Sunday, November 20, 2011

Judge's Report - The Deathly Mallows

Tupeni's character Jacob said “Let’s go to adventure!” and that's what you all did this week. In one way or another, you went into battle.

There were many individual moments of brilliance, and times that you made me smile and gasp. The beginnings of your stories inspired me so much this week that I want to share some of the different styles and the effects of each:

He was standing in the rain with an axe in his hand (Ali Abbaspour Mojdehi)

It was a lonely day for clones. All humans had left the region, packing smart little suitcases and driving off over the dusty plains in newly washed Fords or Toyotas. The move was sudden, without any warning. The cat’s food bowl left half empty, the sprinklers still spraying water over mowed lawns. (Caroline Moratti)

... a great warrior rose from the planet FaBo 2 ancient ruins from when the mighty picaro fought off the invaders from before bread was discovered and even before guns were created ...(Levi Simiona)

We stood there. Our heads bowed. The Secretary and Treasurer lowered the oak coffin into the ground. The church bells rang and we silently walked away. King Bartholomew III had died. The last of the Royal Fabo family. Now no one ruled Planet Fabo2. (Matthew Illing)

This one by Imogen Wiseman has a completely different, almost lyrical style:
Deep in the darkest parts of planet FABO the cloud of wonders lived. That cloud could blow the roofs of houses when it was angry and sent gentle breezes through the forest when he was happy and then when he was sad he would split up into a million little balls of fluff rolling through the sky. This cloud had power but only a sliver of it and that tiny bit of power didn’t help him when it came to his life. He was tired of not being able to live peacefully among the villagers; he was tired of being forced into eating spiders and cockroaches. His life was a messed up one.

And this fabulous one by Izaak Glynn. The blood stained blade shone from the dim glow of the moonlight. Madras looked down at the corpses of the centaurs his troops have just slain. The evil cringe on his face crept to a chuckle. The thunderous sky above was booming. “What will you do Jupiter?” madras screamed to the sky, “there is no force on Olympus that will stop me!”.

I also liked the way you told me about your characters:
I opened my eyes and there stood the bony man I had first met when I had come here. He was grouchy but he was small. I could beat him up blind folded! He was one of the many people I was not afraid of in this dump. (Issy Meikle)

Your dialogue had tension, hints at drama to come, and even humour, as was the case in William Taber's conversation between Sam Spader and Benji, just before the evil Dr Manwell strikes.
"Why do you have a kitchen knife?" said sam.
"I was making you cucumber salad," replied Benji.

Actually, I think Matthew Illing should write for Star Trek. Look at this:
We clambered through the pipes towards the echo of BB’s voice talking to his executive assistant P.L.E.X. “When will we have enough Pixie dust to power the UIP’s?” BB asked.
“At about twenty-two hundred hours, sir,” replied P.L.E.X.
“Good P.L.E.X. Send in those annoying trespassers”, he commanded.
“Yes, sir.” responded P.L.E.X. as he pushed a button on the remote control in his hand.

Food was commonly mentioned but it didn't always sound good. Lunch at fabo2 east school was like barf on a plastic platter (Izaak Glynn), they ate goat for the main course and for desert oranges (Benjamin Ziegler). I particularly liked the sound of Lucy Spence's chocolate demise cake.

Your endings also made me realise how much you've learned about rounding off a good story, and leaving your reader with something to think about, as was the case with Raghav Parekh and Caroline Moratti in these examples.

Daniel put the Anubis stone on the fountain and the lair illuminated. Al Zalam was free, Zarok… killed. And Daniel died as the great hero of Gallomere. (Raghav)

Peace was formed in the palm of friendship, as life moved on. (Caroline)

Caroline's ending was beautiful, and thought-provoking. So was her beginning. The rest of her story was full of intricate detail around the setting and characters and the story developed logically, but with the occasional unexpected reversal in it, so that it was never predictable. Caroline has consistently written well in a variety of styles throughout the Planet FaBo competitions, so we're awarding her the GRAND PRIZE today. We expect to see her name on a book one day.

I'd also like to congratulate Izaak Glynn for a brilliant, dynamic full-powered piece of writing that seriously challenged Caroline's winning entry, and Matthew Illing, who has also consistently written so well in this competition.

