The creative industry is often a much forgotten part of the economy, finance, banking and investments have become the preoccupation of the world, so it is more important than ever that on World Book Day we shine a spotlight on reading as a fun way of relaxing and of course learning.
It is easy to focus on the famous, names like Lee Childs, JK Rowling, and Dan brown are a few we could consider household names, but when you think about it carefully, in recent times we have lost the likes of David Eddings, Ann McCaffery and just recently Harper Lee, all of whom were household names in my youth, but with libraries closing and the large publishers promoting celebrity names rather than mid list or new talent, one must ask is there enough talent to work its way up for the future of writing?
This year we decided to move our focus away from adults, and take a look at what is going on at grass roots level. Having published a children’s book last year, we thought it would be a change to look at children, and what effects them in the literary world. World Book Day we feel is a huge date in the school calendar, children dress up as their favourite character and all round school there are book related events. It made sense for us to look at the school and get a good idea of what exactly is being done to encourage the writers of the future, and the vehicle we used was a competition.
We joined forces with one of our local schools, Leigh Primary School in Tameside, Greater Manchester and supplied them with a copy of Crumble’s Adventures written by debut author Mike Beale. The competition was based on drawing a picture, after all Mike’s book is beautifully illustrated by Maureen Fayle an Artist based in Devon, and we also asked for a short story that would create an adventure for a dog like Crumble.
The competition was open to all the pupils from Year 1 to year 4, which is roughly ages 5 to 9 years old. VCP are a fantasy adventure fiction publisher, but we have
Leigh Primary School, Tameside, Greater Manchester,
quite strict guidelines as to what we would and would not publish. We look for originality, creativity, a well thought out intelligent story, and also especially with a children’s book we look for a strong and positive message that helps teach values and understanding of the world around the reader. It was decided that we would expect something similar of the winner, even though this was at the primary level. (although we are not completely ruthless, we were ready to be open to everything given us)
On Friday 4th of March the stories were collected, with the winner being announced on Friday 11th (Today). The two best were to be awarded a certificate, a new pen and a signed copy of Crumble’s Adventures by Mike Beale.
The following are 21 submissions we received from Leigh Primary. We have done a small amount of editing, but we wanted to keep the work exactly as it was presented to us, so not all the spellings have been changed and corrected, and the punctuation is exactly as it was given to us, just remember this is the work of children aged five to nine years old.
Amber Year 2
First Winner of a signed copy of Crumble’s Adventures By Mike Beale.
One day there lived a brown dog called Crumble. Crumble didn’t have an owner. Every day Crumble would walk up and down the street to see if anybody would like to adopt him. One night Crumble went to the police station he barked loud at the door and soon a big policeman opened the door. The big, giant policeman said, “have you got no owner?” Crumble barked, “Well it doesn’t look like it” he said. “Come on in.” The policeman put Crumble in a cage but forgot to lock the door and Crumble thought to himself, “I don’t want to be in this cage.” Crumble quickly hopped out and ran as fast as he could.
When he stopped he was at a farm, “that’s strange I’ve never been to a place like this before.” Crumble walked a bit closer and he saw four horses galloping around a field. Then Crumble walked towards the farm and into the big wooden barn. In the barn were three big, woolly sheep, a horse saw him and told the other horses about Crumble. They all came over and one horse said, “what are you doing here?”
“I have no owner.” Said crumble, “so I decided to see if you would want me.”
“Well we would have to ask the boss.” Said the horses. “okay” replied Crumble. And the horses galloped off to see if the boss would want him. The boss came out and took Crumble in. The boss already had a sheep dog but that sheep dog was really old, he was 72 years old. The boss said, “you can be my new sheep dog if you like.” Crumble was very happy and jumped onto the bosses lap. This is what Crumble had always dreamed of, to have his own family.
Crumble loved it at the farm and every day he played with his friends. The boss looked after Crumble and he enjoyed looking after Crumble.
Amie Year 1
Second Winner of a signed copy of Crumble’s Adventures By Mike Beale.
