Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August reviews from Albert Park

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon - reviewed by Hannah

Dory has a really big imagination but her older brother and sister think she is annoying because she asks a lot of dumb questions. They would like her to play with someone else and stop following them. Her brother and sister make up a person called Mrs Gobblegracker who is a witch but Dory thinks it is real. Dory believes that Mrs Gobblegracker wants to eat her up and Dory tries to kill her. Her brother and sister tell her that Mrs Gobblegracker is not real.

Rated:  3/5 - "It's too childish."

Little town on the prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder - reviewed by Miranda

This is part of the Little House series.

Laura and her family are pioneers from Wisconsin who go westwards. Laura is now 15 years old and still not married. Laura wants to become a teacher but she has to wait until she turns 16. She also wants to teach so she can help her younger sister Mary (who is blind) go to college in Iowa. The family experience extremely bad weather and blizzards and blackbirds eat their crops. She wants to teach to contribute to sending her sisters to school.

Rated:  Infinity out of 5! - "difficult to write about your own life if it is not in a diary. It's interesting and makes me want to be there."

Ratburger by David Walliams - reviewed by Zoe

It's about a girl, Zoe, who has a mean aunt that she lives with. Her dad is away a lot and he is poor. Her dad used to work in an ice cream factory but has lost his job. Zoe is also bullied at school by a mean girl.

She finds a rat that becomes her pet, but there is a man who catches rats and turns them into burgers. Her rat is captured by the burger man but Zoe and her dad save the rat. Also her step-mum has fallen in love with the burger man, but they both fall into the pulverising machine (which had been used for the rats). In the end her dad opens up his own ice-cream shop.

Rated:  3.75/5 - "Quite good but also kind of strange."

The BFG by Roald Dahl - reviewed by Flynn

This book was recently turned into a movie. It's about a Big Friendly Giant (BFG) who goes around at night and catches dreams - no one has ever seen him. Except one night Sophie is awake at the orphanage where she lives and sees the BFG walking around her street during the night while everyone else is asleep. The BFG catches her because no one is supposed to see him and takes her back to where he lives. He lives near nine other giants who eat humans and they want to capture Sophie.

Rated:  5/5 - "A good book, the giant was nice."

The Doldrums by Nicholas Gamon - reviewed by Georgia

Archer wants to travel around the world like his grandparents who were explorers, but his parents won't let him. It's because his grandparents went missing on an iceberg on one of their adventures. New neighbours move in and they are really mean and insult his grandparents and family history when they come over for a dinner party at his parents place. The new neighbours are also going to be teachers at Archer's school.

Rated:  5/5 - "I gave it 5/5 because it's very interesting and makes me want to keep reading."

Harry Potter and the cursed child by J.K. Rowling (parts 1 & 2) - reviewed by Leticia

This book is actually a play and is about Harry's son Albus. Albus now attends Hogwarts, where the sorting hat has sorted him into Slytherin (not like Harry who was in Gryffindor). He also becomes best friends with Draco Malfoy's son Scorpius (although there are rumours that he is really Voldemort's son because Malfoy and his wife couldn't have children).

Albus and Scorpius go back in time with a time-turner to save Cedric Diggory. But not all goes well as the future is changed and Voldemort rules and Hogwarts is a school for dark arts. Harry and the other adults have to find Albus and Scorpius and save them.

Rated:  5/5 - "It's a great story and there is a moral to it. And it's Harry Potter!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August reviews from St Kilda

White Fang by Jack London - reviewed by Spike

I really liked it. The start was actually, I think, written by somebody else. I thought that it was cool how it was from the wolf’s point of view. I really recommend it.

At the start, the book isn’t in the wolf’s perspective, but then when the wolf cub is born it shifts to him. As a cub he learns new things which is cool. They live in a cave and to him as a cub it seemed like a white wall of brightness. His father always disappears outside each day and he wonders where he goes. So he doesn’t know the world existing outside until he leaves the safety of the cave one day. At the end you go aw! It’s really nice.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "A really, really, really good book!"

Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes by Rick Riordan, from The Demigod Diaries - reviewed by Yuanquan

This is a 'side book' of The Gods of Olympus series, where Hermes, who is the messenger of the gods ,has to travel roads, cheeseburgers and speedster. He loses his Caduceus, which is his special staff, his symbol of hell. So he has to find it, and this giant who isn’t very giant called Cacus. He breathes fire.

They fight the giant and he is defeated because of the staff that has two snakes on it, which are George and Martha. They change the staff into a wicked bazooka rifle gun and they shoot the giant down; and Percy Jackson and Annabeth were just on their one month anniversary for their first kiss and he forgot, so in exchange for killing the giant, Hermes gives him a prize - they get teleported to this really posh restaurant and can have whatever they want and they have access to the Olympus Express til midnight, so they can go anywhere they want; and then Annabeth forgets their anniversary, even though she was the one who reminded Percy he had forgotten before the battle.

This is just one of the stories in this book which also includes The Diary of Luke Castellan and an interview with the staff snakes George and Martha. “50,000 reallys...”

Rated:  5/5 reallys

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan - reviewed by Yuanquan

**Spoilers! This is the final book in the first Percy Jackson series. Most of the book is this big battle defending Manhattan from these armies of bad guys. The main baddie focus is the empire state building because it is the entrance to Olympus.

