The Keen Character-Builders

With their love for interior dialogue and returning to the same universe week after week, Ms. Reaves’s fourth-grade class at Baldwin Elementary shared a love of character that made their stories as fun to read as they were to share. Their well-reasoned arguments helped us choose between invisibility and flight, and their eye for human detail made even the strangest characters both interesting and relatable.

Emily Beyda
Badgerdog Teaching Artist


The Random Story

Billy had a pet named George. The both wanted to go see an underwater movie, but when they got there they were told, “No dogs allowed.”

Billy wanted to get further in the line, but it was huge and he couldn’t get through. Once all the seahorses passed, it was finally Billy’s turn. He tried to go in, but they wouldn’t let him, so he tried to get through the gate.

Sharks started coming his way, so he swam deeper until he got to the theater. The sharks stopped, and so did he. After the movie, Billy and George were running out of air, so they came back to the surface and the seahorses started following them.

Billy started the engine, and the seahorses caught up as Billy and George made it to the surface. Billy knew the seahorses just wanted to play, so they did it again and again until the day ended.

Isy Cherakuri


The Nice Witch

Hi, I’m Jessica. I have a big secret. You can’t tell anyone. Okay. I am… a witch. I am a nice one, though, but everyone thinks I am mean. I try to sell potions that heal people or make them less ill, but they run away because they think I am a real witch. The bad kind.

One day, I met this guy named Bobby. I noticed he was having a bad day like me, so I went up to him and started talking. It turned out we had more things in common than I thought. Every day after he got home from school, I would play with him or help him with his homework.

One day, my mom told me we were going to move in two weeks. I told Bobby, and we were both sad because I was his best friend, like he was to me. Then I came up with a plan.

To be continued…




Just think about being invisible. You could sneak through your house to get your electronics when your parents say no. If you could fly, you could only fly through the house while being seen, so you would get in trouble. If you could be invisible while playing football, you could see the other team, but they couldn’t see you. If you could fly while playing football, the other team could see you, so they could dodge you!

Luke Vail



I think being invisible would be better than flying because you could sneak up on anyone. While flying, your cape could get stuck in a jet engine and you could die. I think invisibility would help you get away from trouble, and you would always win at hide and seek. Flying would be bad because bad guys could shoot you down, so that’s why I want to be invisible.

Peterson D.


The Cats and the Hotdog

One day, there were three cats, and they all wanted a hotdog, so they headed to the hotdog cart. Then a seahorse came up and gave them a fine for $10,000,000. They put their money together to pay the fine. Then they paid the fine, but they didn’t have any money left, so they couldn’t get a hotdog.

The cats walked home, but before they got there they saw someone walking to the hotdog cart. They walked with her, and once she paid they jumped on the table and grabbed the hotdog and ran away. The lady chased them and realized they didn’t have a home, so she paid for a new hotdog and let the cats eat the last one. Then she took the cats home.

Laura Shulze


The Strongest Dog in the World

One day in 2015, a 1,000-year-old dog wanted to be strong, so he tried to sleep, but his wife was making so much noise that it caused the earth to crack into two halves. The crack happened to crack their house in half, too, and then the dog that wanted to sleep started drifting away in space. Then he was able to sleep to gain enough energy to work out, so he became the strongest dog in the world, or at least on his half of the world.

Alex Stevens


The New Friends

One late afternoon, I was walking home from school when I turned the corner and bam! There was a girl standing in my way. It looked like she was talking to someone on the phone. I didn’t really care and walked around her.

I was almost home when I heard footsteps behind me. It was her! She followed me the whole way home! I asked her, “What is your name and what do you want?”

She replied, “My name is Ella. I want a friend who has a simple name. What’s your name?”

“I’m Donny,” I said, feeling kind of bad for her.

“Do you think I could stay with you for a night?” Ella asked. “I am lost.”

“Oh,” I replied. “Okay.”

So we walked home and talked about how bad school is and different things we liked. We are now friends, and we have one other friend we hang out with at school, so life is pretty good.



Minecraft Adventure

One day, I played Minecraft with an old iPad. I turned it on and changed my name to Nazara. Once I clicked play, I got sucked in! Once I was in, I could see that I was a villager, and I couldn’t move my arms. I was freaking out!