Crumble the dog lived with a nice family, but he wished he could visit lots of exciting places. One day he decided he would go travelling and jumped on a bus stopped outside his house. The bus took him to the jungle.
Crumble looked around and saw a furry brown monkey! The monkey said “You don’t belong here in the jungle. Get out!”
Crumble was sad and walked away. Suddenly he saw a tall tree walking by! Crumble was scared and looked again. It wasn’t a tree, it was a giraffe with a long neck. The giraffe said “You don’t belong in the jungle. Get out!”
Crumble was sad and walked away. Then he saw a big elephant. The elephant said “Help!” he was being chased by a hunter.
Crumble barked very loudly and bit the hunter on bottom. The hunter got scared and ran away. The elephant, monkey and giraffe all saw how brave Crumble was. “You can come here any time. Thank you for helping us.” They said.
Crumble decided that he missed his home and family. He said goodbye to the animals and went home.
We were so impressed with the intelligence, creativity, and imagination that we decided to give every child an award of a certificate and a free mechanical pencil, which we hope will help them to write more stories. From the point of VCP, we feel this shows how important reading is to children, as it allows them to explore their own surroundings, and beyond.
Ameera Year 3
There was once a dog called Crumble, he was an adventurer dog. He had a giant liquorish tale, he dreamed of going in to an alien ship. His life depended on it. One night he couldn’t sleep. It was the witching hour apparently, everyone said, “if you ever wake in the witching hour you will turn into an alien.” Crumble wanted to see an alien, but he couldn’t get to sleep because he really wanted to see a real life alien. So Crumble got up and looked out of the window, an alien saw him and took Crumble away… He ran… in the blink of an eye he had hairy hairs covering his body. He reached a plate that had labels saying ‘gorges marvellous medicine’ “His name is probably Gorge.” She said.
Soon they were both asking questions like, ‘what’s your name?’ and ‘do they eat you?’ and ‘what’s your job?’ The alien looked at Crumble and said, “out there every single night there are wolfs that eat any boy and girl they see for lunch. My job is to make potions for them.” One night the alien took Crumble out to collect some ingredients, and showed him things a dog had never seen before. The alien showed Crumble how to make potions, and they watched the stars that were like fireworks firing off in the dark sky. Crumble ate this strange food that tasted like an old disgusting sock.
After a while the alien decided to put Crumble back where he came from, his home. Crumble still couldn’t sleep for so long, he wanted to be with his friend Gorgie, and Gorgie felt the same, but the bone catcher said, “dogs are the only tasty thing to eat, and British dogs are the best of all.” Crumble didn’t want to get eaten.
Later on Crumble watched an astronaut movie and always wondered what it would be like to meet a real life Astronaut. Well I wonder what Crumble will do next…
Daanya C Year 1
One day Crumble and his owner Julie went to the airport to go on holiday. Crumble wondered off and got on the wrong plane. The plane took off to the sky, and Crumble went looking for Julie but couldn’t find her.
The plane landed and Crumble walked out of the plane and kept on walking till he reached the exit. Crumble was worried and terrified that he couldn’t find Julie.
Crumble was walking hopelessly looking for Julie when he spotted a pretty dog. He followed the pretty dog onto the bus. The bus driver was cross and shouted, “NO DOGS ALLOWED!” So Crumble and the pretty dog got off.
The pretty dog said to Crumble, “are you following me?” Crumble replied, “I’m lost.” The pretty dog said, “I am Daisy, what’s your name?”
“I am Crumble and I am hungry.” Then Crumble woke up and it was all a dream.
Ikram Year 1
There was once upon a time a dog called Crumble, who went for a walk, and found a big, fluffy, furry cat. He seemed it was time for him to have a good clean walk so he decided to chase it, and it lead him to a rocket. As the door opened Crumble hopped onto the rocket and suddenly fell onto a button that had them zooming into the sky.
Crumble set off into space and landed on the moon. First of all he met an alien called Zorg. Crumble seemed that the alien was nice so he introduced himself by saying, “woof woof.” Which meant, “Hello my name is Crumble.” Then the dog, Crumble, asked the alien. “How do I get home?” The alien understood what he said and showed Crumble the way home.