In the beginning Percy starts off with this guy from the Hephaestus cabin because they’re all from Camp Half-Blood, which is a camp for children that are half boy half god heroes. So this guy named Beckendorf and Percy have to blow up the Princess Andromeda before it reaches Manhattan. They succeed but Beckendorf dies and then he sinks down into the ocean. He wakes up in his father Poseidon’s palace. The palace is being attacked by Oceanus the evil sea titan and his army of bad guys.

So then back in the normal world Dexter gets the sacred great prophecy which is, (well he stumbles over the first sentence and says “A half-blood of the eldest dogs”! instead of gods). It really goes:

“A half-blood of the eldest gods 
Shall reach sixteen against all odds 
And see the world in endless sleep 
The hero's soul, cursed blade shall reap 
A single choice shall end his days 
Olympus to preserve or raze” 

Then he must go with his friend Niko Angelo who is the son of Hades and bathe in the river Styx to get immortality. Then go to fight in Manhattan. The hunters of Artemis help them defeat the big bad. Then Chiron comes who is a centaur of heroes with a whole lot of Party Ponies (centaurs that party, they have paint ball). Together they fight the lord of the Titans, Titan of Time, Youngest of the Twelve Brothers (and most annoying). Kronos attacks Olympus, deciding to cut through everything, then it turns out that Luke, the annoying enemy and former friend is being possessed by Kronos. Kronos has been using his body. So then they fight Kronos with the cursed dagger - it's not actually Percy’s sword which is Anaklusmos (which changes into a pen) - Luke saves the day by getting himself in his weak Achille’s spot. Then the gods fly in, realising they haven’t done much. It looks like all will live happily ever after, (except for Luke of course) until the prophecy of seven is spoken:

 “Seven half-bloods shall answer the call, 
To storm or fire the world must fall. 
An oath to keep with a final breath, 
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.” 

Percy is an idiot in this book! He has the chance to become immortal and turns it down! Just because Annabeth looks at him sweetly.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "So awesome. Luke is the best."

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - reviewed by Ollie

Basically at the start this boy Percy has a normal life. He has ADHD and dyslexia. For the first six years of school he got kicked out every year. So he’s in his sixth year, and he gets kicked out again. Mrs Dodds, one of his teachers, tries to kill him. But professor Brunner throws him Anaklusmos, a sword disguised as a pen, and banishes her to the underworld.

After he gets kicked out he goes on his summer holidays and takes his stepdad’s car. He calls his stepdad “smelly Gabe”. Gabe is a poker player that treats everyone except his friends badly. So him and his mum go away in the car and he says “no scratches!”

Percy’s real father is one of the Big Three. One of the main gods born from Kronos. The three brothers, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. You find out his mum chose Gabe because of his pungent, masking smell. Percy’s half human half god blood means monsters can smell him from five miles away. Grover, Percy’s friend, who is a Satyr, a half-boy, half-goat goes on summer holidays with Percy. They meet on a stormy night at his holiday house.

Percy’s mother says it’s time for him to find out where he comes from. On the road they meet the minotaur. Half-man, half-bull. When Percy’s powers are revealed his mother is transported to the underworld and Percy and his friends Annabeth and Grover must try to get her back…

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "it's really, really good."

Emil and Karl by Yankev Glatshteyn - reviewed by Ruth 

This story is set during world war two. It’s about these two really close friends Emil and Karl. Emil is a Jew and Karl isn’t. And everyone is being really, really mean to Emil. And everyone who is not a Jew is being really, really mean to others Jews, like hitting them really badly. And the adults have taken Emil's and Karl’s parents away.

Later in the story it seems like everyone nice is taken away. All the nice people who are Jews or friends of Jews disappear.

The story begins when Karl’s mother is taken away. Karl goes to Emil’s house. Emil’s mother is crying. They go to sleep. There is a Rabbi who gets them to leave. Emil and Karl are then on the run. They go to the Janitor and the janitor’s wife - Joseph and Berta - they’re really kind and generous and look after them. The next day Karl wants some fresh air but Emil is really shy and Karl’s a bit braver. Finally Karl persuades him but when Emil wants to go back Karl says ‘Come on let’s just have a look at these shops” so they go and have a look and then there’s a man in uniform who takes them to a place filled with thousands of Jews and they have to scrub the pavement with their bare hands and it really hurts.

They escape back to their town. It takes them ten days. When they arrive Berta is upset because Joseph has been taken. I’m finding it okay, I haven’t finished it yet, I really want to know what happened in the end. It’s good. It’s not just about people fighting and blood. It’s also about two boys and their friendship.

Rated:  3.5/5 reallys - "It's a bit of a dark one."

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Latest competition winners - Winter 2016

Have you been hanging out to read the latest winning competition entries? Well here they are for your reading pleasure...

Category 1 : 7-8 years

Category 2 : 9-10 years
Category 3 : 11-14 years

The Tickle Monster in Fairy Land ... by Nina

One day Rose went to Grapesparkle's little house. As best fairy friends they had their backpacks all packed and they were all ready to go to the Forest of Frizz.

They waved goodbye to Grapesparkle's mum and off they flew to the Forest of Frizz.

Meanwhile there was this strange looking house with some windows and a door on a bush. The person who lived inside was...

The Tickle Monster, having his breakfast (which was a banana, his favourite fruit) and a cup of dandelion tea... yum, yum...

Rose Fairy and Grapesparkle Fairy arrived at the Forest of Frizz but then, oh no, it started to rain. But luckily Rose was prepared and brought an umbrella.