Thank you to all of you for all those moments throughout our writing adventures on Planet FaBo. And thank you to your teachers who have helped to inspire you to write them down.

Don't stop now that you're on a roll. Get writing that novel. Read the winning entry called Revenge and Cleaning Sprays by Caroline Moratti, and check out the latest geographical location on Planet FaBo.

Kathy White : )

Monday, October 24, 2011

School On Fabo2 - Judge's Report By Tania Hutley

Well, there has been plenty of distractions during the last week or two! I think there was some kind of rugby game on, wasn't there... did we win?

With all that excitement going on, extra congratulations are due to those that found the time to send in a story.

There were some wonderful entries, and I did have a good laugh reading them.
Some stories made me want to go to school on Fabo2 - and some made me very glad I don't!

The following stories deserve a special mention this week:

I enjoyed Nikhila Leelaratna's story about overcoming bullying on Fabo2 and I was very glad Hinky was able to enjoy the rest of his school life after being treated so badly!

Caroline Moratti's story was beautifully written, and I loved the way her main character Matilda went from total fear to jubilation... well done Caroline!

Dionne Avis wrote a story in diary form, which was great fun to read - especially when her horse ran away to live a lifelong dream of owning a shoe warehouse. That made me chuckle!

And Matthew Illing wrote an excellent story about a boy called Bob having a very bad day at Rock Star school.

But this time I am giving the prize to Vibhava Leelaratna from Maungawhau School. Vibhava's story is also about someone not enjoying school, but it doesn't sound so bad to me... I'd like to have a teacher called Lizard Pimple!

Well done for having such a great imagination, Vibhava. I found myself trying to work out just how you might go about turning a Flat Screen TV into banana peels.

- Tania.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Non-Fiction Challenge: Judge's Report by Guest Judge Maria Gill

Thanks for everyone’s stories – I thoroughly enjoyed reading them and loved the humour that was coming through in some of the descriptions. I might add the inhabitants on FABO are quite scary so I’ve decided to delay my trip there.

Scientist Vibhava Leelaratna was meticulous in her description of the Vorakom; saying how it got its name, how it defends itself, what it eats and how it reproduces. I sure wouldn’t like to meet a Vorakom in the dark – at least I’d be able to recognise it with its beady red laser eyes.
Dr Manwell Pratchetti gave a brilliant scientific explanation of the Citoxe’s habitat, call, behaviour and intelligence. I liked his explanation of Citoxe’s brutal solution of getting rid of intruders. The Citoxe’s method of communicating with humans was inspired.
As for the Skraosk with its 58 legs, 21 arms, 65 ears and 82 ears – yikes, I’m going to have nightmares for years after visualising that monster.
The reporter Dionne Avis wrote an excellent article about the Tickerflies. I’m still trying to imagine Justin Bieber wearing a bright orange fur outfit with purple spots – and as for the pink love hearts – I’m all in a flutter. As for their flatulence – I hope I never meet a Tickerfly. Liked the nice touch of adding a website and email address.
Reporter Mathew’s article on the true identity of the Silver Arrows was like it was straight out of The Times. The Monkeyologists on earth will be very impressed with the detail about the Silver Metallicus.
I liked the way the author spoke directly to the reader to describe the Kings of the Shadow – the Shadosia. Another animal I wouldn’t like to meet…
Anne’s method of crossing a crocodile with a gorilla was creative and she really gave some great descriptions.
I really enjoyed Levi’s comparison of the Zizzard with the other animals – very clever.
Rebecca’s description of the Zelpifreda was very inventive. Speaking of inventions can I buy one of your 5D televisions – I’d patent that!
I want to take a green Mantinor home – they’re so cute but I wouldn’t like it puking up its egg sacks, though.

And the winner is: The David Attenborough impersonator Caroline Moratti for her excellent script about the filming of the Quadropus. She manages to show while talking to the camera close-up details of the Quadropus behaviour, how it looks, and how it operates when in battle. Just beautiful, as the impersonator would say. I quote: “Slowly, drifting from the whirling water, the camera can see a silhouette race away, the disappearing of the Quadropus after finishing his dinner.” You have to say/read it in a David Attenborough voice, though.