Soon as Crumble stepped out of the rocket he felt upset because he was going to miss the rocket and Zorg. As he waved bye-bye a tear fell from his cheek, but he couldn’t wait to go inside and relax. As Crumble was going to step foot in his house he saw the cat again, he didn’t chase it because it might lead him somewhere else and he needs some rest. Crumble wondered how the rocket got there in the first place, but thought he should figure it out next time
Iona Year 2
CRUMBLE’S CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE.
Mrs. Round had taken Crumble and Alex to Scotland for Christmas. It was a very long journey on the train, but they had been given lots of treats for being very good. They were staying with Mrs. Round’s friend Malcolm McDuff, he ran a farm in the Highlands.
They had been at Old Glenn Farm for four days and all it did was snow for three whole days. Finally the snow had stopped and the dog door was unlocked, and Alex could introduce Crumble to a new friend.
They dashed out of the door and ran across the yard, flicking fresh snow into the air as they made their way to the big, red barn, they both shouted “hello” as they walked into the barn. “This is Angus the long haired highland cow. Angus this is Crumble.” Alex Said. “hello Crumble” Angus said as he walked outside. “this snow is pretty deep would you like a lift?” Alex and Crumble replied together, “yes please.” Angus crouched a little and said, “hop on my back.” So Alex and Crumble jumped up. Angus took them far away to the forest, and when they got to the middle of the forest they were lost.
Mrs. Round came out to call the dogs in for dinner, she was very shocked when she couldn’t see them. Alex and Crumble were scared, “we don’t know how to get back to the farm.” They said. Angus told them not to worry, “luckily I have these four hooves and they leave deep tracks.” He told them. So they followed Angus’s footprints all the way home. When they got home it was already tea time, and they had to eat there dinner and tea together. “Wow,” said Angus, “that lot will fill you up.”
“yes it will.” Said Crumble and Alex together. Soon it was bed time for the tired dogs. They were read a bedtime story and they fell fast asleep.
Luke Year 2
One day Crumble who was a dog, he walked he didn’t have a family and was alone and he walked everywhere. He was very sad another dog came he was happy he went on some adventures like hunting and treasure hunting. Then they went treasure hunting an they gone went the wrong way. They meted the wolf they hated but asked witch way should they go and they found it from wolfs directions. Then they knows that they went the rite way and they saw some treasure then they was in tunnels. They went this rite way and they walked home.
Nadeem Year 3
One day, Crumbles was out for a walk. While Crumbles was walking, he saw a biscuit shaped as a bone but it wasn’t an ordinary biscuit it was a magical bone, but Crumbles didn’t know he just ate it all up but then he felt weird and he turned into Crumble Dog. It was the 31st of April 1972.
On the strike of 12 O clock his super sense was tingling and he said “Hulk’s in trouble” So he went “It seems he is on Mars, not the sweet Mars the planet. “OH NO HE’S FIGHTING King Zig Zig” So I threw crumbs at him so he couldn’t see and he could take him to safety so he could fight him since King Zig Zig hates crumbs. He threw some at him and he went away for good.
He went back to Earth with Hulk who wasn’t really hard to pick up, he didn’t even need one paw he needed one piece of hair to pick him up and he took him to his lab.
Crumbles returned home, he found lots of people see him they were holding pictures of him so he became famous. But one day Crumbles wanted some privacy so there was only one thing to do, to take off all his gear and disguise to have peace and quiet but who knows he might come back to save you one day.
Nadira Yr 3
One day, Crumble and his brothers were sleeping. It was morning and Crumble woke up early. After a while Crumble’s brother came out. “Let’s play catch” Explained Crumble Okay. Then Crumble threw the ball too high, so Crumble went and got it. But Crumble didn’t know where he was going.
Soon Crumble went further and further in the forest. After a while Crumble got lost and really got scared. Then he got used to it, also he saw some wild animals and started liking them. 1 hour later Crumbles brothers got worried about Crumble.
