Short story competition: seven- to 11-year-olds winner announced!
15 May 2008
From the crazy to the cute, the unlikely to the action-packed, the judges have read them all. And the winner is…
Children used this illustration as inspiration for their story
More than 1000 children entered this age category, and the judges spent the best part of a week reading the entries. They were incredibly impressed with all the children’s work – and suspected that many of the children may turn out to be the next generation of writers!
Some of the more memorable entries included: a Kung-fu panda meeting Jackie Chan; a penguin becoming prime Minister of Poland and solving unemployment; Sharon Osborne signing the zoo up to appear on X-Factor; animals going back to the wild; animals entering the zoo from the wild; penguins becoming nuns; nuns becoming penguins; chimps winning the lottery; penguins actually being super spies from Russia; and blind rhinos.
However, one story stood out from the crowd and that was by Holly Shutter from Moorlands Primary School in Huddersfield.
Holly, aged nine, expressed such a clear voice in her writing style that the judges were gripped from the start when they read ‘The Day I Ran the Zoo’. They also admired the way Holly could sustain a whole story in the first person narrative. The judges agreed the tone of the humour was just right, especially the line, ‘Can I just warn the lady in the cheap orange jumper…’! A real career as an observation writer in the making!
The two runners-up for this category are Catherine Caruth from Leweston Prep School in Dorset and Daniel Hudson from St Wystans School in Derbyshire.
Catherine, aged 11, wrote a moving and mature story about ‘The Little Hippo’ who tied balloons around his body so that he could float up to heaven and visit his father, who had recently died. The judges admired the way Catherine chose to write about a difficult topic – and still ended the story on a positive note.
The other runner-up, Daniel, adopted a wonderfully light-hearted approach when he wrote ‘Make your Mind up Jerry!’ The judges felt the story, about a giraffe who can’t decide what colour his spots should be, would make a wonderful picture book for young children. It really conjured up great visual images in the mind – and it’s quite clear now that giraffes shouldn’t go changing their spots!
The judges also commend the following children for their super stories:
- Nicholas Jones, a Year 6 child from King’s St Albans School in Worcestershire
- Ellen Hodgetts, another Year 6 child from King’s St Albans School in Worcestershire
- Safia Khan, aged nine, from Skellington St Lawrence Primary School in Lincoln
- Children in the Year 5 literacy set at Watton Junior School in Thetford
- Cressida Williams from Leweston Prep School in Dorset
- Paul Fredericks, aged ten, from Woodford Green Prep School
- Ellie Reidford, aged ten, from Markethill School in Aberdeenshire
- Victoria Brown, aged eight, from Hill House St Mary’s in Lincoln
- Cameron Thomson, aged 11, from Larkswood Primary School in London
- Poppy Atwell from Heatherton House School in Buckinghamshire
- Hannah Walker, aged nine, from St Edmund’s Catholic Primary in Surrey
- Katelyn Crooks, aged eight, from Ballycarrickmaddy Primary in Lisburn
- Alice Roberts from Hale Prep School in Cheshire
- Shivani Kotecha from Heatherton House School in Buckinghamshire
- James, a Year 4 child from Netherthorpe Primary School in Sheffield.
The Day I Ran the Zoo by Holly Shutter
Hi, I’m Emma. I’m 15 years old. Today’s my work experience. It’s at the zoo, I love animals. The colour of the zoo uniform – mustard – is disgusting! Oh well sacrifices have to be made! Another thing, I’m up for any challenge!
It’s through the staff entrance, I’ll get used to this! Now what first? Open the zoo? But staff should be here to do that, it’s so tempting! Let’s have a look around, a note?
“Dear Emma, we heard you were coming so we took a break! We’re in Ibiza! Good luck from the zookeepers. P. S. Open the zoo!”
Open the zoo, me? I go to the Control Room, here is my map, I’ll never forget this moment! I’ll sit on the big leather chair! This is the microphone to speak to the visitors, this is the lever to open the zoo! Well I must do it right and make an annoucement.
“Hello and welcome to the zoo. Have a lovely time and enjoy our animals.”
It looks like a school’s arrived. What are those nuns doing, hold on, one’s a penguin, who let it loose? Oh, the microphone,
“Excuse me, whoever let the penguins loose will be punished. So… STOP!!!!!!!!!”
What’s next? I’m seeing things, a tea party for chimpanzees! And that isn’t right; elephants scared of a few mice? I need to make an announcement,
“Stop this, the monkeys wont have got out themselves! And little girls should not be playing with crocodiles or lions! Thanks!”
They can’t take a hint because someone has let a hippo go up and away! On balloons!!! And isn’t that a… SHARK!!!! I really advise that boy to get off the hippo and run! And that boy should put the plug back in now!!! Things are getting worse!!!
Lunch – here’s my map and the cafe is on the second floor. Chocolate cake and coke. I’ve got it all around my face, well it was nice.
Back to work, what’s happened? A ninja panda in the trees; what did he learn those nifty moves? And why is there an optician in the rhino enclosure? Well I suppose it’s for the best. He might not be able to see his food.
There’s a boy in the gorilla enclosure and a gorilla in a pram. Maybe the mum got fed up and swapped them on purpose. I must warn her though.
“Can I just warn the lady in the cheap orange jumper that there is a gorilla in her pram and her son is in the gorilla enclosure, thanks.”