They walked through the forest and saw the Tickle Monster's house but they didn't know it was his house.

Suddenly the door opened. The Tickle Monster jumped out and said "tickle time" and started tickling the two fairies. They got a big surprise.

The Tickle Monster invited them inside for lunch.

The Tickle Monster served them bananas, blueberries and grapes, followed by radish and beetroot soup, but they didn't really know if they'd like it.

Rose tried hers with salt but it tasted disgusting because obviously fruit does not taste good with salt.

The Tickle Monster wanted to look smart so he put on his top hat. Rose had an idea to give the Tickle Monster a present, but what will it be? A picture of the Queen of the ABC's.

Then they went to the garden to pick some vegetables. The Tickle Monster with his smart top hat came out of the kitchen into the lounge room with some floaty fluff cakes for everyone.

Then they waved goodbye to the Tickle Monster and flew back home.

 The end.

Inside the tree ... by Etta

The moment the door shut Sarah cried out for help. She had been kidnapped by the wickedest bird, Gorgonzola. The bird was not really a bird. Sarah knew that because she could read minds. Gorgonzola was a witch and she always wore a top hat because it stored secret magic in it.

Before she was kidnapped, Sarah had been living with her Grandma, Alaska. Alaska was a witch, like Gorgonzola, and they were enemies. Gorgonzola wanted to capture Sarah because Sarah had a birthmark that could shoot out thousands of gold and silver coins when it was pressed.

One day Sarah was playing with her friends in the park near her little house. They were trying to catch rabbits. Sarah caught one and all of a sudden it turned into a fierce looking monster bird with a sharp beak that was so long it knocked over anything in its way. It was Gorgonzola. ‘Now I’ll be rich’, Gorgonzola screeched as she grabbed Sarah and dragged her towards a massive tree that was as fat as six elephants. Then she cackled:

Polka dolka partridge pie,
Let me in and say goodbye

At this the tree opened and Gorgonzola pushed Sarah inside.

Now she was locked inside Gorgonzola’s tree while every day Gorgonzola would go out. Inside, there was slime dripping down the walls. Sarah was kept in a jail along with 8 pixies. The pixies wore dirty ragged green clothes. There were 3 girl pixies with blond hair and 5 boy pixies with midnight black hair.

‘No one cares for us’, the girl pixies cried.

‘I do’, replied Sarah.

‘Really?’ they all said hopefully.

‘Yes, really’, Sarah said.

‘Can you help us?’ they asked excitedly, as they climbed onto Sarah’s shoulders.

‘How can I help you when you are in this tree jail and so am I?’ she whispered, knowing that Gorgonzola was somewhere in the darkness.

Suddenly, they heard a screech.

‘Hey’, a voice boomed.

‘Oh no’, the pixies whispered, ‘that must be Gorgonzola’. They jumped off Sarah’s shoulders and into the pockets of her skirt.

Sarah stood back a couple of steps. She saw Gorgonzola reach out for a leather boot that she always used to hit her prisoners with. Sarah did not run away or try to hide. She just stood still. The boot came down very fast and hit her on her cheek.

‘That will teach you a lesson’, Gorgonzola squawked, as she walked away.

Sarah started to cry. One of the boy pixies started to comfort her, and then all the others joined him.

‘How can we escape? How can we go home?’ Sarah asked, as tears sprouted from her eyes.

The pixies sighed, ‘There is only one solution. We must dig a hole’.

‘But why haven’t you tried that already?’ asked Sarah.

‘Because we were waiting for a human to come and help us’, they replied.

‘But we have nothing to dig a tunnel with’, said Sarah.

They thought for a long while. They thought they could use shovels, forks or spoons but they had none of these. One of the girl pixies picked up Sarah’s hair clip, which had fallen onto the ground.

She said excitedly, ‘I have an idea. We could use the hair clip to dig!’

All the other pixies nodded in agreement and Sarah started to dig straight away.

Sarah and the pixies took turns digging until they were so exhausted they could hardly breathe.

Outside in the moonlight the trees rustled. How Sarah longed to go back to her Grandma’s house!

But the tunnel was only one meter long. Sarah was just about to give up when a baby wombat popped his head out of the dirt. He was soft and cuddly. He looked like he had just been born. Sarah stared at him as he said, ‘My name is Brownie. What’s yours?’

‘My name is Sarah. A terrible witch called Gorgonzola kidnapped me and trapped me in a tree and now we are digging a tunnel to get to freedom.’

‘I can help you dig the tunnel’, squealed Brownie.

‘That would be the best thing ever!!’ Sarah and the pixies yelled cheerfully.

Brownie stretched out his paws and began digging. The faster he dug the more excited Sarah and the pixies became.  Finally, Brownie dug far enough until they saw a speck of light. Sarah squealed with delight and the pixies jumped with joy. They climbed up towards the light and took a deep breath of the glorious fresh air.

But Gorgonzola had heard them. She screeched, waving her hands in the air, and she ran after them. Sarah screamed and picked Brownie up and the pixies ran up her leg and into her pockets.  The wild chase began.

Gorgonzola slipped and hit a tree. She screamed and pulled a ribbon out of her top hat that could make her run faster than a cheetah, but Sarah had read her mind.

She knew up ahead was her neighbour’s garden - the grass was the same colour as her dress which was yellow. She kept running until she reached the garden and hid in the grass. Gorgonzola ran past her.

