. Leah had struggled to a sitting position, eyes wide with terror, hoping that Mariah could run forward to save her. But Mariah didn’t come. Instead, a beam of rainbow light appeared, shooting across the sky like a rocket. The light set off other light beams, which shot across the sky like fireworks, exploding at random moments. One of the beams exploded one foot above Leah’s head, and she screamed.

Suddenly, all the lights seemed to vanish. For one split second, everything was perfectly still. The next moment, all the light beams exploded simultaneously, filling the sky with whirlwinds of color. Leah started crying and sobbing, not knowing what was happening, but not wanting to know either. Something must be wrong, she thought. Terribly wrong.

Word After Word After Word – Chapter 2

   We sat under Henry’s huge lilac bush next to his house, the four of us: May and Henry, Evie and I. In a month or two, the smell of lilacs would fill the air.

   “So, what do you think?” I asked.

   No one said, “What do you think about what?” Everyone knew what I meant.

   “I like her,” said Evie. “Even if she sends her pathetic kids to camp all summer long.”

   “I think I love her,” said Henry. “She tells the truth.”

   “Or maybe not. Maybe she lies,” I pointed out.

   “Right,” said Hen, smiling. “Real and unreal are the same thing. So she says.”

   “What do you suppose that means?” asked May.

   No one answered.

   “Do you think she is happily married?” asked Evie thoughtfully. “She might be very good for my father.”

   “Evie, you can’t just pick out some woman for your father,” I said.

   “Why not?” said Evie. She turned and looked at me, her face fierce. “Why not?”

   Then her face crumpled and she began to cry.

   I put my arms around her.

   Henry’s mother, Junie, put her iced tea glass on the windowsill and leaned out.

   “Is everything all right out here?” she asked.

   “Fine,” said Henry.

   Junie, who knew better but didn’t say so, backed away through the window. Junie was the only mother we called by her first name because Henry did. And he called his father Max. Max worked at home because he loved Junie, and spent his time working on the computer and looking at Junie.

   “They are like kids,” said Hen once.  “Sometimes I am the grown-up. I don’t mind.”

   The steam from a pie on the table rose out the window. I watched a drop of water slip down the glass of iced tea as Evie cried on my shoulder.

   After a while Evie stopped crying and leaned back. I could feel the sudden wet coolness the tears had left on the shoulder of my T-shirt.

   “I’m a big, fat crybaby,” said Evie loudly. “Big, fat crybaby.”

   “No,” I said at the same time May did.

   “You’re not fat,” said Henry.

   Evie began to laugh then; and we all laughed, leaning back under the lilac bush, getting leaves and bits of dirt in our hair.

   “Not fat at all,” repeated Hen, making us laugh harder. I could almost see the laughter as it rose up and wound around the branches of the lilac bush, touching the blooms before lifting up to the sky. I took out my notebook.

          Sadness is

          Steam rising,

          Tears falling.

          A breath you take in

          But can’t let out

          As hard as you try.

                                                   – Lucy

New Kidnappers in the House part 2

            My day at school was slow, slow as a snail trying to win a million mile race. That means it might never end. As I was listening to the RING-a-DING-DING! of the bell, a paper airplane flew onto my lap. I opened it up and read it. “Hellow Raidon, I now that u now that the prinsipel has ben kidnaped. Bring us over $9,000 of your school’s money and well free him. Sinseerlee, The kidnapers.”

            It looks like it’s more than one person, and they probably have very bad grammar. I glanced up at the clock, WOW! Lots of time has past. 2:00 p.m. I sneaked out of line and went office and asked our head custodian, Germanium if he had seen anything different about Mr. Zinc. “No, but there are some knew students and staff workers that just came in,” he said.

                        “Hmmm . . . thanks,” I said.

“Don’t mention it Radon,” he replied.                                                 

Nice, some more suspects. Hope they’re dumb enough that I can make them tell me that they did it, fat chance. I went to get my partner, on the playground. I snatched him out of a game of Elementball and said, “Look, we need to find Mr. Zinc by the day after tomorrow. I have a feeling something bad is getting to him.” Time for a little snooping.

Great, one day of snooping and twelve hours just past, twelve more hours left I muttered as I munched a proton burger. “Any ideas of snooping?” I asked my partner. “Not a- wait a second,” he started. “What ‘bout a stakeout?”

“Hmm. . . great, now where do you and I hide?” I asked.

“The closet,” he replied.

“Sound idea,” I said.

“great now let’s start,” he replied.

FOO! The lunch whistle blew loudly.

It ended up that I didn’t go into the closet. Instead,

I turned myself invisible (I’m a gas so I can do that) and went into Mr. Zinc’s office. Rule number one, never go into Mr. Zinc’s office without any reason unless you can turn invisible. I scanned the office slowly. I walked down to the bathroom. I spotted something silvery and shiny. I picked it up. It was silver make-up! I saw something weird on it as well it said: The promise of being a kidnapper I promise to be hurtful and try to ruin everybody’s day. My heart is full of darkness and I want more of it in there. I try to punch peoples face and I try to make them faint so I can take their money and kidnap them as well!