Later Crumble went deeper in the forest. When went, he found 3 dogs. Since Crumble was alone he decided to hang out with the three dogs. Later that day Crumble got lost because he smelt his brother. Just then Crumble found his two brothers he felt safer with his family. Crumbles mum was so happy to have Crumble back. Later on they decided to watch a film called Black Beauty, then they set up a surprise for Crumble.
It was Crumbles birthday today. Then they laid out the table for Crumbles birthday. Happy Birthday to you! Crumble was so excited. Then it was 10:30 pm, so Crumble and the brothers and mum went upstairs to bed. Good night said the dogs, good night said Mum. Then everyone was fast asleep ZZZZ!
Nakib year 3
One spooky night, Crumble was in Spooky Hollow it was so dark that he could barely see a thing. The wasn’t happy so tried to find his way out. The problem was that Spooky Hollow was a MAZE!
His only way was to jump out of the maze with his extremely jump! He jumped over the wall but he was where he was before, so he jumped so far that he almost landed on the tree, but he was safe. Then he came in hot Africa, then he went to the rocket station and almost went up in space. Then he landed in Happy Hollow.
Naseema Year 1
Once upon a time there was a dog called Crumble. He had a boring life. One day Crumble had an idea, he wanted to go to the moon. So he packed his stuff and he made a rocket in his garden. He got his bag and went in the rocket. Then he pressed the buttons.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0… BLAST OFF!! Crumble was flying to the moon, Hooray!! While Crumble was waiting to get to the moon he ate some dog food and played video games and had a nap. While he was sleeping Crumble dreamt about how he was on the moon.
After his nap Crumble saw that he landed on the moon. So he got out of the spaceship, he started walking on the moon. It was FANTASTIC! He saw an alien and they became very good friends. Crumble and his alien friend got the flag out of Crumble’s bag and stuck it on the moon
This was the most exciting day of crumble’s life. He couldn’t wait to tell his family all about his adventure.
No Name Supplied 01
Once upon a time, there was a dog called Crumble, and he lived all by himself near a farm. Crumble wanted to go on another adventure, but he didn’t know where to go. One day he asked his friend Tom to go to a haunted house with him because it was Halloween.
When they went in, he saw a door that said ‘Candy Land’ and Crumble wanted to go in. He asked his friend Tom to go with him, and Tom said Okay. They went in and there was so much candy, even there was a chocolate waterfall. Tom and Crumble went to eat some candy, so they went to the Candyfloss area. Next they went to the boats and went in the chocolate fall and ridded till they had chocolate all over them.
It was time to go home and go to sleep, so they did. The End.
No Name Supplied 02
A dog eat’s a lot of food and his mum was sad and he stops and a other dog eats a lot of foods and his mum shouts.
One day there was a little dog who eats a lot of foods and he never sleep or play, so he eats some apples and some oranges. He was full, his mum was sad, the dog said sorry, he still eating he couldn’t stop, and he did, and sleeps and play, now she was happy.
He went to eat again, she was mad! But finally he eats only one, she was happy.
Now another dog eats a lot then that. The end.
Nusaybah Year 2
Once upon a time there lived a dog called Crumble. Crumble said to his dad that “can I play outside with my friends?” and his dad said “yes” so Crumble went out and played with his friends outside, there names were Croc, Sid, Rebecca and Tim. Tim is black and white and Tim has white ears. Croc had a spiky body and Croc had weird ears. They played tig! This is how you play, so you have to put a bone in the middle of the garden and if the dog catches the bone they get to be the catcher. They played the game for a while then they went on a magic adventure they went in a jungle.
They had monkeys, snakes and crocodiles there at the jungle. It was soo creepy. But suddenly the dogs disappeared in the jungle far far away some explorers in the jungle and they heard some dogs. The explorers were very kind to the dogs the explorers was the boss of the jungle.
It was time for the dogs to go we had so much fun, when they got back from the magic adventure everyone had to go home. Crumble said bye-bye to all his friends and said “night night and have a good sleep dogs.” They all went home with there mums and dads and they all went home at the same time.
