Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Red F.

Once upon a time a Primary School celebrated Book Week. There was a dress-up parade where students came as their favourite character from a book.

And there was a book-writing competition.

At this school was a boy called Climber. He wanted to enter a book for the competition, so he started a book about a Uni-pus (a one-limbed Cephalopod) ...

... and another book about Useful Spells ...

... which his mother found in many strange places around the house. But it was not until Climber's mother went to school for her regular classroom session that she realised why there were so many little books around the house. Climber's teacher had only told the students about the competition and assumed the children would tell their parents. Hmmmm.

So Climber's mother and Climber started work on a book for the competition. They had 2 days in which to get it done. Not long to come up with a whole book. But then they remembered a story that Climber had started writing back in April ...

... and they decided to finish it off together.

Work began. At Climber's insistence ("it has to be neat, you're supposed to type it"), Climber's mother typed up Chapter One ...

... and Chapter 2, while Climber started on the illustrations.

Then Climber dictated Chapter 3 ...

... and they finished the book with Chapter 4. A rousing good ending he dreamed up all by himself.

All that was left to do was a Cover Page and The Red F was complete.

They entered it for the competition and waited for 2 weeks. Climber's mother hoped that signs of parental involvement did not weigh against him. She included a copy of his original work in the back of the book so that the judges could see that he did in fact write it himself. She also emphasised to Climber that it was immaterial whether or not he won the competition, because the main thing was he had written his first book and that it was wonderful. But she allowed herself to hope.


He did not win.

Climber's mother assumes that the winning entries were of Booker Prize-winning standard to have edged out her child's masterpiece but she refrains from saying that in front of him.


  1. What a fabulous book. Climber was definately robbed. Such is the fickleness of the publishing industry... Well done Climber!

  2. eek. I mean "definitely". I should hand back my linguistics degree and declare myself a fraud.

  3. I will be searching for that giant red F every where I go. Fancy it being full of money - millions of dollars! I will not be using it to pay for tax, though. I will buy lots and lots of cake!!

    Clever boy!

  4. "Tax money" !!!! What a card!!
    Well, done, young Climber. Writing a book is quite an achievement!

  5. 3 Words, Daylight, bloody, robbery - God, I'm scared now for when my Little P goes to school - I can't imagine the standard of the 'winning' book! Shit!!

  6. He may have been robbed. In fact I am completely positive he was. Paying the taxes indeed. But that smile SG that smile - I feel as proud as punch for him and for that smile!

  7. I'm so loving your tags :)

    And yes, Climber was indeed robbed. He looks so proud of his book though.

  8. How gorgeous. Love the story. Can't believe he didn't win. Robbed, yes, absolutely. I'm with cara too, love your tags.

  9. Any child that writes a book that includes a reference to putting money aside for taxes, should receive a commendation from the government at least!

  10. Oh my goodness, what a fabulous book... taxes indeed. Go Climber!(robbed, I say)

    Making books was one of my favourite things to do at school. I look forward to doing it all over again. :))

  11. Neat trick with the lassoo on the ladder.

    Kids' minds. They just send me.

  12. He wuz robbed for sure. Or fer sher, depending on your accent. Lovely book, anyway.

    At my kids' school all the second graders (er, grade two-ers?) get to make a real book. They send them off to be bound in hardcover and everything. Some of them are HILARIOUS.

    I had to edit my boy's book because he had used one of his classmates as the villain and she got some pretty dreadful comeuppance in the end. Oy. My girl, of course, wrote about puppies and kitties and bunnies because of that whole Mars/Venus thing.

  13. Food and drink indeed! If he's buying I want wine and pasta please. With chocolate cake for dessert.... and maybe a pudding too. That book was brilliant....boys love a good treasure story don't they? He was so robbed, so ROBBED! I hope YOU give him a prize.

  14. What a great project - I give the Red F a giant A+!!

  15. It's nice to know that, halfway around the world -- diagonally! -- there is a young boy whose feeling about taxes seem to mirror my own.

    Makes me hopeful for the world, it does.


  16. Fabulous Book & fabulous illustrations!

  17. What a good little socialist he is setting aside money to pay his tases ;) That is one fabulous book!

  18. Wow.

    that's all I can muster.

    I am so.impressed.

  19. That F'n sucks!

    He deserved to win.

    What's the teacher's name? Give it to me, I'll sort this out...

  20. A Big Red F to the teacher, I say.

    I would buy Climber's book for sure.

    (Muttering: Stupid teachers)

    (Wailing: Oh dear GOD how will my competitiveness stand up to the idiosyncracies of scholarly authority for a SECOND TIME?)

  21. Intergard rates this blog a big wholesome 'come on in'

    Are you disappointed ?

    Basically a Big Red F to you on levels of profanity, grossness, obsceneness and adult content.

    The days of the condom hat and rudeness are obviously long past you.

    Sorry about that ;)

    ( you was robbed )

  22. Fabulous!!! I love chapter 4 - using some for tax!! Too Funny!!!

    Well done Climber!

  23. Who would have thought an F could contain such bounty?

    F is for imagination.


  24. That is a REALLY good story. Bias or no bias, mama's right about that one. Climber's got talent -- love the ending!

  25. Dah! Rats to that. In this particular instance, I'd say that parental involvement was more like cheerleading with the emphasis on lead.
    best wishes


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