Friday, June 10, 2011

Collecting artwork

Due to our imminent closure, we recommend all art contest winners who would like their art returned to come pick them up this Friday the 10th or Saturday the 11th. Saturday will be the store's last day. If you are unable to make it into Harvard Square by then, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page, and we will try to arrange the exchange. Our situation is quite uncertain and we cannot guarantee anything past this weekend, so please try to come by!

Thank you again for bravely entering your work! Our annual art and writing contest has lived a healthy, long twenty one years and we have treasured every year's amazing submissions. 

Stay curious, friends.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Writing contest: 11 to 13 category

Hear the tick, tick tock
Of the ever present
And the whir whir tone
Of a job well done
Oh the worry, worry, hurry
Of an almost passed day
That will never ever stay

The clock ticks on
'till the day is gone
Hear the tock tock tock
And the loud and threatening knock
Of a clock taking stock
Of the day going by

Hear the clock enunciate
You are late you are late
And you can't concentrate
See the date see the date
And the time will not rebate
Now to wait now to wait
And you can't resperate
No escape no escape

The clock ticks ton
'till the day is gone
Hear the tock tock
And the loud and threatening knock
Of a clock taking stock
Of the day going by

Hear the snick snick snock
That lying little clock
Tells you just what to do
Causing quite the coo
And the ding ding creak
Of a clock about to break
Then the boom boom boom
The clock foretells your doom

First place: "Clock" - Alexandra Domeshek

I hold the ancient scroll of truth,
And in my satchel lacquer, and silk,
Mirrors, and chrysanthemums,
Gunpowder which everyone desires,
Bamboo durable and strong.
Every object ready for trade,

Soon I will reach Chang'an for trade.
When I reach Chang'an I will know the truth,
My journey will make me strong,
And the jewel of my trip will be silk.
Where I am going I'll fulfill my desires.
When I arrive the grassy lands will be covered with chrysanthemums.

There is the acrid smell of chrysanthemums.
I long for the chance to trade,
And I am beginning to doubt the fulfilling of my desires.
Will I find the truth?
Will my path be smooth as silk?
If not I must be strong.

Tired as I am it's hard to feel strong.
I need the healing power of the chrysanthemums,
I dream the comfort of silk,
And the ease to come after the trade.
I grow old as I wait for the truth
Of the outcome; will it match my desires?

Finally I reach my destination. Your desires?
May I offer you mirrors, bamboo that is strong?
I can sell you truth,
Better than the medicine in the chrysanthemums.
What do you have to trade?
I must return with something more than silk.

I have traded most of my silk.
I may not yet have met most of my desires,
But it was good enough this trade.
This jade, this sword will keep me strong,
For tea I have kept aside chrysanthemums.
A small bit for the journey back in truth.

I kept a bit of truth and silk.
I pass the mountains filled with chrysanthemums, leaving behind some desires
I feel tired but strong, and this trade has been long.

Second place: "Silk Road" - Jordan Lee

"Porky Poem"
People say, "you are what you eat,"
Let me tell you a story about me and some meat.
It was late spring, practically summer,
When the tragedy happened, oh what a bummer!
I was hogging the bacon, all to myself,
When it suddenly squealed and leapt off the shelf.
We both screamed in unison, I lunged for my fork
And that's when I realized, it was me and the pork.
I tried to stop it, but it ran away fast,
Strip after strip, it stepped on the gas.
I looked at the bacon as it ran away
And my face let on a look of dismay.
My bacon had left, it was all gone,
And now it is time for me to move on.
To find a new food, crispy and sweet,
And so ends the tragedy of the meat.

Third place: "Porky Poem" - John Vernaglia

"The Book of Animal Transformations"

J.P. sat in the garden on a lawn chair, gazing at the sky. He was exploding with boredom, but his parents made him stay where they could see him, because he was an adventurous boy, likely to run off to find excitement. The only thing around here of interest was the jungle, but his parents had specifically banned him from going into it, because they thought he could hurt himself there. At that point, his parents came into the yard and came to talk with him. "J.P., we have been thinking of letting you go into the jungle today, because you have started to look bored lately..." began his mom, but before she could finish, J.P. ran off like a rocket, hardly believing what he had just heard. Little did he know that the jungle would have a lot more surprises for him than he realized...

