Login   Sign Up 


Sally does not want to go to school

by Doobee 

Posted: 13 July 2006
Word Count: 638

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

Sally did not want to go to school.

“You can have fun painting,” said her mum.

“It will make me messy,” said Sally.

“You’ll meet some new friends,” said her dad.

“I don’t need new friends,” said Sally.

“You can listen to lots of stories,” said her brother Oscar.

“No one tells stories better than dad,” moaned Sally.

“Come on Sally. Get your school bag,” said mum.

“Don’t you know the teacher is an ogre? She will most probably eat me. I am positively not going anywhere and I am certain I want to stay at home today. Thank you very much.” said Sally.

She thought what it would be like to be eaten by the ogre. She expected Mrs Ogre was a great towering giant with horrid chomping iron teeth. She would tuck an enormous bib into her collar and then roar at the children to stand in line while she gobbled them up one by one.

Of course it wouldn’t be all bad. Perhaps scary Mrs Ogre would eat up that awful Maisie Marvin too. Sally did not like Maisie Marvin. That girl liked pulling Sally’s hair far too much and she always had garlic breath.

Then she thought some more…

What if she was next in line to Maisie? She’d be eaten up while having her hair tugged and all mushed up together with Maisie into one great garlicky mess.

“Yuck. No thank you very much.” Sally certainly wasn’t going to risk that.

“Sally I won’t tell you again. Hurry up for school,” said her mum.

If she absolutely had to go Sally was going to make sure she was ready to meet the great ogre. Thank you very much.

First she ran to Oscar’s bedroom. Then she dashed to her own room. Finally she went rummaging in the garden.

At last she was ready. What a sight she looked. She was wearing Oscar’s suit of armour. She was holding a magic wand from her fairy outfit in one hand and in the other hand a great big bunch of parsley.

“What on earth are you doing Sally?” laughed mum.

“Well, I certainly do not want to be eaten by an ogre today, “said Sally. “I am wearing Oscar’s armour because it will be very difficult for Mrs Ogre to crunch through the metal. I have my wand so that I can turn Mrs Ogre into a slimy slug and she will never bother anyone again. I am not too sure it’s magic powers are very good though and I don’t know if the armour will actually work. So just in case I do get eaten, I’ve got some parsley. I’ve heard parsley takes away the smell of garlic and I most definitely don’t want to be munched into one garlicky mess with that horrid Maisie Marvin.

“Oh Sally. You are a noodle,” said Mum as Sally clunked her way into the car.

Soon they arrived at school. Sally looked all around for the monstrous Mrs Ogre but all she could see was a little old lady with a kind face and glasses on her nose.

“Hello you must be Sally,” said the lady. ”What a nice outfit you are wearing. I’m your new teacher, Mrs O’Gelly.”

”Mrs O’Gelly?” said a very surprised Sally. “I thought your name was Mrs Ogre. “

“Well they do sound a little similar,” laughed Mrs O’Gelly, “but I promise I’m not an ogre and I certainly won’t eat you.”

“Thank goodness for that,” said Sally. “I really do not feel like being eaten by an ogre today. Thank you very much.”

With that, Sally clunked and clanked her way into the schoolroom. Mrs O’Gelly seemed very nice and not like a fierce ogre at all.

Sally thought she would keep the suit of armour on just in case though.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

Nik Perring at 12:27 on 13 July 2006  Report this post
Hi Doobee,

Welcome the group. Great to see you uploading so soon. Well done.

I think you've got the makings of a great story here. The tone you've used is spot-on; it's fun, lively, easy to get into and with a really appealing main character. Sally's great!

The problem I have with it is that I'm not quite sure what it is. It's a little tricky to offer any more in the way of comments without knowing its context, if you see what I mean? Is it a picture book or is it the beginning of something longer? I think if you were to limit it in its entirity to 1000 words (tops) it'd be great as a PB, but could work equally well if it was a fair bit longer and aimed for a slightly older market.