When she saw that Gorgonzola was gone, Sarah stood up and slowly walked towards her Grandma’s little cottage. She found her Grandma sitting on the porch crying.

‘Surprise’, Sarah yelled, as she jumped into her Grandma’s arms.

Her Grandma reached out and hugged her tightly and said ‘I’m so glad to see you, where have you been?’

The Library Book ... by Ruth

Tessa and Ruby were close friends for a long time. In fact, they're still friends. Their friendship began when the girls were in their third year at Scarlett Primary School and now Tessa is the school's librarian and one of two principals. The other principal is Ruby, who is also a wonderful teacher.

One day, Tessa got a student teacher Cassy, but Cassy wasn't into returning books, scanning books and talking about books. In fact, she was really shy and more interested in drawing than reading. She was so good at drawing that she was legendary at Scarlett Primary School. She was so good that when the library was open at lunchtime, everyone would come and draw on their notebooks while they watched Cassy doodling. She was so good, that the sketch pads that Cassy and the children used were official library books.

One sunny school day, while Cassy was showing the kids how to sketch a scarecrow, Ruby glanced over at one of the girl’s drawings of a scarecrow wearing a top hat. This girl’s name was Roxie, and her scarecrow was surrounded by a garden filled with glorious vegetables and flowers. The lovable scarecrow looked more real than a drawing, more real than a painting, more real than a photo, more real than a video... REAL!

The scarecrow was alive! It was the exact same one as the girl Roxie drew! Everyone stared and gasped. Instead of being a kind scarecrow, slapping high fives and telling jokes, he shoved display racks down and yelled swear words. In short, he was a monster.

Roxie hurriedly flipped through her notebook to get as far as she could from the page with the offensive scarecrow on it. She turned to a new page just then and a tiny prep kid's scribble leaped off the page and roared like a dinosaur while rudely chewing up books. And on another page, when Cassy's drawing of an adorable panda left the page and got patted; the kid who was patting got scratched and a fountain of blood poured out of his arm.

To everyone's surprise, Cassy cautioned: “This notebook must be haunted! The haunting happens annually. The drawings have the same qualities as the illustrators' imaginations except that they are evil. To stop this madness you have to get in that book and burn it. To get into the book you just have to put your hands and a pencil on the page you want to go in and imagine being in the book.” Roxie, Tessa, Ruby and Cassy each put a pencil on a page in one of the notebooks, closed their eyes and imagined being in the book. Suddenly they were in a beautiful garden with a T-shaped post in the middle. Then Ruby realised that they were in the notebook.

Cassy went to the end of the garden and pointed to the last flower that no one could see behind. “Come over here and push,” she said. The others puzzled over that command but soon they came over to the end of the garden (where they could just see the flower and swirling blackness) and pushed.

Suddenly, they were in a new double page. Half of it formerly had the scribble dinosaur but it was now blank. And the other half had a rushing waterfall, which had been occupied by Cassy’s panda. Roxy took off her shoes and socks then rushed to the waterfall and started to wade in it. “No, don’t do that, unless you want to leave your shoes and socks behind, of course,” warned Cassy. Then Tessa yelled, “Follow me!” and leapt across some stepping stones that no one else had noticed before.

On the next page, there was a little house, which was the illustrator’s dream home. Instead of a roof, the house had a painted rainbow as well as some grass painted at the bottom of it. They walked inside the house and looked at the bathroom, the lounge room and the bedrooms. Just as the girls were leaving, Cassy said, “The inside of this house is just pure imagination.” And then she asked, “Are you ready to leave this world?” The others said, “Yes.” The student teacher fished a matchbox out of her pocket and grabbed a matchstick. She lit the match and then pressed it on the page.

Suddenly, they were back in the library. The scarecrow, the scribble dinosaur and the panda had vanished. And the notebook had turned into a blank sheet of paper. Tessa scrunched up the page and put it in the bin. Everything was back to normal. Ruby thought Cassy would make a great art teacher, but Tessa thought she would make a great librarian since she was not so shy and she had shown that she could be bold and brave at the right time

The Mysterious Box ... by Agnes

“Henry, can you go to the shops to get some milk please?” Mrs Ivanhoe said to her son Henry. Henry got up from his warm comfortable seat and stepped out into the cold wintry streets of London. His family had moved there from Melbourne, Australia. Henry hated it there. It was cold, dreary and miserable. Henry walked up to the local shops and went down the “milk” aisle. Suddenly a strange man in a big top hat walked past. What a strange man, even weird for London Henry thought. Curious, Henry followed the strange man to a little house. “What are you doin’ in these parts of London lad?” Henry turned around surprised to find an old man facing him. “Um, well I was just curious of that man that just entered that house over there” Henry said while pointing to the little house. “Ahh, young Mr Jenkins, strange lad always wearin’ that top hat of his. I’d get goin if I was you. Don’t want to be hangin’ around these parts at this time of day”

“Where’ve you been Henry? Your father and I have been worried sick” exclaimed Mrs Ivanhoe at the dinner table. Henry was so lost in thought he didn’t even blink. “It’s no use Kelly” Mr Ivanhoe sighed. That night Henry tossed and turned in bed. Who is this Mr Jenkins? Why does he always wear that silly top hat? WHY! “I must investigate tomorrow morning” Henry told himself.