As J.P. walked through the jungle, he jumped and ran around because he felt so happy. When he finally calmed down, he looked around and gasped. Under a bush, he saw something glowing. Realizing that whatever could have gotten under that bush might have been dangerous, J.P. picked it up. He could hardly believe his eyes. Incredibly, against all the odds, he only held a Book in his hands.

J.P. stared at the Book. Could his imagination have started to run wild, or could the Book be fairly emanating power? He held the Book up and opened it. Inside, J.P. found a startling array of pictures and words. He scanned the first paragraph. The paragraph read: "For those who do not know the art of transformation, this will be your guide to the dark corners of the world, where all animals lurk and hide." He read the first few pages. A single article caught his eye: "The iguana has been found to be by far the easiest transformation and the best for beginners." He sat down and started to read the spell on the page, leaving the small print unnoticed...

J.P. stood up. He planted his claws on the ground and thought that this would definitely be described as the weirdest Book he had ever seen. Wait...since when did he have claws?! The Book must have done it. J.P. dashed around for a while until he realized that his new lizard senses had just started to kick in. Now he knew how hyper lizards usually felt. J.P. felt like he could run forever! After a while, J.P. finally managed to calm down. Then he started to look for the Book. When he found it within two minutes, J.P. sighed in relief. Now he could turn back into a boy if he needed to. He put the Book in a safe place, then set out to explore. J.P. felt thrilled! He, J.P., would be known as the first human to discover the glories of transformation! Then, he wondered how his parents would react when their son came home as a little iguana. The other problem was that he didn't know how to get home. He had gotten himself lost, no two ways about it. I will enjoy this time anyway while the transformation lasts, J.P. thought, defying that tiny hint in his brain, and crawled away through the undergrowth. Things had just kept going perfectly, and he started noticing a lot of things he would not have as a boy. He found a tree that acted as a disco ball (it dappled the rays of the sun on the ground), and that he could get lots of extra heat from taking a sunbath! Suddenly, a snake loomed up in front of him. J.P. felt terrified. He tried to run, but he was rooted to the spot! The snake started to sway back and forth...back and forth...back and forth...

J.P. sat up, dazed. He looked around just in time to see a large owl making off with the snake. J.P. shuddered. That had gotten way too close for comfort. He had to turn back. J.P. recited the counterspell and waited. Nothing happened. He tried again. Nothing. He could not figure out what could have happened. He had to find the Book. He scrambled off his rock, and spurred onward by fear, made his way back to where he had put the Book. He lifted and pulled at the pages with all his might, turning them until he found the one about iguanas. Then, J.P. searched for some crazy reason that would explain why he happened to have gotten stuck as a lizard! That just happened to be when he saw the small print. J.P. screamed. The small print read:

"Those who do not turn back within an hour of their transformation will get stuck in their transformed state forever, unless they go into The Volcanic Maximus. Little is known about that place, except that it is on the edge of a river. Only the bravest would be advised to go there, because the volcano has been found to be exceedingly dangerous, and can do things that any normal volcano cannot. You would be well advised to not to go there, poor trapped soul, because you would most surely die..."

J.P. slammed the Book shut. He shuddered, finally seeing the truth. He had been transformed for about 5 hours already! He had no choice but to go to Volcanic Maximus. He would probably die. That did not matter, because it would be even worse to come home as a small reptile. Suddenly, a huge gust of wind blew him into a river that had been rolling peacefully a moment before. The current pulled him under. J.P. fought for breath, grappling furiously at the Book, because he needed something to keep him afloat. Finally he grabbed the Book, and panting, pulled himself on top of it. Then, utterly exhausted, he went to sleep, on top of Book in the now peaceful river.