Nusrah Year 2
A long time ago Crumble was alone. She went to the forest and saw a man. “what’s your name?” Crumble asked
“My name’s Alex what’s your name?”
“Crumble,” he sniffed, “let’s go over there.” Crumble smelled food. Crumble and Alex ate the food and when they finished they heard a noise. They went out and saw kidnappers. “GO!” Went Crumble and Alex went to get ice-cream, it was so much fun. But on the way to get it Crumble got stuck then Alex got stuck and Crumble kindly helped Alex out and then they eats the ice-cream. She was tired and so they went home. The end.
Shaynie Year 1
Once upon a time a little dog called Crumble. He was having a wait. He stopped and stared at a creepy house. Who lives there?
A vampire jumped over the creepy house. Poor Crumble, but Super Spot saves the day.
You’re my hero said Crumble. Don’t say that I do my job.
This is my story about Crumble and his adventures. Crumble and the Spooky House and other tales meet Crumble.
Suha Year 1
Early one morning a dog named Crumble lived in a house and he didn’t like the look. So late that night Crumble packed his things up and got out of the house, then set off.
He swam in the river, climbed a mountain and road in a car, and finally arrived at a big city with big houses. He couldn’t find a home but he did find a big forest, it was very spooky, scary and cold. He found himself in a very spooky cave. Crumble was cold and hungry and had no food, he needed food and help. Crumble then found himself in an empty place with lots of food, so he ate some of the food.
Then he was in Africa, but it was very hot. Then Crumble was at a special place but it was too big for Crumble. When he thought about not having a home of his own, he found himself back at his old house. Now he liked it very much and never wanted to leave it again.
Sumayyah Year 3
Once upon a time there lived a dog called Crumble. Crumble asked his mum if he could play in the garden. When Crumble went out to the garden, he wanted to go in the woods, but when Crumble went in the woods magically dinosaur came to life. Crumble got petrified, Crumble tried to go back but there was a dead end. Crumble saw a Terodactor. The Terodactor landed near Crumble. Crumble climbed up the Terodactor. The Terodactor flew up and down and went very fast and Crumble held on tight.
When the Terodactor landed Crumble climbed down, Crumble saw a Diplodocos too, When crumble climbed climbed up the dinosaur, he didn’t have a fun ride. The Diplodocos was very slow, so Crumble climbed back down.
Thirdly, Crumble saw a Triseratops. Now Crumble can ride on all of the dinosaurs. Crumble had a much better ride than the ride from the Diplodocos. The Triserotops is really fast at walking.
Fourthly Crumble saw a Teranasoarus Rex. Crumble climbed up the Teranasoarus Rex . After he climbed up the Teranasoarus Rex he couldn’t find any more dinosaurs. Crumble found a green and magical gate, he went back and it lead him back to his garden, he went home and fell asleep
Tilly Year 1-2
Crumble the spotty dog is my best friend. One day, last summer, I took him on an adventure to the seaside. When we got there we went for a run on the beach, built some sand castles, rode on a donkey and ate ice-cream.
I decided to go for a paddle in the sea but when I came back Crumble had disappeared. I ran up and down the beach looking for him and shouting out his name. Nobody had seen him. Just as I went to tell the policeman, I saw Crumble swimming to the rocks with a little girl on his back. When I ran over to them the little girl was crying. She told me that her mum and dad had brought her and her little brother for a picnic in the cave but the tide had trapped them in the cave. Crumble had heard them shouting for help and gone to the rescue.
As Crumble swam back to the cave he saw a whale, the whale had swallowed the family and was heading to the shore. As he got there he took a deep breath and blew the whole family out of his blow hole onto the beach. At last they were all safe. Crumble and I went home happy after our great adventure by the sea.
Zainab Year 4
Once there was a dog called Crumbles who went on an incredible adventure.
First he went to Sweet Land. There was lots of candy cane trees and people were just biting the branches! There was a chocolate lake and Crumbles was swimming in it and licking the chocolate.
Then he saw another dog and his name was Ben. They played on the chocolate slide, climbed up candy trees and swam in the banana milkshake river.