She looks angry. Anyway she’s got her son back so that’s fine, but she’s keeping the gorilla. What will her husband say? There’s also a painter who’s painting the giraffes red!
“Can the man wearing the blue helmet please stop painting the giraffes red and clean them up!”
Oh no, now it’s home time. I need to get everyone to go home. How shall I say this? I know!
“GET OUT OF MY ZOO!!!”
The Little Hippo By Catherine Caruth
It was a spring day at the zoo and because it was a Saturday it was very busy. But Little Hippo was sad because his dad has just died. “Don’t worry little hippo dad’s up in heaven” said his mum seeing that he looked upset.
“Heaven?” Said Little Hippo, where’s Heaven?
“Up in the sky” replied mother Hippo.
“Up in the sky?” said Little Hippo to himself. “I have an idea.” So he sneaked some balloons from the balloon man, tied some to his arm, stood on the top of the penguins iceberg and was just about to jump when…..
“No Little Hippo don’t jump were are you going?” shouted his mum.
But Little Hippo did jump and shouted “I am going to see Dad in heaven.” Before Little Hippo knew he was flying higher and higher up into the clouds.
After a while the wind started to get stronger and stronger. Little Hippo grew scared and shouted for his dad. “DAD, DAD where are you?” Just then he flew onto a cloud and landed with a puff. “Oh dear,” Little Hippo said.
But then he heard a noise it was a loud voice it said: “LITTLE HIPPO DON’T BE SAD. I AM STILL HERE WITH YOU BUT YOU CAN’T SEE ME”.
“Dad!?” Little Hippo said with surprise.
“YES LITTLE HIPPO”
“But dad I want to come and see you!”
“I’M SORRY LITTLE HIPPO YOU CAN’T. BUT I WILL ALWAYS BE WITH YOU.”
“Are you sure Dad?” said Little Hippo.
“COMPLETELY SURE,” said his dad. “NOW YOU MUST GO BACK TO YOUR MUM AND YOU CAN COME AND VISIT ME SOON.”
“I will Dad, see you soon. Goodbye”.
“GOODBYE LITTLE HIPPO!”
So Little Hippo jumped of the cloud and floated down with his balloons. He soon reached the ground and there was his mum waiting for him.
“Mum, mum,” cried Little Hippo. “I saw Dad. Well I heard him and he said he will always be with us but we can’t see him,” puffed Little Hippo!
“Well that’s just great” said his mum “I was awfully worried about you.”
“Oh you didn’t need to worry about me Mum,” said Little Hippo.
“But you do look awfully grubby come on lets give you a bath.”
“OK” said Little Hippo and started to tell her all about his adventure and how he came across a big wind and how he landed on a cloud.
Little Hippo had just finished his bath and came out looking much cleaner. “That’s much better,” said his mum. “Now I think you should go to bed. You must be awfully tired after your long trip.”
But Little Hippo did not have to be told twice for he was very tired and hopped straight into bed. Good night Little Hippo. “Oh!” said his mum in surprise “he’s fallen asleep already!”
‘Make your Mind up Jerry!’ by Daniel Hudson
One day Jerry, a giraffe at the zoo, thought, ‘I don’t like the colour of the spots on my skin, I want them to be a different colour, I want to surprise our visitors and make the little children laugh’. So he leaned down and asked the Zookeeper “Can you get somebody to paint my brown spots yellow please?” The Zookeeper was amused at this strange request. “Are you sure Jerry?” he asked. Jerry thought for a moment. “Yes, let’s have a go”. The Zookeeper phoned the local painting company and asked if their tallest painter would come to the zoo immediately and bring plenty of different coloured paints!
Shortly after a painter arrived. He was very small but he had a very long ladder! “So where is this giraffe you want me to paint?” he asked. The Zookeeper took the painter to Jerry. He began work straight away and climbed up to the top of the ladder to paint Jerry’s neck and climbed back down to paint Jerry’s feet.
When he had finished Jerry wandered out of the giraffe house and went to see his hippo friends. They fell about laughing. “You look like a big banana” they said. ‘Perhaps yellow is not my colour’ Jerry thought, and went to ask the painter to paint his spots red. “Make your mind up Jerry” said the painter and changed his spots to red.
When he had finished Jerry strode to see his panda friends. They fell about laughing. “You look like a big strawberry” they said. ‘Perhaps red is not my colour’ thought Jerry, and went to ask the painter to make his spots blue. “Make your mind up Jerry” said the painter and changed his spots to blue.
When he had finished Jerry dawdled out of the giraffe house and went to see his lion friends. They fell about laughing. “You look like a big grape” they said. ‘Perhaps blue is not my colour’ Jerry thought, and went to ask the painter to paint his spots orange. “Make your mind up Jerry” said the painter and changed his spots to orange.
When he had finished Jerry pounded out of the giraffe house and went to see his elephant friends. They fell about laughing. “You look like a big satsuma Jerry” they said. ‘Perhaps orange is not my colour’ Jerry thought , and went to ask the painter to make his spots brown. “Make your mind up Jerry” said the painter and changed his spots to brown.
When he had finished Jerry paced around the zoo park and nobody fell about laughing, everyone was friendly and just said “hi Jerry”.
When the painter had gone Jerry said to all the other animals “I think I’ll stick to being a brown spotted giraffe… for now anyway!”