After a little while, I went up to a boy named Jonny. I told him what happened. I tried to get out, but I couldn’t.

Jonny said, “I am a scientist in training. I can help get you out!”

I just nodded.

Soon, he made something and I drank it. I felt dizzy, and when I woke up I still was still a villager and Jonny was outside the screen controlling me!

He said, “I am finally a human!” But after two hours, Jonny got sucked back in, and I got to go. I was out controlling Jonny and I changed him into a character that could move his arms. I also gave him pigs to play with and a huge house! Every day I added something to Jonny’s house.



Zadif and the Annoying Song

One day Zadif was sky diving. Nyan Cat flew by and sang his song, then he flew away. Zadif got the song stuck in his head. One day later, he went insane and tried to get the song out of his head. He went mental! He couldn’t get the song out of his head. Nyan Cat flew by and sang his song, and Zadif’s head blew up. Nyan Cat did this because he loved annoying people, but then he blew up because he got the Narwal Song stuck in his head!




Those innocent girls have no idea what trouble they are getting into, I thought, gazing into the black and gloomy distance. My tail splashed around in the blue water. “I will get those tailsmans before they do!” I screamed. “I defeated their ancestors. These puny mermaids have no chance against me. Ling, Serafina, Neela, Becca, Ava, and Astrid will not succeed.” The black pearl glinted in the distance. “What if I get Astrid on my side? I can give her song-casting powers, and she will help me release Abandon, the sea monster, who will destroy the seven seas.” I laughed deeply.



The Line

There was once a guy named Joe who was not very smart. He was in a very long line, but he couldn’t wait for the line to move. He decided to cut the line, but he didn’t have any scissors to cut the line with. However, he had a lamp with a genie in it. The genie came out and asked Joe what he wanted. Joe said, “I want a pair of scissors!” The genie gave him a pair of scissors to cut the line. When he tried to cut the line, it didn’t work, so he kept trying. To this day, Joe is still trying to cut the line.

Marcus Reaves


The Hotdog Aliens

Hi! I’m Samantha. This is the story of my best friend, Jacob. One day, Jacob was walking around the calm and peaceful park. He saw trees, benches, and stands, including hotdog–wait! Hotdogs?! He loved hotdogs and needed them whenever he saw one.

Jacob took out his wallet, but he had no money! He thought the best thing to do would be to ask people at the park. He started walking until he saw two green, slimy aliens. They were walking towards him with dangerous material. Jacob turned around and started running in the opposite direction.

He was almost to his house, when bam! He ran right into another alien. He ran to the left after letting out a terrified scream. But there were aliens there too! And that way and that way! Pretty soon, Jacob was surrounded.

He screamed, “Somebody please help me!” Then he heard the sound of money dropping on the ground in front of him. It was the aliens! All along, they just wanted to help. Then the aliens turned and went away. Jacob went back to the hotdog stand and bought two delicious hotdogs. From that day on, Jacob could always get fresh hotdogs with the help of his new friends, the aliens.



The Cupcake Teacher

The alarm clock had just gone off. I stepped off my bed onto the purple carpet I’ve had since I was five. My dad got it for me. Well, I got dressed, ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, and walked out the door.

Sigh. Walk, walk, walk, and walk. I stepped onto the white tile, looked at the clock, and ran. I opened the door, and my heart stopped pumping. My lungs stopped breathing. My head stopped swirling. My legs stopped running. All of my body was still as ice. My eyes watched every little step.

His face was so grumpy. His cake part was so crummy. My history teacher was a cupcake! He or she–I didn’t exactly know–pointed to an empty desk in the back of the room. My mouth still open, I walked to the end of the room. My classmates seemed fine. They seemed to think it was so normal that our history substitute was a fat, grumpy cupcake.

Wow, this is just embarrassing, I thought. Ok, now I’m fainting… Wait, why am I still in my bed? Oh, I guess it was just a dream.

But it felt like it was real. Hmmm. It was just another lame Sunday. Stomp, stomp, stomp, went my brothers Harry and Ben down the stairs. “I want pancakes! I want blueberry muffins!” they screamed. It’s so crazy they’re twins and completely opposites.