A loud crash woke up J.P., and he looked to see what all the commotion could have come from. The Book had run into a rock, and now had started to slowly pull away. Up ahead, many more rocks loomed out of the water. J.P. cowered on the Book, awaiting the inevitable...CRASH! The Book struck the rocks and J.P. hurled into the river. He screamed, and his mouth filled with water. Slowly, he came up to the surface, gasping for air and bobbing at a much faster rate than before. The Book floated nearby, and J.P. grabbed on. Then he saw the reason for the faster current. A tremendous waterfall loomed ahead, and the water was cascading down into the unknown with a terrifying roar. J.P. and the Book got flung over the edge, and into the abyss. Wind whistled past his face, and then he struck the water with a crash and sank like a stone. He somehow managed to hold onto the Book, and he floated up to the surface with it. He gasped in relief, but in the next few seconds, he turned as white as a gosh, screamed, and held on for his life as he got thrown over the edge of another waterfall! As he bobbed to the surface again, he felt truly desperate. Up ahead, the river forked. One way led straight to land, which he could see in the distance. One way led to a place that he could not see at all. He wanted to get on nice dry land, where he would be safe. He paddled furiously in that direction, but the river would have none of it. The current threw him onto the other path. J.P. gave out a discontented sigh, knowing that he could do nothing about the current. Then his eyes lit up. Right ahead, there was land! As the Book drifted over, he pulled himself through the shallows and onto the sand, where he collapsed with a sigh of relief.

J.P. woke up at noon. The Book lay beside him, and for the moment he had no idea why he lay there. Suddenly his predicament all came back with a jolt. He had to find the volcano, and fast. Now that he had found land, all doubts about finding the volcano disappeared. How much longer would it be until he found it? The volcano could be anywhere in the world. He looked up at the sky to gaze at the clouds. The sight took his breath away, because when he looked up, he also took in the full glory of the biggest volcano he had ever seen. This had to be Volcanis Maximus. What else could this be? J.P. climbed for hours, sliding down sometimes, avoiding falling rocks, and generally making a dangerous climb. He lugged the Book alongside him, doggedly pursing victory. His claws ached, and he was at the end of his limits. A hot gust of wind rippled past J.P. He had finally reached the summit! As he opened the Book and read the counterspell in his head, a column of wind started in the distance. A tornado! The huge twister of wind hit the Book and sent them both hurtling into the depths of the volcano!!

A hot breeze ran past J.P. He opened his eyes, to see his iguana claws set deep into a rocky ledge below. He could not be happier that his claws were so sharp! The Book sat on a ledge nearby. He inched his way towards it, every move a risk. Finally he reached the ledge that the Book sat on. He read the counterspell one more time, to make sure he had it. As soon as he finished reading, however, another gust of hot air from the bubbling lava below swept the Book from him. The Book hurtled into the lava, disappearing with a hiss. Suddenly, a crack started splitting across J.P.'s rock. A startling thought occurred to him; if he turned back into a boy, his increased weight might send the entire ledge crashing down, with him on it. J.P. looked around desperately, trying to find something that might save him, and gasped. Right above him, J.P. could see a group of ledges forming a staircase leading up to the top! He gathered up all his courage and leaped from one ledge to another, with only one thought in his mind: keep moving!! Finally, J.P. jumped out of the volcano, and he collapsed on the ground, exhausted but alive. The volcano collapsed too, caving in so it looked like a burning heap. J.P. quickly said the counterspell before anything else happened. He stood up and laughed with glee. He was back! Then he wondered what his parents would think when he came home a day after he left. They would have been devastated. Just then, he noticed a yellowed scrap of paper sticking out of the smoldering heap. The scrap read: "To turn back time after you have finished with your transformation to avert suspicion, just tap a rock three times and say the name of the animal you transformed into. You will immediately return to where you started before you found this Book, although you will keep the memory of your adventure." J.P. whooped in delight. He threw the scrap away, not even bothering to find the rest of the Book. All of a sudden, the rest of the volcano erupted! Lava cascaded down the hill, and it would engulf J.P. any second! He dashed to the closest rock, hurriedly tapped it three times and said "Iguana." Suddenly, J.P. was back in his garden, with his parents walking towards him. This time, he would just stay seated.


Max walked through the ancient volcano site, looking at the volcanic rocks. He had come there on a vacation with his parents. Just then, he saw a discarded Book sticking out of the rubble. The velvet cover read: The Book of Animal Transformation.

Honorable Mention: "Book of Animal Transformations" - Jacob Abrams

Writing contest: 8 to 10 category

"The Dynasty of the Blue-Eyed Feathers"
Long, long ago, in a jungle in Nagaland, lived a lazy, vain, mean, king peacock. The peacock ordered everybody around, but never did anything himself. He told all of the animals to bathe him, to give him fine food, and to wait on him like servants. Thus began the dynasty of the blue-eyed feathers.

