When Emily was 4 years old she wanted to be an author. Well, that and a dentist. And a paleontologist. We used to tell her she could write books about dinosaur teeth. I love this kid.
Anyway, the girl loves to write – poems, stories, lists, you name it. She actually came home the other day super excited because she and three of her friends at school decided to start a series of novels – they had assigned books and themes to each other, and were supposed to go home and start that day. Emily did, writing the first two chapters of her book and begging me to let her type them out on my computer. I have no doubt in my mind that she was the ringleader of that operation, especially since it seems the other three girls haven’t begun working on their stories yet.
Earlier this week she got in the car super excited about her homework (not an unusual occurrence). Her teacher had finally given out an assignment that she had done once earlier in the year. Apparently Emily had been waiting and waiting to do one again, and had already basically completed the whole thing in her head in the short 20-minute window between receiving the assignment and getting in the car.
The assignment is called “Squiggles,” and the idea is to complete the drawing that has been started on the paper and then write a story about the illustration using words on the spelling list. Emily’s just started reading the second book in the Harry Potter series, and she said the second she saw the paper she knew it was a tree.
Here’s her story:
The Deadly Willow
One day, after a week of school, me and my two best friends, Jane and Rose got in the car and my mom drove us to main street.
“A bee just stung me!” said Rose as she pointed to a huge bee in the car. Everyone started to panic.
“It’s okay girls,” said my mom. “It’s just a bee.”
When we got to the house my older sister Molly walked to the door. “There’s a huge bug in the house,” she said as she looked for the bug. We didn’t listen. Instead we just pleaded my mother to go see the rose tree. She told us to eat our dinner first.
“Can you read the funny fairy tale again mom?” I asked my mom.
“Yes dear, I will,” she said.
We had finished our meat, so my mother told us to get in the car and drove to a weird sign that was broken. We found another broken sign too! We found other weird things. Then we came to a stop. What stopped us was a tail.
“What’s that?” asked Jane. She started to tremble.
We couldn’t see anything in the fog. After that a lion came toward us. He had a long red mane.
“Grrrr!” he growled at us. Jane screamed. All of us ran inside a bush. We ran out the other way. All of us were surprised to see a little tree.
“We shouldn’t be here,” said Rose. It looked very weak, but it was on the floor, not the grass.
My mom took a step forward, then all of the sudden the tree turned huge. Skulls came out of it. The pretty floor turned into a dirty field. My mom stepped back. It was too late, the tree grabbed her and ate her.
“Mom!” I screamed to the top of my lungs. Molly made me, Rose, and Jane run all the way back to the car.
“At least I can drive!” she said. Molly drove me, Rose, and Jane back to the house.
We each had the weirdest dream ever. We had called the tree the Deadly Willow.
The story was originally called the Whomping Willow, but I told her she couldn’t steal Ms. Rowling’s idea, so she changed it to Deadly Willow. I just love how the story seems all over the place, (most likely due to the necessity of using random spelling words as part of the assignment), yet she finds a way to bring it all together at the end by making it a dream. Her expressiveness, her details, and her descriptions make me so incredibly proud. In 11 years of teaching I never had a student capable of writing like this, and it just blows me away.
Did I mention I love this kid?