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So many fabulous story creators entered the Emirates Flight Time Stories competition, but now it's time to announce the results! And the winner is ...*drum roll* ...

Four-year-old Maddison Penney, from Dorset,
for her story Monkey Goes on a Plane!!




Once upon time there lived a cheeky monkey called Jeffrey who lived in a jungle far away. Jeffrey had six brothers and sisters who all loved playing in the jungle, swinging from tree to tree. But not Jeffrey, he didn't enjoy living in the jungle not one bit, you see Jeffrey was different from his family, all his family looked exactly the same, they were about two foot tall, brown and fluffy, with a curly tail. Jeffrey however was a lot smaller, in fact half as tall! He had two big ears, and a flick of hair on the top of his head that his mother would always lick to stay in place. One day, Jeffrey and his Brother had a big argument, he felt so excluded he decided to run away.

'They won't even notice I'm gone' cried Jeffrey. So Jeffrey packed a bag with a banana, a little jacket in case he got cold and his favourite toy and off he headed into the jungle. Jeffrey must of been travelling for days he was so hungry he had already eaten his banana he had packed. When suddenly the jungle had ended, he was in a very loud, busy place with lots of lights! Jeffrey had no idea where he was, when he heard the loudest sound he had ever heard! giant white piece of metal with big wings and a glass front came hurtling toward him before abruptly stopping.

'This must be the airport my Brother told me about!' Jeffrey exclaimed in amazement as he had never believed it was real.

Jeffrey decided he was going to jump aboard! He saw a large crate filled with peanuts that had a gap just small enough for him to squeeze through. He waited until he could feel the crate being wheeled onto the plane. Jeffrey loved the pplane ride, it was like nothing his Brother had told him about, although he loved landing hte most, it felt like a big slide in the sky!

Jeffrey managed to climb out the box without anybody noticing (although perhaps they would wonder where all the peanuts had gone!) He then began exploring, it wasn't long before he reached the sea with a beach with the whitest sand! Jeffrey found a hammock hanging between two trees, he laid there for awhile but it wasn't long before he started to miss his family. He picked up some shells and put them in his bag, hoping his parents might forgive him for leaving and sest off to find the airport again. He jumped in a box full of bananas and once landed ran through the jungle looking for his family who were all fast asleep.

He snuggled up next to his Mother, who when he woke was so glad to see Jeffrey she wasn't angry at all. Jeffrey loved telling all his Family about his adventure, but most of all he loved being back with his family - in the jungle.


* * * * *

Sarah: Hooray! As judges, we and the team loved the cheeky story and could immediately imagine little Jeffrey setting off on his adventure. One of our favourite descriptions of him was that he had 'a flick of hair on the top of his head that his mother would always lick to stay in place'. And we loved the mental image of Jeffrey packing his little suitcase with a banana, a little jacket in case he got cold, and his favourite toy. Like many of the stories we read, the story's voyage was very circular; quite a few children made a point to say that the character missed home and wanted to go back.

Philip: That was an interesting common thread! Children like the ideas of holidays, but they also like the comfort of coming home at the end of them. So many of the stories ended up with character getting homesick or having enough of adventures and going back home. Another recurring idea was dreams. In a lot of the stories it turned out that the main character had dreamed their whole adventure (the technical term is an oneiric narrative). At first I thought it was because the kids just didn't know how to finish their stories (When I was little 'Then I Woke Up And It Was All A Dream' felt like a very original way to shut down a story when I ran out of ideas or it was almost the end of the English lesson - 'It's an oneiric narrative, miss,' I'd explain). But then I started to wonder if it reflects the way children experience long flights - they probably spend a lot of the journey sleeping, and it may be quite shallow sleep. I bet they dream a lot, so when you ask them to write a story about planes, dreams are one of the first things they associate with them.

Sarah: The cover wasn't the most detailed or colourful of all the submissions, but it has a lively graphic quality we liked, with solid lettering, and introduces the story in a way that gives it added energy. So congrats to Maddison and her family on winning a trip to Dubai, and we hope you have a great time!

But there were lots of other stories we loved, too. I thought this was a great cover by Teddy for The Pink Fluffy Elephant Cloud Ride:



Philip: It's a brilliant cover, and the story is nice, too! I love the way it introduces us to Teddy, a boy with curly-wurly hair, and Bob, who is 'a pink, fluffy elephant cloud' and then just gets on with the story, as if a pink, fluffy elephant cloud is a perfectly normal thing to be. (Which it is, of course.)

Sarah: This cover by Esther was nicely researched and beautifully colourful and detailed:



Philip: The Peculiar Pearl was one of the most imaginative stories we saw. It really creates its underwater world well!

The Ice-Cream Castle Goes Down Under has a great twist: you think it's going to be all about moving the castle to Australia, but when they get it starts to melt. Rebuilding it with Australian snacks is a lovely touch. And there seems to be a metaphor there about having to adapt when you move to a new place, but maybe I'm reading too much into it (I'm a writer, it's what we dooooo...)



Sarah: And I loved how Isla used a combination of drawing, collage and real sweets to make her cover!

Philip: The Fantasticals has bags of kooky energy, and it starts of well, with the four suitcases appearing in the hall. It's always good to kick off a story with something like that will make the reader wonder what on Earth is happening, and encourage them to read further to find out.



Sarah: Max and Olivia managed to get a lot of intriguing details onto that cover while still making it strong and punchy.

Philip: There were lots of other great entries, too. I know competition judges always say 'the standard was really high, it was hard to choose a winner', but the standard really was really high, and it was SO hard to pick a winner! Almost all the stories something we liked about them - a funny idea, or a lovely turn of phrase, or a nice little glimpse into the way the writer's mind worked.

Sarah: Yes, we so enjoyed many of the stories that aren't mentioned here! Special shout-out to Daniel and Dominik for their phrase 'noisier than going to soft play area', which we loved. Keep writing and drawing, everyone!

See some of the entries over on the Emirates Flight Time Stories website.

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