Murderers vs. Cupcakes

Once, a cupcake ran around the park. On the fifty-second lap, he found some cheese. He started walking towards the cheese, but he spotted another cupcake. He hid behind a bush. The second cupcake disappeared when he hid behind the bush. What? thought the first cupcake. He walked towards the cheese. Then some bloody murderers jumped out from behind a bush. “You’re mine!” Said the first one. The cupcake ran for his life. He grabbed a butcher knife and threw it. It missed, but it hit the second guy’s shoe. He fell over and shot the first guy’s hand. That guy screamed and fell over and they both rolled down to the highway and were never seen again. The cupcake took the cheese and sat on the lawn for the next twenty minutes eating the cheese.



Cupcake Fight

I saw a girl who was sad and depressed, kind of like me! She had a black jacket, black pants, a black shirt, black hair, and even greyish looking skin. I was a little scared, but I walked over to her.

“Hi. My name is… Cup… Um… Cupcake. What’s yours?” She looked up. Her eyes were the most beautiful colored eyes ever! They were a radiant blue, like an amazing ocean. She opened her mouth, and I thought, I wonder what her name is? Instead, she came and ate one of my cherries!

“Hey, that’s my hair!” I screamed.

“Whatever,” she mumbled. So we, um, kinda got into a fight. She attacked. She licked my frosting. “Ew!” I yelled. My turn, I thought. I backed up, made a running jump and… hugged her.

Her entire body flew into the air and plopped onto the ground. She was wearing bright colors and had blonde hair. She said her name was Jenna-Menna-Fenna-Kella-Bella-Thrella-Joe. Cococake walked up and ate Jenna-Menna-Fenna-Kella-Bella-Thrella-Joe. Then I ate Cococake and walked away.

Elena H.


Ape Apocalypse

One day, there was a guy named Fred. He was in an ape apocalypse. The ape infection was making apes smart, and they were killing everyone. Fred needed to get to the stairs to heaven so he could escape. But the stairs only came down once a day, which was a problem, considering there were apes with muskets guarding it. Fred made it to the stairs, but there were apes. Lots of apes. He started to shoot the apes. After three hours, he ran out of ammo, but the stairs came down. He ran up the stairs, but at the top he found undead intelligent apes! Then he ran, smashing apes with his AK47 until he was cornered. Then an ape with a knife came and… Wait… What? It was all a dream!




Cheetoland looks like a yellow-orange planet. It smells like cheesy goodness. Everything feels fragile and hard. It tastes like powdery goodness. I heard a lot of cracking and I felt hungry until I saw a surfing dinosaur who was invading the city, which was defended by superhero cheetos!




Unicornland is a hot pink color. It tastes like candy, and it always sounds happy. It feels happy no matter what. It smells like cotton candy. It’s run by King Unicorn, who is crazy and wears a Batman costume. Some unicorns are made of Jell-O, so you can eat them. There are giant blue slushies for the unicorns’ houses.



Star Wars Simone

One day, there was a girl named Simone. She was walking with her sister when a Tai Fighter swooped down and kidnapped her sister. Simone chased the Tai Fighter, but it jumped to hyperspace and flew away. Simone was really sad she lost her sister, so she dialed Ray’s phone number and asked if she could teach her to be a jedi. Ray said no. So Simone went to Hasa to steal a ship. Her plan succeeded and she blasted into space and, luckily, she had implanted a tracking device in her sister so she could find her if she got lost. She followed the purple line on the tracking device, and it took her one year to get there. When she got to the Death Star where they had taken her sister, she got blown up!



Zombie Einstein

One day, Zombie Einstein ran out of money because he didn’t have a job, so he decided to become evil. He set off to rob a bank, but what he did not realize was that Super Sand decided to do the same thing.

Even though they were buddies, Super Sand was greedy and stole the money from Zombie Einstein. Zombie Einstein decided to turn against his partner. He tried to shoot him with his machine gun, but Super Sand was made out of sand, so it wasn’t effective.

What Zombie Einstein did not realize was that the only way to kill Super Sand was to blow him up. After five weeks, the battle kept going. As normal, Zombie Einstein’s bullets were uneffective, but once he saw the grenade in his pocket he realized that he had to use it.

He put on his jetpack and went out through a hole in the ceiling, took the money, and dropped in the grenade! The explosion spread for miles. Once it was over, he realised he had not only killed his friend, but destroyed the whole town. He dropped the money. One day he died. That is the story of Zombie Einstein.

Austin Wine

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