The next morning Henry went to the shops and waited for Mr Jenkins to walk past the “milk” aisle. Finally after waiting for what seemed like forever, the strange man walked past. This must be a daily thing Henry thought. He followed the man to the same house, except this time Henry waited in his garden and looked through the only window of the house. Mr Jenkins had walked in the small room which Henry assumed was the kitchen and dialled a number on the old fashioned telephone “Yes, I have the boy... of course he’s right in the garden... yes, and eavesdropping” the strange man said into the phone. “Surprise!”BANG! Henry felt a heavy object fall on his head, and lay on the garden bed unconscious.

Henry woke up to find himself sitting on a rickety old chair in a little room, bound by ropes. “Hello?” Henry yelled helplessly. Henry yelled and yelled but no one came. He had to find a way to get out of this chair and escape from this place, wherever it was. Henry used all his strength to unbind the ropes but couldn’t quite do it, “It’s no use I’m going to be stuck here forever.” He sighed. Suddenly Henry heard big footsteps outside his door. A squat man walked in and glared at Henry. “Tell me what you know and I’ll let you go” is all he said. Henry gulped. “Know about what? I don’t know what you’re talking about sir”, Henry said honestly. “HAHAHA, very funny, don’t play dumb kid, I know you want the box” The man laughed. What box? Henry was really confused. He had no idea what the man was talking about. After a while Henry thought of a great idea, he would pretend to act all guilty and pretend that he was planning to steal the box and he’d be let go. “You’re right sir, I was planning to steal the box. You caught me red handed”, Henry said with a mournful look on his face. The man looked at him suspiciously and slowly untied the ropes around Henry’s wrist. The man dragged Henry down a steep set of stairs and said “Mr. Jenkins and I have our eyes on you” and with that slammed the door.

Henry walked the long walk home and got a lecture about sneaking off. He needed to know more about this box and why it was so special.  Henry decided that the next morning before school he would follow Mr. Jenkins to his little house and search for the box in the garden and if he couldn’t find it there, in Mr. Jenkins house.

“Here I am in the supermarket again” Henry said quietly. “Henry, what are you doing here?” Henry spun around to find Mia, one of his classmates at school. “Uh, I was just getting some milk for my mum.” He quickly grabbed some milk and pretended to walk up to the counter and as soon as he got there he snuck back down a different aisle. Henry waited for Mia to go and continued hiding in the milk aisle. About 5 minutes later Mr. Jenkins walked past and Henry followed him, more cautiously this time. He sneaked into his garden and started to search for the box “Nothing here”, Henry sighed. Henry decided to wait for Mr. Jenkins to leave his house.  He would sneak in through a window and if he’s lucky Mr. Jenkins might leave the door open. Finally Mr. Jenkins left, but unfortunately didn’t leave the door open or unlocked, so Henry walked around the house and found a slightly opened just open enough for him to crawl through. He quietly crept along the hallway into what he assumed was Mr. Jenkins’ bedroom. Henry raided all the drawers, but found no information about the box or the actual box. Next he looked in the lounge room and found a piece of paper saying ‘up, up, left’. It must be a clue of some sort Henry thought. He put the note in his pocket for safe keeping and searched for more clues but had no luck. CLICK! Oh no Mr. Jenkins was back. Henry had to hide. He quickly slid under the couch and hoped he wouldn’t get caught. RING! RING! Mr. Jenkins picked up his old telephone and answered. “Hello... You what?!... Yes! I heard you... I told you to keep him locked up until I came... YOU ‘forgot’ well you’re fired! ...Yes fired, good day.” Mr. Jenkins dropped the phone fuming and muttering curse words under his breath. How was Henry going to get out of this mess? Finally he had his chance when Mr. Jenkins went into another room. Henry snuck over to the door and quietly snuck out. “I’m glad I got SOMETHING out of that” Henry sighed.

Henry quickly hurried to catch the bus to the station closest to his school. Luckily Henry had only spent around 40 minutes inside Mr. Jenkins house. He’d only be a bit late for school. The bus finally came and Henry rushed over from the stop to school. Mrs. Dashby, his teacher, wasn’t going to be happy with Henry.

After school Henry took the bus to the town Mr. Jenkins lived in and had another quick look in the garden. This time he found an old shoe, a beer cap and lots of other pieces of junk. Suddenly Henry heard big footsteps walking into Mr. Jenkins home. Henry wondered who it was. It couldn’t be that other man he encountered earlier, he was fired. Mr. Jenkins is obviously finding a worthy companion to do all his dirty work. Henry tried eavesdropping on the conversation but couldn’t hear a word, although he did hear one word that the other man said “monster”.  But could it possibly have anything to do with the box? Henry had to find out and he had an idea that just might work.

Henry waited outside the little house in a disguise. He had dressed up in his father’s clothes, which just fitted Henry since he was abnormally tall for his age. He was waiting for Mr. Jenkins to greet him and take him inside. The door opened and Mr. Jenkins appeared in his familiar top hat and suit. “Hello sir, I’m assuming you’re Elliot. I’m Mr. Jenkins, hosting the interviews”. Henry merely nodded so Mr. Jenkins wouldn’t recognise his voice. Henry stepped inside the house and asked where the bathroom was. Mr. Jenkins answered ‘up, up, left’. The exact same words as on the note. It must be where the next clue is Henry thought. He climbed up the two storeys of stairs and turned left into the bathroom. Henry searched through the drawers but had no luck, and had to leave before it got too suspicious. Just as he was about to leave the bathroom he caught a glimpse of something in the corner of his eye. Another piece of paper that said ‘locked inside a cupboard’. The note was obviously talking about the box so Henry pocketed it and rushed downstairs. Henry apologised for his inconvenience and continued the interview hoping to get some information about the box.

