December  2015 Newsletter - Dream, Create, Write
Unit 5 – Writing from Pictures
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December 2015 Newsletter

Dream, Create, Write
Engaging Your Imagination


Unit 5 – Writing from Pictures
Dear Readers,

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight, At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more, When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death, And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again,” wrote C.S. Lewis in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When I think of creativity and imagination, Lewis’ brilliant work The Chronicles of Narnia immediately comes to mind. Lewis beautifully intertwines Christian theology and life lessons throughout his imaginary world of Narnia. Painting a beautifully vivid picture of his invented world, Lewis truly grasped the concept of imagination and creativity through his writings. Unit 5 Writing from Pictures is one of my favorite units, as students must engage their imaginations and be creative. As you will see, our Level B samples use identical pictures, but the young authors narrate the story differently. That is the beauty of imagination!
Congratulations to our student-authors who were published in
this newsletter:
  • Hannah Simmons
  • Annalise Wood
  • Kambryn Lowrey
  • Taylor Bennett
  • Jessica Andress

Are you looking for a Unit 5 writing prompt?
Try these pictures illustrated by Sarah Ryherd. 


Thank you to everyone who submitted their work to our Unit 5 newsletter! We encourage you to keep writing and submit again!

Have a wonderful Christmas,

Megan L. House
Magnum Opus Magazine Managing Editor
800.856.5815 x5101
The Case of the Moving Carpet
by Hannah Simmons, age 11
Reprinted under fair use. Illustration by Harris Burdick

          Mr. Smith, an elderly gentleman, who resided in a broken-down apartment building with peeling paint, longed for an adventure. He gazed around at his old fashioned furniture, which decorated his small, shabby room. Outside his window, taxis, cars, and people hurried along the crowded, foggy streets like ants swarming a picnic. He had fought in the army back in his younger days and had experienced many terrifying yet sensational things and now wished he could have more excitement in his life. Here in the city, nothing exciting ever happened to Mr. Smith for he rarely left his dreary apartment.

          Otis, a potbellied grey mouse, was bored as he rested on his small, worn red cloth that served as his rug. His tidy knothole was not very exciting. Every time he had ventured out to scrounge for food and passed the man’s open window, he smelled something buttery, which made his mouth water. Otis longed to venture out into the mysterious world to discover what made that smell. He desired to devour something other than stale crumbs! Leaping up excitedly from his rug, Otis raced toward his door.

          Mr. Smith picked up a chair to hurl at the enormous lump moving around under his carpet. Otis had scrambled out of his hole only to discover he was stuck under the newly installed carpet, but had still tried to follow his pointy nose toward the appetizing smells wafting in from the open window. On his way, he had overzealously crashed into a side table with a lamp perched on it, toppling the table over on its side. Hearing a thump, Mr. Smith had spied the lump swiftly moving toward his window! Startled, he had hoisted the chair above his shiny, bald head and yelled, “Prepare to die!” Under the coarse cottony carpet, Otis silently shivered, “If I survive this, I’ll never look for an adventure again.” Standing there, sweating in fear, Mr. Smith thought, “Once this is over, I’m going to make some tea and enjoy my quiet life.” The mysterious lump twitched. Mr. Smith aimed. Otis cowered.
Adventure of the Water Hose
by Annalise Wood, age 12
          During one hot summer day, a bird, which was extremely hot because it was 100 degrees, spotted a water hose in the distance. It was awfully warm today. The bird did not have a pool to swim in, so what will he do? What he needed was an awesome and cool sprinkler. During the afternoon, the kids played and had already cleaned up their sprinkler, so he had to figure out how to do this. Brutally, he pecked at the unbreakable pipe for two hours to create a homemade sprinkler. Because the hose was twelve tough layers, it was hard, but he would not give up. The bird could not believe that he had broken the pipe, but he did.

          Finally the cold water flowed out of his homemade sprinkler. He was extremely happy. When his homemade sprinkler that he worked so hard on, blasted cold water, he danced around it. Around the hose he danced. He called his dance “The Birdie Jig.” When will he quit? The water, which continued to flow quickly, was freezing and felt so wonderful. Happily and gracefully he danced while the hose continued to flow. Dancing in the water, the bird smiled.