Special mentions to Matthew Illing for his account of the Mettallicus and William Taber for the Citoxe.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

FaBo World Cup Challenge Judge’s Report by Kyle Mewburn

What exciting games everyone invented this week! I thought watching the All Blacks beat France last night was exciting, but I imagine the people of FaBo2 would think rugby was very, very DULL if they had games like Filich, Elivm or Coliseum-O-Creeper on TV.

It was very hard to pick a winner because all the entries had some interesting bits.
Matilda had very precise instructions for her game of Filich. She invented lots of technical terms too - “To play the fun and exciting game of filich each team elects ten players to skim a stone into the centre of the small lake in the middle of the playing field. The first player to touch the middle with the stone will start with the blibit, while the other thirty nine players hide and spread out in the trees and field. As the players do that the leader (called the chefie in the game of filich) will chant a famous fabo2 spell on the blibit while the others discuss their tactics on the opposite team. The chant will let the blibit adapt a mind of its own and the blibit will race around in the field, trees and even some times water! Then all the players will chase after it.” Matilda even added a website link in case you wanted to play!

Arabella had the craziest setting for her game of Elivm - “The game takes place in ARABELLIALIS galaxy where each custard and banana stars has kfc on it (bribing ha ha ha) first the monkey teams are on earth and the have to make a monkey chain.”
If you wanted to play Emma’s game of Octana , you needed some interesting equipment – “You will need: A bottle of swim-a-swim; A uniform for everyone in your team; And last but not least you need the skill, courage and guts.” She also invented swirly swirlnadoes.

Dionne’s game of Beauty and the Beast had a long list of weird stuff you needed to play – “A horse, A math’s book, Foam/slime, Makeup e.g. Lipstick, A rugby ball, A cricket set, Uniform, A set of beauty and the beast questions, a cream pie, Some earing and necklaces, Station [ table 6], A camera, Nail polish, Work clothes.”
Rebecca and Emma wrote a story with their game in it. And Arabella even sent us a lovely poem. Thanks! (Arabella is moving schools soon, too. It’s never much fun leaving all your friends and starting a new school. The FaBo team wish you the bestest of luck Arabella! Keep on writing and don’t forget to tell your new school about FaBo!!)

But in the end, there can only be one winner … or, actually, in this case, TWO winners. My favourite two games this week were Spartonin by Izaak Glynn and Matthew Sansome, and Floatamot by Rebekah Gooderham. I thought Izaak and Matthew gave their game a lot of thought – they even drew a uniform and shield. I also loved the first rule – NO MERCY. While Floatamot just has to be the weirdest game EVER invented.

Both our winners this week go to Maungawhau school. Izaak and Matthew win a copy of Dinosaur Rescue each, and Rebekah gets a copy of DO NOT PUSH! If any of you already have these books, let me know and I’ll send you something else!

Otherwise, get ready to RUUUUUUUUUUMBLE!!!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Ballad of Dew Moon by Elena de Roo/ Judge's Report

Judges Report - Elena de Roo

There were lots of wonderful lines in the poems this week. Some of my favourites were Caroline Moratti's, "Ripe with Nights gaze, the air is filled with plum ferment ..." and Allie Hawksworth's, "The shadows flitter, under the buzzing lamp."

It's really interesting how the character's name - Dew Moon - had such a big influence on the atmosphere and tone of the poems (mine included). I loved the sense of mystery in Liv Coulter and Livy Maher's poem with the four fingered soldier, and their lovely line, "city lights glitter while candle lights flicker," and the quiet mood of Joshua Chote's last lines, " Dew Moon sees an owl flying past. / He silently falls to sleep." In contrast it was also good to find a bit of grittiness in Matthew Illing's poem, where the lane was "Pitch black and evil / and full of garbage and graffiti," and the shadows were the focus rather than Dew Moon.

Most of you forgot that we were on Planet Fabo2 this week, so well done Kendra for including Moratti Mountains and Illing Lake in your poem, and I love your last line "MO HA HA HA the shadow replies."

Another common mistake was to put in something unrelated to the poem just because it rhymed. Rhyming can be fun to write and even more fun to read aloud, but if you decide to use it, don't let the rhyme lead the poem.

Poems don't have to rhyme; rhythm, alliteration and repetition can be just as effective. In Maddy's lines, "I hear the drops in the quiet of the night / I slowly creep, down, down, down ..." the repetition of the word "down" seems to mimic the sound of the drops. Also, I love Paige Grant's use of alliteration in the phrase "Dew Moon's deep, dark, feathers rise," and the fact that she uses it twice in her owl poem. Wesley Wang's poem uses a great combination of alliteration and onomatopoeia together with a strong rhythm, to create a real sense of movement - "A leopard pounces through the dark creepy jungle. / The tall trees swish through the dark creepy jungle."

Where the line breaks come in poems can make quite a difference to its meaning and effect. I like the way Joseph Ayoade broke his last sentence into two, emphasising the last line. Dew Moon goes back home. / With no food. I also liked the way Kate's (Waimataitai School) last lines echoed the first, and her nice use of contrast "The night is young and the moon is high."

Because poems are so condensed, every word counts - titles can be an important part of them, sometimes providing the clue to the whole poem, like in Annie Sun's poem "Midnight" or draw you in to read them, like Lucy Spence's "The drifting, creeping, scary, cat."

There were lots of great figures of speech too:
My favourite simile was William Taber's "The sun rises like a cake"
My favourite metaphor was Neve Cobham's "The night is black and smooth like a blanket ..."

Favourite endings: Caroline Moratti's "Hardly daring to whisper, / The darkness stares at itself in Natures Mirror, / and unfolds" and Booke Ellis's "Owls watching above looking for tea. / Rats hiding."

Favourite beginnings: Molly Marsden's, "The night was quiet / Elves making shadows / Stars watching silently" and Tupeni Valili's "Cold was the night as the sparkling stars gleamed in the dark blue sky ..."

But there can only be two winners and one special mention. I thought since there are really no rules in poetry I could get away with having a few extras. And they are ...

Dark Night - by Bruno McCall
The Night Shadows by Matilda Clack
Both of you wrote poems that worked well as a whole, but were different from each other. I liked the way Bruno had a great idea, and wasn't afraid to experiment with line breaks and play around with words and the way Matilda gave herself a challenge, by writing in a particular style and pulled it off.

Special Mention
Night - by Emma O'Shaungnessy
I loved the way you used the moon, to join together the image of the cat with the golden coat, and the little girl with popcorn!

The Ballad of Dew Moon

The stars were sulking silently, the moon, too, hid its light
when Dew went out to track the long-lost Chocolate Moose that night
She took her flash, new, camera phone, her cloak of coal-wing feather
pulled the hood around her face, and braved the bitter weather

Intent on finding signs of Moose, she never saw the creeping
of the shadows in the corners, or the darker-darkness, sweeping
And if she had, she would have said,
"A shadow? That's not right.
It must be more than what it seems, for shadows must have light."

The shadow-men had searched for years, on planets far and wide
looking for a the perfect match to be their King's new bride
and now, at last, they thought they'd found the perfect shadow maid
mistaking Dew, in black, at night, for some exotic shade.

And all the while, she never saw the darker-darkness sweeping
or the shadows that were growing, coming closer, nearer, creeping
but she must have had a premonition something wasn't right
for she shouted to the darker-darkness
"Come on out and fight!"

The moon came out. At last Dew saw the shadows all around
she knew then, as her forbears had, that she must hold her ground
She ditched the hood and shouted out
"I have a flash new phone
Step back or I will use the torch. My name is Dew Moon Jones!"

But the darkness only grew, and drew around her, slowly sweeping,
and the crowd of shadows circled, getting nearer, closer, creeping
She couldn't even see the keypad. Which one was the light?
In the end, Dew pressed the lot – the beam was blinding bright

Twelve LED's lit up her face. The crowd cried in surprise
She seemed so pale – a ghostly ghoul. No beauty, in their eyes
The tide of shadows turned away – how quickly it retreated
and Dew, the hero of the night, returned home, undefeated!

So if, at night, a darker sort of darkness comes a-creeping,
forget about that Chocolate Moose, just concentrate on sleeping