A few months ago, I was lucky enough to win a copy of Donovan Bixley’s beautiful new book The Weather Machine. This wordless picture book is full of absolutely stunning illustrations, which tell the story of The Weather Machine and its inventor. This book is sure to become a firm favourite with children and adults alike, and would make a fantastic Christmas present.
Donovan wrote recently about how he was inspired by Dr Seuss’ The Lorax. Well, some of the Brain Bunny classes have found The Weather Machine pretty inspirational too! The girls wrote these stories after getting ideas from one or more of the illustrations. As you can see, they’ve each taken something different from the inspiration, and have come up with some very creative stories.
Bob had made a weather machine and he wanted to go ice skating so he changed it to winter. He did loads of figure 8s. Then he built a snow man but his cat Frank got stuck in one of the snow balls and he had to break it.
He had seen loads of movies where people cut holes in ice and fish. He caught 1 fish but it was frozen. Bob made his way to the weather machine. He changed it to rain.
It started to rain hard, HardER, AS HARD AS IT COULD RAIN!
Then Bob noticed his cat was drowning so he did a triple flip/dive and then-he-remembered-he-could-not… swim.
He drowned, the proud maker of the weather machine.
Gemma (age 10)
The storm grew and grew as Sam walked to his friend’s house. Then he tripped and fell. Into a hole. And died. The end.
Grandpa Will closed his “Imagination Story Zone” place inside his brain, rolled over, and went to sleep.
“Boring” 11 year old Elise moaned.
“Come on Pa-grand!” Minnie said getting “Grandpa” completely mixed up. Grandpa Will opened his eyes sleepily, and let Acorn drag the blanket off him, and put it on his back, like a cape.
“Super mam!” he shouted, running around the room.
“Super man, you idiot!” Elise said, and softly kicked Grandpa Will in the leg. “Tell us a proper story.”
“All right, all right” Grandpa said. He sat up right and rubbed his eyes. Then he started…
“It all happened in 1943. My Mum and I lived in a cottage.” He looked to see if the kids were listening. They were.
“One day, my Mum said she was just popping next door to see the neighbour. I nodded. I was 11 at the time, same age as Elise. She walked out of the front door, blew me a kiss, and left. I didn’t know that I would never see her again. You don’t want to know anything else.”
“Yes we do, yes we do!” Elise, Minnie and Acorn chorused.
“OK, but don’t start crying, I hate crying.”
“Well, I grabbed a can of coke, and headed up to my room. Then I picked up a book, and started reading it. After a few minutes, I went to take my last sip of coke. I picked up the can. But something was different. Then I realised that the coke inside the can was sloshing around, without me moving it. I stared at it for a couple of seconds. The bed was shaking, and my light fell down about a centimetre away from my foot. I panicked. Suddenly the whole room rumbled and a pole hit my window and it smashed out of the window frame. Flying bits of glass spiked my back. I leapt up off my bed and got in the doorway. I stood there, watching my house turn into rubble.”
“What happened next, Grandpa Will?” Elise asked, her mouth wide open.
“When the earth-quake was over, I went to find my Mum. I walked outside and gasped. The ground was ripped open, teared apart from the monstrous earth-quake. I instantly knew that this was no joke. It was serious.
I ran faster from then on, knowing that my Mum could be in big trouble, avoiding the rubble that was everywhere. I got next door in no time. The house was a heap of red bricks. Pieces of glass were scattered around the place like dust. The apple tree has been torn out of its roots, and was now lying on the side, roots on the fence. The weight from the tree leaning against the fence made it slowly fall. The place was a mess.
‘Mum!’ I shouted frantically. ‘Mum!’ But I knew she wouldn’t answer me. She was gone.”
“That’s so sad!” Elise said. “Wait a moment, you said your Mum died in a car crash!”
“It’s hard to tell the truth sometimes”
Meg (age 9)
The Christmas The Nearly Wasn’t
It was six o’clock on Christmas morning. Jack and Jill jumped out of bed. They were so excited because it was time for presents and a day full of fun activities ahead of them.
They ran to their parent’s room to wake them up.
“Merry Christmas Mum, Merry Christmas Dad!” they chanted in unison.
“Merry Christmas Jack and Jill,” said Mum, yawning.
“I’m guessing you two want to open your presents,” said Dad, getting out of bed.
“Out of bed sleepyhead!” cried Jill.
After they had had breakfast and opened their presents, Jack and Jill made a snowman and their parents went back to bed.
“I’m cold, I’m going back inside,” whined Jill as Jack put the hat on the snowman.
“Suit yourself!” Jack called after her.
Only two minutes had passed when…
“Jill, Jill, come quickly!”
“What is it?” asked Jill.
“I could have sworn that snowman moved,” Jack exclaimed, jumping up and down.
“See that pig fly?” chuckled Jill as she ran into the house.
And there, stood an evil looking snowman. His eyes pierced into Jack’s and it sent a shiver down his spine. Jack turned and ran into the house as fast as his legs would carry him. He decided not to tell Jill what had happened. It would only spoil her Christmas.
Sometime later, there was a loud knock on the door. Jack rushed to the door fearing it was the evil-looking snowman. Instead he found a group of his friends and their families at the door. His friend Toby’s Dad spoke. “By any chance, are you missing any presents?”
“I don’t think so,” he replied.
“Lucky!” Toby exclaimed.
Jack knew exactly what had happened. It was the snowman! It had to be. He remembered him muttering something about ruining Christmas for everyone. He called the other four members of the ‘Fab Five’ aside and said “Meeting in the clubhouse at six. Make sure you’re there.” He was determined to get to the bottom of this.
Soon it was time. Jack looked out of the window. He saw trees blowing in the icy wind. He glanced at the lake, all iced over. It was a pretty sight. Everything glistened, as if a fairy had sprinkled fairy dust over the entire world. He thought his red puffer Jacket looked so bright compared to the pure white blanket that spread as far as he could see. The neighbouring houses looked so much like pieces of art, he had forgotten they were actually there.
Everything was so quiet and dull except for the smell of mince pies that drifted over from the kitchen.
It was time to go. Jack couldn’t wait to tell his friends what he knew.
To be continued…
Laura (age 11)
A big thank you Donovan Bixley for the beautiful copy of his book, and another big thank you to Gemma, Meg, Laura, and their parents for letting me publish their stories. Brain Bunny classes have finished the year, but the holiday creative writing inspiration posts will be continuing throughout January and December. Every Thursday they’ll be a new post here, and on the Brain Bunny Workshops Facebook page.