          Suddenly the bird heard the door crack and footsteps that sounded as if someone was stomping around the house. During the stomping, the bird realized that it was the hose’s owner who was loudly stomping. Standing in the middle of the yard, he wondered, “What will I do?” Because he was coming closer, the bird sprinted as fast as his short and narrow legs could carry him. He hid behind a bush. The bird heard a loud bang, which was the gigantic door closing. After the door closed, the bird had a slight smirk on his face and wondered, “What kind of trouble would top today’s adventure of the water hose?”
The Chicken with an Unquenchable Thirst
by Kambryn Lowrey, age 12
          Below a house, a baby chick plucked a hose so it could gather some water. The persistent chick kept plucking. The plants, which needed water constantly and deliberately, began to wither. Although the chick continued to drink water and fill its stomach, he wondered, “Will it ever stop?” Finally after hours of drinking and devouring, the chick stopped with a full stomach. He belched. Since his beak was parched, the chick plucked the hose one last time.

          From the berserk hose, which was leaking terribly at this point, water sprayed everywhere. Since the chick had damaged the hose beyond repair without knowing, he became startled and lost his balance. Shaking with immense fear, the chick cowered and cringed as the hose danced wildly around him. Impulsively, he fled from the endless water coming from the hose. The hose leaked incredibly.

          After a time, the baby chick finally escaped from the hose, which was spitting out a torrent of water. While the plants were drowning from such an insufferable amount of water, the ground was also becoming muddy. Extremely stuffed and beaming, the baby chick started searching for his family. He peered here. He searched there. He observed everything everywhere. Smiling and feeling quite smug, the chick noticed his family and friends visiting under some trees. The baby chick bravely returned to the hose to quench his thirst once again, while the hose continued its torrential flood.   
A Prize-Worthy Disaster
by Taylor Bennett, age 15
          Corrinne hummed softly as she gently folded whipped egg whites into her cake batter. Although she was only in high school, Corrinne was quickly becoming known throughout her small town as an accomplished baker. Tempted to believe the rumors that she was destined for the Cooking Channel, Corrinne strove to remain realistic. Frequently she reminded herself: “I’m not good enough. Yet.” Today could change everything.  In only a few hours, only a few miles away, only a few of the state’s top young bakers would have their best work judged by an accomplished pastry chef. Corrinne had been eagerly awaiting the competition, but now as the hour approached, she began to feel a tinge of apprehension. Slowly she tasted a finger-full of the batter.  Her grandmother’s prized strawberry cake, a secret family recipe, had always been a favorite; Corrinne had naturally chosen to enter it in the competition. As she poured the batter carefully into a sheet pan, she evaluated the impression the batter had left on her taste buds. Corrinne’s heart sank. Her cake batter, while silky and fluffy, seemed to be in want of something more. What could it be?
          Andrew snuffled the sugary air. His sister’s cake was baking. It was time to move. Naturally, Andrew, an impish young lad of seven, had planned a roguishly grand surprise, but he had to move quickly. Although he had appeared to be engrossed in a video game for the past hour, he had been covertly observing the action in the kitchen with a watchful eye. Determined to reconnect with his sister, who oftentimes acted as though he were invisible, Andrew planned to sneak a super-special secret into Corrinne’s frosting. Vinegar in hand, he tiptoed into the kitchen. No sign of Corrinne—perfect. Atop a kitchen stool, he ogled the bowl of frosting. It was creamy—and boring. “This’ll give it a whole new depth of flavor!” Andrew articulated in his best attempt at the TV pastry chef’s deep voice. Unsurprisingly, he had no idea what depth of flavor really was, but he assumed that it had to be something scrumptious. Andrew quickly unscrewed the lid on his bottle of balsamic vinegar, quickly dumped a decent amount into the ivory frosting, and quickly whipped the spoon around a couple of times. Before Corrinne could return, he scurried away to wait for Corrinne to discover the grand surprise.
          When she returned to the kitchen, Corrinne instantaneously strode to the counter to examine her frosting. Peeking over the edge of the bowl, Corrinne stifled a scream. Her beautiful ivory buttercream had been replaced by a brownish goo which was bubbling tempestuously as though it had been provoked.  “Andrew what have you done?” Corrinne screamed as Andrew slunk into the kitchen. “I know it was you, so don’t even try and deny it. How could you?” Timidly, Andrew met his sister’s enraged gaze.

          “I just poured in that brown vinegar stuff. I just wanted to give it a whole new depth of flavor. Like on TV,” Andrew offered with a remorseful grin.