Nice going fakey I wish you would never have this. I walked around and found something in the closet. Metal suits. Four of them dangled from hooks. One looked like it was a winter coat one was like a jacket one was like a long-sleeved shirt and the other was like a T-shirt. I zoomed out and I told my partner about this stuff.

“Hmm. . . I’ve just thought of this but how did he kidnap him and where did he keep him?” He asked.

“Good point, how he kidnapped him might give us a clue and maybe even will reveal the case,” I said.

“But let’s get to what we know already. He has suits and make-up to make him look like Mr. Zinc.”

“And he has a promise for being a kidnapper,” I finished off.

“That means he has to be wearing a suit, make-up, has to be a kidnapper, and probably has a small gang,” he said.

“I’m guessing that’s correct,” I replied.

Then I saw some little strip of paper sticking out of the trash can and at the top it said: kidnapper’s to do list. I read it. It said 1. buy suits 2. get make-up 3. kidnap principal 4. lead gang to places 5. change clothes 6. collect money when there sincerely, BOSS! Wow, a boss for Mr. Fakey. Our third clue finally revealed.

Word After Word After Word – Chapter 1

Some things happen in fours.

On the fourth day of the fourth month after the winter holiday vacation, a famous writer came to our fourth-grade class. Her name was Ms. Mirabel. She liked the “Ms.” a lot. She hissed “Ms.” like Evie’s cat, Looley, hissed. I looked over at Evie and she was smiling. She had thought of Looley, too.

    Ms. Mirabel had long, troubled hair and a chest that pushed out in front of her like a grocery cart.

   “Did you always want to be a writer?” asked Henry.

   He smiled at me. Hen carried a notebook with him at all times, sometimes stopping in the middle of soccer practice to pull it out and write something.

   “No,”, said Ms. Mirabel. “I wanted to be a stage performer or an electrical engineer.”

   “How much money do you make?” asked Evie.

   “Evie,” warned our teacher, Miss Cash. “That’s not a proper question to ask.”

   “That’s all right,” said Ms. Mirabel cheerfully. “I make enough to send my children to camp in the summer.”

   Evie frowned. She hated camp. She had once said that only cruel and uninterested parents sent their children off to camp in the summer. Evie knew firsthand. Her parents had sent her off to Camp Minnetuba the summer that they separated. When Evie returned home, her mother had moved out; her father lived there with Evie and her little brother, Thomas.

   “Temporary,” said her father and mother. “It had nothing to do with you.”

   Evie thought it had lots to do with her. From time to time her mother visited, but she never stayed very long.

   “Is what you write real?” asked May.

   Ms. Mirabel brightened. She liked that question.

   “Real or unreal. They’re just about the same,” said Ms. Mirabel. “They are both all about magical words!”

   She said words with a soft hush in her voice.

   “Do you write with an outline?” Russell asked.

   Ms. Mirabel laughed loudly. It was a sudden, startling laugh; and we all laughed, too.

   “Of course not,” she said. “Outlines are silly. Once you write the outline, there’s no reason to write the story. You write to participate … to find out what is going to happen!”

   Miss Cash frowned. This is not what she had taught us in creative writing class.

   “Actually, I loathe outlines!’ said Ms. Mirabel with great feeling.

   Miss Cash closed her eyes as if her head hurt.

   And then Hen asked the question that made all the difference to us.

   “Why do you write?” he asked.

   Ms. Mirabel sighed. There was a sudden hush in the room, as if Ms. Mirabel was about to say something very important.

   As it turned out, she was.

   “I, myself, write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want it to,” she said. “But other people write for other reasons: to see more closely what it is they are thinking about, what they may be afraid of. Sometimes writers write to solve a problem, to answer their own question. All these reasons are good reasons. And that is the most important thing I’ll ever tell you. Maybe it is the most important thing you’ll ever hear. Ever.”

   “Some writers write to earn money,” said Evie.

   “They do,” said Ms. Mirabel. “But that is only one reason to write. And usually not the most important.”

   “What is we have nothing to write about?” I asked. “And how do we change life by writing?” I added.

   Miss Cash smiled.

   “Lucy doesn’t think her life is very interesting,” she said.

   My life wasn’t interesting. Unless you counted my mother’s cancer. Her cancer filled up the hours these days. Sadness filled up my house. Sadness was all I knew. How could I change that?

   “Well, she’s wrong,” said Ms. Mirabel. She walked over to stand in front of me.

   “You have a story in there, Lucy,” she said, touching my head. “Or a character, a place, a poem, a moment in time. When you find it, you will write it. Word after word after word after word,” she whispered.

   The school bell rang. Ms. Mirabel jumped slightly. No one moved. Then, after a moment, Miss Cash took Ms. Mirabel’s arm and they went out the door. We all picked up our notebooks and went off to try to change our lives. Word after word after word.

(— to be continued)