In the jungle, as a subject to the subject, lived the monkey. He was humble and kind. He always helped animals in need, such as old tigers and abandoned baby snakes. As a subject to the king, the monkey had to work very hard. However, he always gave more work and time to the animals that needed help. When the monkey was little, he adored the peacock that strutted around all the time. But when he saw the pain his king was giving to the other animals, he devised a plan to overthrow the king. However, he knew the horrible peacock was clever and conniving. Even so, he was determined to help the other animals and so formulated a plan.

The peacock always made the other animals bathe in the cold stream. In the stream, he could have the choicest weeds, and the juiciest fish. He also said that the stream was his, and so no other animal could be in it for more than three seconds. One day in the summer, it was very, very, hot. All the animals were very thirsty and hungry. They longed to dip their feet in the river, just for a few minutes, but the peacock was adamant in his cruel way. And, when he made them bathe him, he told them if they stepped into the stream they would be banished. The monkey saw this, and was heartbroken for he longed to help the other animals. Even so, he knew that if his plan worked, they would never have to worry again.

He went up to the peacock in the river and said, "Peacock, your feathers are so beautiful and your is so shiny and strong." The peacock puffed himself up and said, "That's right monkey, I am the most beautiful creature every."

"Oh yes, and your voice is so enchanting," Monkey silkily said. "Yes," the king vainly said, "I am the best speaker in India."

The monkey then excitedly put his plan into action by saying "I have an idea, Peacock! I'll write you a speech, so all the animals can see your greatness!" The peacock readily agreed. The monkey was going to write a speech, but a speech that would make the entire animals group together and banish the Peacock. And since the Peacock was so used to other people doing things for him, he would read it by habit!

On the day of the speech, hundreds of animals were gathered to watch the big occasion. Some were hungry and tired, some were thirsty and hot. However the peacock was stuffed with expensive food and had servants fanning him with ferns. Monkey ran up to him holding the speech. "Remember, Peacock, read loud and clear in your beautiful voice." The peacock nodded. He went over to the pedestal where he was to give the speech and started reading....

The speech was full of all the horrible things he did, and said that because he had done so many horrible things, the rest of the animals could banish him from the kingdom! But, out of habit, the Peacock kept on reading in his "fabulous voice." Immediately after the speech, all the animals grabbed the Peacock and threw him out of Nagaland, never to return. All the animals crowned the monkey king, and they all lived happily ever after.

The moral of the story is if you work hard and take care of yourself and others, you will go far in life. If not, watch your step!

First place: "Dynasty of the Blue-Eyed Feathers" - Jeremy Ornstein

"Black Willow"
Once upon a time a man lived in the Amazon rain forest. His job was to chop the trees there. One rainy day he spotted a beautiful Black Willow tree, and he thought he could make a lot of money out of this beautiful rare Black Willow tree. So he decided to chop it. But suddenly a Indian came and said, "If you chop this tree you will die!!!"

Of course the man didn't listen to this stranger.

So later that night he grabbed his ax and threw it at the tree. And then what he saw no person should ever see. MAGGOTS. Millions of Black Maggots!!!

Thirteen weeks later he found himself at the hospital with his wife at his side. She was saying "You're alive! You're alive! I never thought I'd ever see you again!"

After a couple hours, he felt good enough to walk the mile home with his wife. So he did.

Later that evening he talked to his wife about what happened to him.

At every word she would yell "How horrid!!!"

Later he started to brush his teeth, and then he noticed that his skin was unusually dark he thought it was a trick of the light, so he went to bed.

The same thing happened for a couple of weeks, and each night his skin got darker and darker.

And one night his skin was pitch black. He wasn't looking where his hand was, and he cut his hand and millions of black maggots started pouring out from the cut!!! Then he knew the Indian was right. He was going to die!

7 years later

Jonathon was hiking in the area. And he saw an Indian with a skeleton filled with black maggots next to him. What a coincidence, my father died that way so the boy said "My father died that way," as he pointed to the skeleton.
The Indian looked up at him and stared hard then he said, "Hmmmm, yes I once met a man who looked like you. Actually you look almost identical."


econd place: "Black Willow" - Emmett Lewis-Hoeber

Third place: "I Have 9 Lives" - Robert Shapiro

"(I'm) A Work in Progress"

Dear readers if you are reading this you must know that if your name is Dad, Mom, Sister, or Brother, you are not, I repeat not, allowed to read this book, for this is my diary.