          “A …?” Corrinne’s eyes flickered suddenly. She cautiously dipped a stray strawberry into the bowl, slowly coated it in the frosting, and hesitantly took a bite. Her taste buds sang opera! Miraculously, the tart and tangy vinegar combined with the sweet, succulent strawberry to create a sensation that was delightful—possibly even prizewinning! Glancing at Andrew, who now had tears pooling in his eyes, Corrinne was hit by a flood of gratitude—and guilt. “Andrew, I’m sorry,” she admitted after a moment. “I completely overreacted. Your vinegar actually saved the day. Will you forgive me?” Tearfully Andrew nodded his consensus. Before either sibling could utter another word, however, the oven timer chimed, and Corrinne left the counter to examine her cake. Now it was surely prize-worthy!
Fanatical Fashions
by Jessica Andress, age 16
          Winter raged outside. It battered the shutters, whistled down the chimneys, and threatened to burst asunder the front doors of the ancient mansion with its exceptionally gusty breadth. On that frigid afternoon, when the wild wind fumed over the frosted lands like an enraged stampede of buffalo, and the fire crackled and sizzled with additional profusion, Mrs. Alexandra Garthen relaxed contentedly in her favorite armchair. Daughter of the Duke of Manchyle, she had inherited a particularly affluent, handsome mansion in the northern portion of England. She was also the wife of the infamous yet eccentric doctor, Sir George Garthen, whose esteemed personage was recognized throughout London. Settled comfortably in the old leather chair, Alexandra delighted over the latest magazine addition of the Royal Fashion. Hardly more than an hour ago, she had indulged in a quaint, though not entirely pleasant, visit with her mother-in-law, Lady Charlene, who was peculiar yet amusing in her own way. They had chatted about numerous topics: the uncommonly chilled weather, the pompous lords and ladies who had participated in a charming revelry hosted by Lady Charlene last weekend, and the health of Sir George. Alexandra feared the stress of his work had perturbed and disrupted his demeanor. Of late he had committed to exhibiting bizarre behavior. As she mused upon this, an outlandish sound directed Alexandra’s attention away from her thoughts. Prying her eyes away from her magazine, she glanced up.

           Her breath escaped her. Swinging back and forth on the priceless diamond chandelier like the pendulum of a clock, Sir George cackled hysterically, whooped in amusement, and yelped with delight. His sleeves had been rolled up shabbily to his elbows and plucked of their cufflinks. His professional appearance was ruffled, and his tie flew behind him like a flag. When he swayed backwards, his sandy hair billowed wildly. He was a comical sight. Somewhere on the ground lay his business coat, top hat, and unblemished silken gloves. From what Alexandra gathered from the appearances of these recently disposed items, she concluded that her husband must have entered the room without her awareness, stripped himself of his formal accessories, clambered up onto the chandelier, and discovered a means of swaying backwards and forwards without demolishing it. As he careened above her head, Alexandra, who wondered why on earth he indulged in such dangerous amusements, remained indifferent. Twice he nearly fell.

          Calmly Alexandra observed as her husband performed his enthusiastic yet imprudent presentation. Obviously the stress of his work had disrupted his organized, collective mind. Alexandra sighed. This was not the first time her husband had engaged in such a juvenile behavior. Only last week she had spotted him flinging himself out of a window and landing in a most uncomfortable position into their pool far below in the backyard. According to the theory of Sir George’s physician, such unruly activities were a form of stress relief. Although Alexandra hardly believed in such foolishness, her husband digested every word with unwavering faith. Back and forth he swung on the chandelier while Alexandra followed him with her eyes without the slightest alteration of her features. She was not concerned. The famed Sir George always knew what was best, and if he had a mind to soar on a chandelier, then evidently he would succeed in accomplishing such an exploit. As Alexandra observed her husband, an idea fashioned within her mind. She would mimic the style of her husband’s rolled up sleeves, cockeyed tie, ruffled hair, and disrupted glasses in order to create a fashion which the whole of southern England would adore. Granted, the style would not thrive in the north and expel profit, but the south had recently taken a fancy to wild appearances, and she knew more than a dozen such eccentric characters who would be willing to purchase the fashion which her husband now displayed. Perhaps she would name it “Swingin’ Styles.” Grinning over that name, Alexandra scooped up her magazine and engrossed herself once more in the styles of royalty while Sir George leaped off of the chandelier, landed upon the floor in an ostentatious flaunt, gathered his hat, coat, and gloves, and strolled leisurely out of the room.

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