Next Crumbles the dog went to the chocolate factory. And guess who he saw there… Willy Wonka!!! Crumbles had lots of fun there, and he won a whole basket of CHOCOLATE! He also saw his friend who he had met at Sweet Land, Ben, Crumbles liked the chocolate factory because there were games to play and puzzles to solve.
After that Crumbles went to the beach with his two friends, Ben and Alex. There he made lots of sandcastles and Crumbles made the tallest sandcastles anyone could ever make! He swam in the sea and reached an island where no one could ever reach. Then he said goodbye to his friends, Ben and Alex, and then went home and dreamed about having another adventure.
Zeinab Year 4
One day, Crumble woke up and wanted to go on an adventure to have some fun. One day his friend Sammy came and visited, he said “I’m going to Disneyland tomorrow mate!”
“Can I come with you Sammy?” Asked Crumble. So they went to Disneyland Paris. After they got there, there was a door that said Legoland and they went in to have a look.
There was Lego everywhere and lots of children jumping in the Lego pool. It was so fun and some children kept on stroking them a lot and they loved it but Crumble had an idea and wanted to do it.
He scared everyone away so he can play with Sammy in the Lego pool, so he did. Everyone ran away with frightment. Sammy was upset that he frightened them away and wanted to go. After that Crumble went to apologise but first he had to bring them all in. “What should I do?” thought Crumble. So he asked Sammy and said sorry and even wanted him back to help fix the problem, so he did.
They got them then persuaded them to come in and they did. Time to go home in the hotel and that’s what they did. The End.
On Monday night we took the pencil written stories and typed them up to email to the Author Mike Beale. I really have to say at this point, it is probably the most fun job I have had since launching VCP. I think what amazed me the most was how intelligent the stories are, and how imaginative and creative the children of Leigh Primary truly are. I laughed and smiled, and I completely was captivated by how the children saw Crumble and the values they attributed to Him/Her and the friendships that were forged. I really had no need to worry about our criteria being met, as these children aged between Five and Nine years rose to the challenge with style. In a way I am glad I did not have to judge them, because even now, I am not sure I could honestly pick a winner, I loved King Zig Zig, and the vampire house, Amie one of the winners with her story of the jungle, and how what at first appeared like enemies, became friends as they helped each other enthralled me. The dinosaur riding Crumble, and the friendly horses showed how easily children relate to their surroundings and look for friends, it all felt like a thoroughly heart warming experience.
Mike Beale made the tough decision, but we felt all the children should be rewarded, and they will all receive a certificate of merit and a mechanical pen to continue writing. I feel these children give me great hope for the future of writing, and they are a credit to their school and the staff who work so hard to teach them. I must admit I really am hoping we get another invite to work creatively with the children again.
I shall leave the last comments to Mike Beale who wrote to us:
What wonderful stories. We were moved by all of them and will long cherish them as part of our own Crumble’s Adventure story.
We were delighted by the imagination of the children and the wonderful story lines – Angus the long haired cow; King Zig Zig; and the Diplodocus; just to mention a few.
All of them offered interest and excitement and we cannot praise them enough for their efforts.
Every story merited a gold star, but we felt that Amie and Amber stood out.
We liked Amie’s story line and what seemed to be a very sad visit to the jungle turned into hope and happiness.
Amber followed a similar approach. We liked the 72 year old sheep dog and Crumble being part of a family with friends he(she) could play with.
Crumble’s Adventures by Mike Beale. Illustrated by Maureen Fayle ISBN 978-1-910299-06-7
Crumble’s Adventure by Mike Beale
Illustrated by Maureen Fayle
Published by Violet Circle Publishing.
Available from Amazon and all online book retailers, and from your Local Bookshop to Order.
Thank you to Leigh Primary School, Tameside, Greater Manchester, UK for all your help, especially Mrs Khan who did a lot of organising for us. More importantly, thank you to the 21 children who gave such a wonderful amount of effort, to really make this competition such a wonderful experience, all of you are little stars.
Robin and Corinne at VCP.