Illustrator Leslie Osmont, 12, for Speaking Upby Rachel Weary, 10. Published November/December 2004.
A note from William Rubel
This newsletter is going to be a very short one. I mentioned last week that today i am in San Francisco cooking a restaurant dinner for 40 or so people, and it's rather taken over my week! I hope you'll get by with a few updates and a couple of stories this week, with the promise of normal service being resumed next.
Science writing contest A couple of weeks ago I issued a challenge to readers to think about science fiction writing. This is a reminder that we want you to enter our science fiction writing contest! Think about ways that you could explore science through your writing. Are there particular scientific concepts that you could incorporate into a work of fiction? Is there a way you could play with an objective fact to make it into something creative and new? Is there something you have learned or imagined about science that you think you could make into a story? We want to read your ideas about science and the world in your fiction. Get thinking and writing, and submit your science (fiction) story to us before 1st April.
Until next week!
Books, books and more books!
The first book reviews by Stone Soup readers who volunteered to help us with our book pile at the end of last year have started to come in. Thank you, reviewers! We will be publishing all of them on our blog, in a special new books section, starting next week, so do look out for their comments and recommendations on some of the best new books coming out right now. We are working with some of the big publishers to develop a Book Club for Stone Soup readers, and to get more review copies of books out to those of you who are keen reviewers (first on the list some of those we didn’t have enough books for in the last round). More details on that will come through the newsletter in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, if you think you’d like to get involved with reviewing books, get in touch with Jane or Sarah by replying to this newsletter.
Have you been keeping up with our young bloggers on the website? We know that lots of you have, because you’ve been leaving some really great comments. If you haven’t had a chance to have a look yet, do check in on the blog page to read the latest from this fantastic group of Stone soup writers, and tell them (and us) what you think. And if you have an idea for a blog you’d like to write yourself, get in touch and tell us about it.
By Vera Litvin, 13 Illustrated by Haylee Collins, 13
Toly hid among the tall grasses of the tropical forest. He could feel the cold sweat trickling down his face. The tiger was standing close now, so close Toly could feel its pulsing breath. The vibrant black and orange of the tiger’s coat hurt his eyes. It couldn’t see him; only the tiger’s keen sense of smell told it Toly was there. Toly waited for just the right moment and then in an instant, with one smooth liquid movement, Toly found himself mounted on the beast’s back. The tiger was growing more obedient now; Toly felt its warm fur beneath him. “Run!” Toly told the tiger and it ran. Ran fast over crannies and ditches, carrying Toly further and further away from the city. Toly felt the wind ruffling his hair, violently blowing in his eyes, forcing tears to form. He had done it! He was riding the tiger. He was the conqueror. He was . . .
“Toly!” his mother’s voice reached him as though it was coming from somewhere far away. “Wake up! It’s nearly seven o’clock!” The beautiful forest, the mighty tiger, the smell of the moist soil; all disintegrated as if they never were and Toly drowsily opened his eyes.
“Aw, go on, Mum, five more minutes,” he pleaded desperately. Anything to win him more time.
“No!” his mother retorted firmly, and left the room. Toly’s sheets were cold with sweat, but he knew that he had done it; he had ridden the tiger!
Toly detested school; no, he feared it. Most of all he feared Derek, the school’s bully. He feared him with a fear hard to describe, a fear that engulfed him like a giant wave, a fear that made his knees give way and his stomach tense up at the mere mention of Derek’s name. By rights Derek should have been a stupid lug whose fist did most of his bidding. But it wasn’t right, nothing was ever right. Derek was cunning, calculating and strong—he was a tiger. Yet the fear Toly felt for the bully and the tiger were different as could be. The fear of the tiger was invigorating, it caused every vein to thrill and stand to attention. The fear of the tiger was rewarding, it made Toly feel a strange sense of achievement. Made him proud. Yet the fear of Derek made Toly feel none of those things. It made him want to crouch down really small and hide somewhere in a dark hole where no one could find him. Ever.../ more