Great start.

Looking forward to more.

Hope this has helped.

All the best,


Doobee at 12:43 on 13 July 2006  Report this post
Thanks for commenting so quickly and for being so complimentary.

I think I am aiming for the picture book market. To be honest, I have only just started looking into publishing so my knowledge is somewhat limited at the moment. These stories were written purely for my own son's entertainment. It's only the last month I've started researching the market and bought a copy of the Children's Writers and Illustrators Guide.

The stories seem to be best received by pre-school children and early readers. This one is part of a set of Sally stories and I have a few others all below 1,000 words.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks again,

Issy at 13:53 on 13 July 2006  Report this post
Hi Doobee and , yes, great to take the plunge and upload quickly.

I very much like the character of Sally, a strong willed, and single minded little girl who is going to get things wrong, just like the readers and the read-to children. There's also a theme here, that school is going to be fun and OK, no matter how scary it might seem.

I think now the first draft is down, it might be an idea to think through what is happening "behind the scenes" so to speak. Sally uses lots of excuses for not going to school but in the end she has to. I feel that she is clinging onto the idea of the teacher being an ogre as another reason for not going, it's just that it is an exceptionally big over-developed reason - it might still not be the true one. She is scared to try something new, but maybe there is another basis for her fear - perhaps she doesn't make friends easily, or will miss all the things she usually does with her mum, or maybe Oscar came home crying one day. She is having the to face the big frightening world on her own, and her mum, is in the end, just saying this is what you have to do, without being particularily supportive - tossing her out the nest so to speak.

So she gets dressed to meet the challenges as she sees them, and also maybe to make a point to her mother that she is scared, and that she does need some protection.

I think the point that needs to come out is that Sally can indeed fend for herself in this new environment, so the end needs to show this in some way. The teacher certainly says, "What a nice outfit" which is good, but maybe there could be another benefit. Maybe they are putting on a short play and because Sally is dressed as she is, she sets the theme. Maybe all of the children have turned up for school in armour and costumes because they have all heard about Mrs Ogre, and that would make a really funny picture. Maybe Sally makes friends with the other girl she doesn't like because she too has turned up with a wand and armour - and then can't wait to go back next day because they had such fun playing with their costumes together. I think if it can be worked out exactly what Sally's problem is, the end will write itself on a really good feel-good note.

I felt that a little more was needed to both pull at the heartstrings, and to give a bit more story line - maybe a few more twists and turns along the way, to build up the premise that the teacher is an ogre there could be other funny stories about her that have been misinterpreted. With pbs these need to be strongly visual.

The next stage would be to see how this works out in the normal format for a pb of this length which would be 12 double spreads (and a single if you need it).

Each page needs some action and each right hand page a minor cliff-hanger or question or something to keep the page turning.

Also needed is wow! factor. I think the part where Sally has on the costume is one place, but I think another is needed towards the end. A place where a child will be amazed or surprised or delighted.

(This is a really interesting story - the idea of the ogre is I think representative of Sally's mother who is quite strict, but of course, Sally can't think of her mother as an ogre, so it becomes her teacher.)

Just some ideas, ignore if not helpful. Quite a few writers in the children's group have done some delightful picture books if you feel like exploring.

Good luck for this series, with such an engaging central character.


Sorry Nik, I see your note has crossed with mine - you have already made the point about the end.

Kay at 11:46 on 14 July 2006  Report this post
Hi Doobee,
Good to read your story and I do like Sally.
You have already had some excellent advice from Myrtle ,Nik and Issy so I can't really add anything else except to say that I am looking forward to reading more of your work.

Doobee at 15:17 on 14 July 2006  Report this post
Thanks everyone for the comments. They've given me a real insight. I too wasn't entirely happy with then ending so I can now get to work polishing it and putting it in the right format.

Thanks again for the speedy advice and the warm welcome.

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .