February Winners

Shannon Hale

Grades K-2 (Level I)

In Shannon Hale's contribution to The Exquisite Corpse story, the bad guy talks out of his rear end and sits on his face! How crazy (and creative) is that? Take Shannon's lead and write us a little story where one of the character's body parts has a special talent. Maybe he sings through his nose or she walks on her elbows. If you'd like to draw a picture, too, send it along.

  • Winner
    Connor R.
    West Plains, MO

Grades 3-5 (Level II)

Fables are short stories that teach a lesson. Most fables are filled with animals that have the characteristics of humans. Think about The Tortoise and the Hare — it teaches us that slow and steady wins the race; or The Lion and The Mouse, which teaches us about cooperation. Create a story, using at least two animals, which will teach an important lesson.

  • Winner
    The Monkey and the Giraffe
    by Matthew K.
    Wellesley, MA
  • Honorable Mention
    The Snail and the Cheetah
    by Timothy S.
    Unionville, CT

Grades 6-8 (Level III)

Many legends and folktales are pourquoi tales. Pourquoi tales — sometimes called "origin stories" — are fictional stories that explain why something is the way it is ("pourquoi" means "why?" in French). Before people were able to use science to explain nature, they used these stories to make sense of the world around them. In honor of Shannon Hale's graphic novels, use a comic format to share a pourquoi tale and to explain something in nature, like why the sun rises and sets or why the peacock has such colorful feathers.

  • Winner
    Origin of Sand
    by Sophie C.
    Warren, ME

Grades 8-12 (Level IV)

In Rapunzel's Revenge, Shannon Hale starts with the familiar Rapunzel story and changes the setting to the Old West. Now, we'd like you to do something similar. Choose a popular fairy tale and give it a new setting. Be sure to include lots of details that help us get a sense of the place.

Calef Brown

Grades K-2 (Level I)

So Calef Brown draws himself as a blue elephant. He used to live in India and says he just loves elephants, so maybe that's why. If you could acquire one physical characteristic from an animal — any animal EXCEPT a dog or cat — what would it be and why? Think about an animal that you like or find interesting. Draw a self-portrait and write a vivid description of the new you — and be sure to let your readers know about any special powers you might now have. Include descriptive words that help create strong visual imagery, with extra credit for using onomatopoeia!

Grades 3-5 (Level II)

Brown collaborated with author John Harris on a whimsical book (Greece! Rome! Monsters!) about some pretty fantastic mythical beasts — the Minotaur, Medusa, the Manticores, Cerberus, the Chimera, and more…

The famous Hercules met up with some of these beasts when he was given 12 impossibly dangerous assignments — like stealing the golden apples of Zeus that were guarded by a dragon with 100 heads. These 12 tasks are known as the Labors of Hercules. Hercules had the help of two deities — Hermes (the messenger) and Athena (goddess of war and wisdom) — who were there to help when the going got really tough. Your challenge is to create a 13th labor for Hercules, set in contemporary times. Develop a short narrative adventure story that includes characters, setting, a sequence of events, and a resolution. Your Hercules can also call on any of the Greek gods to help him in this final task. To get started, think about some heroes you've met in favorite books, characters like Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, characters from the American Girls series, or Lyra from The Golden Compass.

  • Winner
    The Thirteenth Labor
    by Kyra A.
    Cedar Rapids, IA

Grades 6-8 (Level III)

In Dutch Sneakers and Flea Keepers, Calef Brown includes a clever poem about a creature he invented, the Tattlesnake. Let your imagination go a little wild and think up your own imaginary creature by brainstorming a similar "play on words." The name of your invented animal should suggest something rather unique and unusual about his behavior. Write a rhyming poem that describes your animal's unique qualities.

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