September 7 - Today was the first day of school. I get the feeling no one is going to like me as a friend. The teacher never called on me, and when we picked sticks for playing tag, I got the shortest.

September 9 - Today the teacher called on me at least five times! I found two best friends. I answered the question of 60 divided by 50, which is One Point Two. Third grade is awesome.

September 12 - Today for lunch we had pizza, my absolute favorite lunch. I found out that every Wednesday they have pizza for lunch. We also started having homework. This is the day that I dreaded would come.

September 18 - Today we got a class pet, a new hamster. We named her. . . ah, well, we did not name her yet. Also today at lunch, Ellen Robbin's mashed potatoes flow off her fork and landed on my face! Andy Fischer started yelling "Food Fight", so I threw my mashed potatoes in Ellen's face. Mrs. Windsor slipped on the mashed potatoes and with a big thud landed on the ground. She sent me, JUST ME, to the principal's office. I said that Ellen threw food too, but Mrs. Windsor didn't listen.

September 20 - Today at lunch Andy Fischer once again yelled "Food Fight" at me and Ellen. Ellen said "Knock it off mister." And I said nothing. I was too afraid I would get sent to principal Shortscrabl's office. Then the school bully came right up to me. His name is Eric Tuff. I must say, his name matches his personality...

September 23 - Eric came up to me again today. He said to me "what is ninety plus forty?" I said "easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy". He said, "what is it?" And I said "one thirty". Turns out he is in kindergarten. Must have had a growth spurt or something...

September 26 - I found out that it's easy to stand up against Eric. His older brother is the school bully. His name is Randy Tuff. His last name only PARTLY matches his personality. He is really soft on someone of the girls (mostly Agatha and Lucy).

September 28 - I got suspended from school. And get this, I didn't do anything! I was just selling cupcakes and Randy stole one! Then Mrs. Windsor happened to walk by and Randy threw the cupcake and it landed on her backside. She seemed really mad and embarrassed at the same time. She yelled "Who did this!!" Then Randy said that I did and that's how I got suspended.

September 30 - I'm still suspended from school. I tried to explain to my mom it was Randy and not me. And I can't even play video games at my own house! But luckily my mom was on a conference call most of the time so I got to sneak a few computer games. That is the good part of being suspended the bad part is not being able to play your favorite video games like Little Big Planet or Super Mario Brothers.

October 1 - I am still suspended from school and still complaining to mom, "I didn't throw a cupcake". Why would I do such a thing? I knew I would go to the principle's office. And here I am suspended in my own house. They wouldn't even let me go to school to go to my own sister's birthday party. "Don't you think they should let a sister unite with her older sister?"

October 4 - I am only partly suspended. I go to school; I get all my assignments and homework but I stay in the principal's office to do my work. The principal usually asks do I want a little snack? If I say "Yes," which I usually. He says, "two milk shakes and one hamburger, which means two juices and a sandwich. Usually we split the sandwich.

October 5 - Yeah! I am fully off suspension and goodness knows its Mrs. Windor's birthday. No wonder she let me come to school. She said it wouldn't be a party without each and every one of us. I don't think she's right; she suspended me for nothing. I wrote in my math book on page 54, Unit 5, in very small handwriting, "Mrs Windsor has trotters." I hope she doesn't see that when she checks my math because it's a very rude thing to say to your teacher especially one as mean as Mrs. Windsor.

October 7 - I came up with a few nicknames for Mrs. Windsor. On Tuesday one of them is "Bloody Mary" which is about someone who likes to make wars between children. Mostly children of the Martinez School and teachers of the Martinez School mostly herself. I think she baths in dirty water and doesn't wash her hair. I also think it attracts flies.

October 10 - Today it was Lucy's birthday. She brought cupcakes, each of us got one. They were really, really tasty. Andy Fisher who liked the two words "Food Fight" licked the frosting off his cupcake and threw it at Andy Carter. Andy Carter ate the cake off his cupcake and threw the frosting in Any Fisher's face. And I think this is the worst part, I was right in the middle of the two I had cupcake on one side of my head and frosting on the other.

