The winner of our category for 7-9 year olds was Rose Judson with her story A Hand Full of Daisies. Our judge, author and artist Lotte Wotherspoon, was impressed with Rose’s grasp of narrative and liked the way the story uses water to move from the idyllic to the horrific.
A Hand Full of Daisies, by Rose Judson
Once in a land full of rose bushes and pretty cottages was a girl who had always wanted to explore the great seas. However, her father was strict and didn’t let her go further than the river across the meadows.
One morning, when Sophie was in bed, she heard her father shouting “Come down to the kitchen and make some breakfast!’
Sophie got out of bed and slowly opened her creamy white curtains. She gazed out into the dark woods. The trees all swayed in the wind. They looked like witches’ broomsticks pressed in to the ground.
Sophie slowly dragged herself down the hallway and into the kitchen, and made herself some porridge.
“Father…” Sophie said “…why can’t I….”
“I hope you’re not talking about the sea because you know the answer” he interrupted. She sighed and carried on with eating. After her breakfast, she went out onto the field. She would usually take a hand full of daisies and throw them around the field, but today she didn’t. She just got her sketchbook out and sketched the pearly-pink waterlilies floating on the pond. As she was sketching she noticed some thin logs by the river. They gave her a brilliant idea.
The next day she cut some flax from the bushes by the river. “I can use that to weave onto the logs” she thought.
Finally, a week or so went by. She had finished the raft. She carefully hopped onto it and floated gently down the lake. It was so peaceful she accidentally dozed off.
Ten minutes passed. Sophie’s eyes snapped open. She found herself stranded on the side of the river. As she sat there, she heard faint flute music. Every step she took it grew louder. She could see a boy with golden blonde hair, crouched up, leaning onto a tree. He was playing a flute. She stood there, just listening to him.
Suddenly she saw a flash of green eyes, looking at her. She felt like running back home but she couldn’t move an inch. He raised his eye-brows as if he had never seen another person before. “What are you doing here?” he whispered underneath his breath.
“Nothing” Sophie said shyly. Then she blurted out that she wanted to explore the sea but her father wouldn’t let her so she had decided to explore down by the river.
“I could take you” he said, “but it’s a long way away… and plus, the Germans will be here soon, dropping bombs over our town”
“Oh” she said disappointedly. “My father never tells me news about anything. I’d better be going home, but I’ll meet you here tomorrow morning” she said.
She ran home and crept into bed. The next morning, she woke up excited. She ran across the meadow, but when she got to the river she heard people screaming “Help! Help! They’re here! The bombs are dropping!” she remembered the boy had said the Germans would be coming soon but she was determined to see the ocean.
She got to the same tree where she had seen the boy. He wasn’t there. She tried to run back to her home but it was no use, she couldn’t find the way back. She heard people screaming and the sound of foot-steps in the forest. She couldn’t see people through the trees but she could hear the screams. She felt like curling up and weeping. She thought it would be the end of her life.
In second place is Milly Oxley, with Twins. Lotte Wotherspoon thought this was a very sophisticated story.
Twins, by Milly Oxley
The monstrous waves crashed against the jagged rocks, as the sun set over
Horseshoe Bay. The Thompson family sat on the beach eating fish for dinner. Mr
and Mrs Thompson lay down on a striped towel reading, Mary was 9 and she was
out on the water having a swim, while young Sam played in the wet sand building
Mary longed to be in her bed drawing with her beloved pencils, but no. She was
dragged out of the house to come down to the beach. That's when she saw
something in the distance... it was a little island. Upon it stood a single, lonely tree.
She swam out to the distant island and collapsed then dragged herself onto the
shore. She explored a bit and saw a few brightly coloured birds along with some
tender, juicy raspberries.
In the roots of the tree was a glass bottle wedged into the dirt, and as Mary dug it
up she found a message on drenched paper. It read
Like a washing machine you'll be
Go around the other side and you will find me
“Go around the other side of what?” she thought. It must be go around the other side
of this Island, so around the steep cliffs of this small island she went. As she went
she found a old row boat. In she climbed and she was off.
After about five minutes of rowing a sudden doubt filled her head, What about
her family at Horseshoe Bay, probably worried sick, but her inner wild took over and
she shook that feeling off and continued rowing. Up ahead a bigger island came into
view. As she landed it was already night, she needed rest so she would have to
“It can't be that bad” she thought to herself, “I mean people on the street do it all
the time”. But boy she was wrong. Once she found a particularly big leaf and the
most smooth rock she could find she hit the hay. In the morning her whole body
ached as she stood up.
She felt homesick, and wanted to go back but couldn’t as the row boat must of
drifted of in the night, so there was nothing else to do but explore. Up the ledge side
she climbed the cold wind wisped against her freezing body. She was still wearing
her togs but luckily she her wetsuit helped. On she climbed, determined to reach the
top as the rocks tumbled down below her.
She fell into a heap at the top of the mountain. It started to rain and thunder. Mary
hid under a leaf and cradled herself in her arms. She must have sat there for an hour
before the storm finally passed. Out of nowhere a shadow loomed over her. A girl
who looked identical stared back at her. It was like looking in a mirror. Her eye
twinkled and her hair blew across her face. She had ragged clothes and looked like
she had been here for quite a while now. Mary was so shocked that she didn’t say a
“I’m Mary’, the other girl said. “Who are you?”
And in third place is The Rhino’s Bath by Janek Wakuluk. Our judge loved the humour of this entry.
The Rhino’s Bath, by Janek Wakuluk
A rhinoceros is sitting next to a waterhole, and he is very smelly. All the animals are avoiding him because he stinks so much. One day a tortoise came up to him.
He said, “Why don’t you come into the waterhole and have a swim with the other animals so that you don’t stink so much?”
Then the rhino said, “Of course not, what a silly idea,” and with that he walked off. The rhino thought all night about that tortoise. He thought to himself why would a tortoise come up to me? Normally all the animals avoid me! The next day, this time he saw a warthog come up to him and say, “Peeyew! You should have a bath,” and the rhino said, “Are you crazy? I’m never going in that stink hole and he stomped off and thought about the warthog. Again the next day, a hippo came and said, “Come in the water. It’s nice and warm.”
“Are you out of your mind?” said the rhino, and he stormed off.
The next day there was a big crowd of people so he decided to wake up early. All the animals stared at him and said, “We have all had enough of your stink”. But the rhino replied, “Well, you’re not the boss of me.” But the animals had had enough so they threw him in the water. Now the rhino takes a bath every day. So the moral of the story is always listen to your elderly and take a bath once in a while.