Unfortunately Mr. Jenkins only went through the rules and what kind of person he was looking for.
Henry had finally memorised the way to Mr. Jenkins house from the shops and it actually wasn’t that hard to remember. There was one problem though. Mr. Jenkins wanted Henry to be his companion. That was why he was there. The good news was he was minding the house for Mr. Jenkins, so he could look for that locked cupboard, but only if Mr. Jenkins left the keys with Henry. “Come in Elliot, I shall give you a tour since you’re new”, Said Mr. Jenkins gesturing towards the door. Henry walked in and went on a tour of the house. When the tour was over he realised that Mr. Jenkins had forgotten one room. “Excuse me sir, I was just wondering what that room over there leads to?” Henry said in his best manly voice pointing towards the mysterious room. Mr. Jenkins reply was that it was strictly out of bounds and even Henry couldn’t go inside. That must be where the box is Henry thought. Mr. Jenkins handed Henry the keys and left the house. Henry straight away went upstairs to the locked room and tested all the keys. He had no luck, but there was one key left. “Let’s hope this works”. Henry closed his eyes... it fits! Henry twisted the key, opened the door and walked inside. He couldn’t believe he was this close to finding the box. Henry looked around the room for a cupboard and found one at the far end of the room. If he went on his tip-toes he would just be able to reach it. Henry found an old rusty key on the key ring that Mr. Jenkins had given him and thought it must be the key that opened the cupboard. Henry tested it out and the cupboard door wouldn’t budge. Just as he was about to give up, the cupboard gave way. Inside was a big old box .Henry took it out of the cupboard and tried a key that was different from all the others. It was a big old-fashioned one, like one out of a fairytale. The box unlocked. Henry gasped, the thing inside the box was absolutely beautiful and old with age. It was Michelangelo’s ‘David’ bust, one of the most famous sculptures in the world. Henry wondered if it was the original. A sudden thought came into Henry’s mind. This is the ‘missing’ sculpture that everyone was talking about. He had to return it to the museum. Henry rushed out of the house with the bust and the box.

Henry caught the bus to the museum and rushed inside just before it closed. He ran to the reception desk and asked to speak to the owner of the museum. “It’s very important”, Henry said. The receptionist immediately called for the owner. The owner entered the room and walked calmly with two body guards behind him. Henry explained the very long story and showed the owner the box and opened it. The owner thanked Henry very much and the next day Henry was all over the news and on TV. Mr. Jenkins was arrested and sent to court, and everything was the way it should be.

Michaelangelo's "David" bust

Hide and seek ... by Wei Li

I pulled up by a broken little house. I opened my car door and stepped out, immediately greeted by a chilling wind. I paused for a moment and looked around carefully. The sun had just dipped below the horizon, depriving me of its warmth.

Pulling my coat a little tighter around me, I tried to ignore the shadows that were darting between the trees. Somewhere in the distance dogs barked wildly, as if warning away something dangerous.

There was a gravelly path leading up to the house lined with dying weeds, probably the neglected garden. I slowly walked up towards it and pushed the rusty gate aside. A smashed in mailbox displayed the number one and two-thirds of a cracked three. I pulled the crumpled piece of paper out of my pocket and checked the address once again, scowling as the howling wind snatched it away. Shivering slightly, I reached my hand out to twist the doorknob.

My heartbeat thumped at a steady pace, pulsing against my chest. My fingers were less than centimetres away from the door -

“Ion!” An excited voice said, throwing the door open.

I nearly jumped backward with shock. “Geez, Damion! Don’t give your guests heart attacks! It is pretty rude.”

Damion shrugged, rolling his eyes. “Sorry to ruin your moment, Ion. I knew you always had wanted to be in a ‘haunted’ house…”

“Come on, man! Let me in already!”

Damion grinned and stepped aside. The moment I walked in I was greeted by a chorus of voices, previously blocked by the soundproof walls. I laughed madly at my ignorance and picked up a soda can, popping open the tab. Everyone was dancing, laughing, chatting or doing all those things at once.

I was so lost in watching the party goers that I got startled by a hand that clapped my shoulder. “Nice hat there, Ion! You’re like the only person who went that far!” He gestured at my head while shaking his own. “Wow, that is just pure Sherlock.”

I looked at his outfit, which was just a grey jacket over another bland grey shirt. Tilting my head to the side I took my top hat off and placed it, lopsided, on his head. “Now you can match the theme of this party.” After a thoughtful moment I grabbed my hat back and placed it back it on my own head.

I walked on and searched for the host, Damion. The food was good but I wanted something more, something to do with the theme of the party. Soon enough, I found him lounging on the couch, trying to fix his monocle. He looked absolutely ridiculous.

“Hey, Damion,” I drawled, making my first word nice and long. “What’re you doin’? Other than getting tangled in your costume.”

Damion looked annoyed. “I-I’m resting.”

“Well, are we going to do something more interesting? Something more…Sherlocky?

The host of the party looked up at me, without moving his head. “I don’t think ‘Sherlocky’ is a word,” he paused for a second and when he spoke his voice was deeper. “We’re going to play a game.”

The way he said ‘game’ was really creeping me out.