October 12 - Today is my birthday!!! My mom insisted that I must go to school on my birthday maybe there will be something special. I don't believe there will be something special but I just go to school anyway. I bring in 25 cupcakes, one for Mrs. Windsor and one for everyone else in my class.

October 14 - Today was a regular old school day. Actually not so regular. Randy came up to me and said give me that basketball. And I said "What basketball?" I didn't even have gym today. And then he said, "The basketball you were holding earlier." And I said, "I wasn't holding any basketball, maybe it was Lacy she looks a lot like me." So he went to Lacy and said, "Give me that basketball!" Then Lacy asked "My pretty pink basketball that I was playing with?" And he said, "Yes, give it to me." So Lacy gave it to him and he gave it to Agatha.

October 16 - Lacy found out that Randy gave it to Agatha. Lacy told Agatha it was hers and Agatha gave it back to Lacy. Lacy was really happy and she spent all afternoon playing with it.

October 18 - Mrs. Windsor said to me that she would be babysitting me while my parents go out of town. I couldn't believe that my parents would do this to me. Didn't they know?

October 22 - It wasn't that bad, she let me stay up super late and she let me have dessert. In fact it was really, really fun. And before I went to bed at night I told her the real story of the "Food Fight." And she said she was sorry. And I felt bad that I wrote that in my math book...I erased it.

October 24 - Guess what Mrs. Windsor is babysitting again. This is the happiest day of my life. She lets me stay up late and have dessert and we have lots of fun, She said Halloween was just around the corner and we made signs and put them in my front yard. We bought itsy bitsy spider webs and put them on trees so trick treaters would get them in their hair. After that we made some signs that said Happy Halloween Love, the Goblins of Martinez School. We put it next to a flashlight and put the flashlight in the front yard so it would be projected on the side of the house.

October 27 - Today I realized if I just tell someone the truth; everything will be all right. I also learned that school is the best place to be!!!


Honorable Mention: "(I'm) a Work in Progress" - Grace Valaskovic

Writing contest: 5 to 7 category

First place: "Compiss" - Nalani Jones

Once upon a time there was a girl named Super Girl who can fly. Whenever there is a problem - like when scary stuff happens to people - she saves the day and she fights whoever is the bad person. There is a monster who causes trouble for Super Girl's town. The monster is the bad girl of the whole city. She goes into every house scaring the people so she can steal the stuff she wants. The monster steals stuff because she doesn't have a store near her house.

One day, the monster was in Super Girl's house and she scared Super Girl's friend. The monster was going to scare Super GIrl too, but Super Girl can fly, so the monster couldn't get her. Then at the end of the fight, Super Girl punched the monster out the window. Then the monster got hurt, but just her legs. She had to go to the hospital. After leaving the hospital, the monster goes to Super Girl's house. The monster went upstairs to Super Girl's garden to steal her flowers. But Super Girl noticed - she thought it was the monster so she went and fought the monster. Then she got the flowers back and watered them and gave them sun to grow.

The End

About the author

Macy is five years old. She lives in Boston. Her favorite color is pink. She goes to school in Cambridge in Pre-K and wrote this story as a school assignment. When she grows up she wants to be a clown and fashion modeler and ballerina and news reporter so her dad can see on t.v.

Second place: "Super Girl Who Saves the Day" - Macy Rhie

Third place: poems by Calla Walsh

Honorable Mention: "Tiny Coffee Cup" - Baylor Diamond

Art Contest: 11 to 13 category

First place: "Duke Ellington" - Nicholas Ornstein

Second place: "The Queen of Hearts" - Charlotte Holt

Third place: "Same Stuff As Stars" - Sophie Mark-Ng

Honorable Mention: "Violet Comes to Stay" - Sara (from Newton)

Art Contest: 8 to 10 category

First place: "George's Marvelous Medicine" - Nayeon Chung

Second place: "DK Visual Encyclopedia of Science" - Bennett Graff

Third place: "The Princess and the Pea" - Cassie Schierer
Honorable Mention: "Curious George & Curious George Goes to the Aquarium" - Kyle Sampson

Art Contest: 5 to 7 category

First place: "Sweet Dream Pie" - North Graff

Second place: "Mystery of the Circus Clown" - Sarah Merklin

Third place: "Paddington Takes to TV" - Augie Hawk

Honorable Mention: "The King's Taster" - Esther Cull-Kahn