A few minutes later he stopped the music and called out over the chattering of the couple dozen people. Damion spread his arms out wide, in an attempt to quiet his guests. “As you probably already know, this party wasn’t just to meet up with you guys after my years of being abroad and sit around talking, no, we’re going to play a game. Surprise!” Damion grabbed a bag which rustled with the sound of paper rubbing together. “This game combines mystery with one of your favourite childhood games: hide and seek.”

I had to supress a little girlish shriek. Damion knew that my favourite kid game was hide and seek.

“In this bag there are twenty-three pieces of paper which are blank. This bag also contains one piece of paper which has the word ‘murderer’ written on it. You must keep the contents of your piece of paper to yourself. When the lights go out the murderer can start ‘murdering’ people. If the murderer tags you and whispers ‘You’re dead’ in your ear, you lie on the ground.”

This game’s rules were starting to get a little unnerving.

“If you find someone who is ‘dead’ you call out ‘I found a dead body!’ and the lights will go back on. Everyone will then come back here and we’ll have to guess who the murderer was.” He then started to open the bag, then stopped. “Also, the only things you can say are ‘You’re dead’ and ‘I found a dead body’. No murdering someone if you’re not the murderer. So basically, no cheating, I will know if you cheat. Oh, and we’re going to go to the three floor house behind this little house-shack.”

I turned around to see other people’s expressions. Some were mildly excited, some were bored, but surprisingly, there were none who were even remotely fearful. I shook my thoughts away.

Why should I be scared of a normal, childish game?

All the people in the house reached into the bag to select a piece of paper, even Damion. When I looked at mine my heart lifted slightly, only a little. At least I knew how to hide.

We all followed Damion out the door and around the back of the small house.

Outside, the moon shone with a dim silvery glow, which cast shadows everywhere I looked. My top hat’s shadow looked all warped and bent on the gravelly surface of the path. The shrivelled garden plants were like ghostly fingers, scrabbling for handholds on my pant-leg. Accompanied with the spikey dead grass on the steep hill we walked on and my extremely thin pants it was so very irritating. Irritating enough to almost take my mind off the monstrous house in front of me. Almost.

The house looked like a hungry beast, a monster which waited for its victims to walk into its mouth. The paint was left to peel and fall off the rotting wooden walls. Tall, curtained windows seemed like half-lidded eyes, staring intently at me.

I walked briskly to the back of the group, where Damion was. I turned my head towards him, keeping my eyes on the house. “Uh, Damion, my man. How exactly did you find this house? Why is there nobody here? Are you sure this isn’t illegal? What is this place anyways?”

“Hush, child,” Damion said in a mocking voice. “This place is totally fine. It’s fine.” He pat my back with a suddenly icy cold hand. “It’s fine.”

Our ‘party’ group reached the door to the menacing house and waited for Damion to come forth. Then our host opened the door. I noted that the room we were in was fully illuminated already. We all gathered in front of him, everyone but me with excited grins on their faces.

Damion then faced us all. Smiling, he placed a readied hand on the rusted light switch. “Let’s play.”

Then all went black.

Stumbling around in the darkness as I tried to avoid everyone else’s trampling feet. I placed my hands in front of me, attempting to find my way in the near blackness. Crazed footsteps and panicked breathing filled my ears. But the most prominent sound was the emptiness of voices.

I knew the ‘murderer’ was out there, I knew that I was lost in the dark, and I knew I couldn’t ditch the party without Damion finding out. He was a demon.

I opened my mouth to yell for Damion to stop this stupid game, but my throat was dry and raw. Confused, I tried again. No sounds. I clawed at my neck, desperately trying to get my voice out.

Two sets of pounding footsteps sounded behind me, awakening me from my frozen, flustered state. Leaping out of the corner I was in, I ran, careful to not make any too obvious sounds. I could’ve sworn my heart was the loudest thing in the room.

My hands felt a doorway and I threw myself in to the room. I froze with my back pressed against the icy cold wall and held my breath. The footsteps behind me ceased and I heard a little gurgle.

Then came a barely audible whisper which I strained to hear. I felt a chill when I heard a thud of something soft against wood. “You’re dead.”

I would’ve screamed if I had my voice. The murderer disappeared, leaving their victim behind. Cautiously, and with shaking hands, I approached the person on the ground. My fingers poked their skin. Cold.

They were gone.

I was horrified at the person in front of me. “I f-found a,” I cleared my throat, “I found a d-dead body.”

My eyes stung and I shielded them with my still shaking hands. Harsh, white lights shot on, illuminating the paling person in front of me.

The Demon Monster ... by Bella

CRACK! I woke with a start. Lightning was flashing outside and the thunder boomed. Another storm, I thought.

I have always hated storms. They are always so loud. I snuggled back down into the covers and tried to go back to sleep… I was staying at my Grandad's house which was situated on a lake at the edge of the woods. The wind blew tree shadows all over the walls which were quite eerie.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. I checked my alarm clock. 3 AM! Who could be up at this hour?! I was hoping Grandad would hear and answer it, so I waited a few minutes to see if they would go. The knocks got louder, but granddad did not wake up. I groaned and got out of bed. I desperately wanted to go back to sleep. When I opened the door I noticed three strange things straight away:
1. A man wearing a top hat stood in the doorway;
2. There was a long silvery-grey car parked outside that looked like a hearse;
3. Top Hat guy was wearing a badge that read: ‘Beast Control’.
The name ‘Beast Control’ got me curious. Top Hat guy was the first to speak.

"Hello Miss. My name is Clarence. I’m here because I have been notified of sightings of a big shadow lurking around this house after dark."

This sent chills down my spine.

"Soooo…. Let me get this straight,” I said cautiously. “You’re telling me, that there is some kind of MONSTER lurking around our house?!”

“Yes. I am afraid so miss”. We had been talking quite loudly, and Grandad had woken up.

“What’s going on here?” boomed Grandad as he came down the stairs. “Milla...” he said in his stern voice, “I have told you not to open the door to strange people!”

“But Grandad, he said people have spotted something lurking around our house after dark!”

Grandad scowled. He hated getting up really early in the morning. He told me to go upstairs immediately. From my room I could still hear Grandad and Clarence talking and I could just make out what they were saying.

“Sir, please listen! What the young girl said is true!” Clarence cried. “Its 3am! And I do not believe in Monsters! Your people must have spotted an animal that lives in the wood. Now Go!”

I heard the door slam and watched him cross the garden to his car. As I watched the car drive off into the distance, I noticed a strangely shaped envelope lying on my desk. It had my name written on the front in very elegant writing. I tore it open and read the letter:

Dear Milla, 
Meet me at the mansion at the edge of the woods. 
Be there at midnight.

The next night I went to the old mansion at midnight like the letter said. It was a full moon tonight, so I could see where I was going. Three stories tall, strange for a house near a lake… I thought.

It moaned and groaned and creaked with age. As I climbed the porch stairs to the door, I had the strangest sense I was being watched.

Then I saw it. Twice the size of a full grown man, hairy, smelly, horns and spikes along its great big tail.

I wanted to run. I wanted to scream. But I was rooted to the spot and my throat was dry.

The monster roared. I screamed. I turned to run.

Bonk! I had forgotten to open the door! I fell to the ground just as the monster swiped where I was standing with his big sharp claws. I scrambled to my feet and sped off as fast as my legs would carry me. The monster ran after me. I tripped over a stone and grazed my knee. Whimpering I crawled backwards.

Suddenly, the door opened and someone shone a torch out at the monster. The beast roared and staggered backwards trying to block the blinding light. Quick as a flash I rolled out of the way and tripped the monster. It fell back with a roar and knocked its head on the way down, making it unconscious.

Whoever it was aimed the torch onto the creature. Now that the light was out of my eyes, I could see that it was Clarence.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“Sorta” I replied pointing to my injured knee. He helped me inside and put a bandage on my leg to stop the bleeding.

“Stupid idea to wear shorts” I thought out loud.

“I have to agree with you there” said Clarence. “It’s quite cold too what exactly were you thinking when you put on shorts?” My face flushed with embarrassment.

“Uuugghhh, I guess I was really excited” I replied nervously.

“Well I’d better get that monster tied up before it comes too” said Clarence.

But when we turned around, the beast was gone.

“Drat!” he said. Shining the torch on the path we found that the creature had left foot prints. Clarence looked at me and said “Let’s go!” He grabbed the rope from his bag and we were off.

After an hour or so we were a little disheartened because we still hadn’t caught up to the monster. You could hear wolves howling in the distance and it was quite scary.

Finally we caught up to the monster. “Hmm… probably heading back to its den” I whispered.

Around 10 mins later we found the monster about to enter a cave. Quick as lightning Clarence lassoed the rope around the monster, putting it off balance and it toppled to the ground, knocking itself yet unconscious again!

“Yes!!” I yelled punching the air, but Clarence told me to be quiet as we could be found, there might be others. We hauled the monster back to the mansion and tied it to a chair.

“Milla, I need to make a call. If it wakes up hit it with this pan” Clarence said.

“Sure... ok” I said cheerfully. I don’t know why but I kind of liked the idea of hitting the monster with a frying pan, just like in the movies.

“Thanks” he said and walked outside.

The monster woke up that very moment. And I went crazy! Bang! Bang! Bang!

“Woah! Settle down we don’t want to kill it!” said Clarence as he rushed back in.

“Ooops… my bad!” I said with a guilty smile.

Half an hour later, an old gypsy woman came in.

“Where is it?” she croaked. I showed her into the living room where the beast was tied up.

The old woman drew a circle around the chair with chalk and waved her hands muttering lots of strange incantations. When she was done, she turned and spoke to Clarence:

“It was a demon sent from hell. You must take the body to the little house at the end of the street and bury it deep in the garden… and Milla,” she said turning her head 180 degrees toward me, “you must never tell anyone about this. Swear it.” I crossed my heart, freaking out because she had done the impossible with her head!

“Good,” she said nodding, then her head turned back to Clarence. I shivered at the sight of it!

She nodded and smiled. “My work here is done. Now you two do the rest”.

She clapped 3 times and disappeared into the night.

I was so tired, I can’t remember going to the end of the street or doing anything else but going to bed.

The next day, I woke up thinking the nights events had to be a dream. My alarm clock read 2:15 pm!

“It’s past midday!” I cried out loud.

“Yes it is! Milla come downstairs. I have a surprise for you!” Grandad said.

Suddenly a loud noise startled me.


“A DOG!?” I cried racing down the stairs. “You got me a puppy?? “

“Yup… sort of” he said with an ear-splitting grin. “I found it on the doorstep when I woke up this morning!”

I hugged the dog so hard and it leapt up on me and gave me a slobbery kiss. As it wagged its tail excitedly, I noticed that it had a few little spikes on it… reminding me of the monster’s tail…