LSSU Young Authors
Tall Tales Anthology
FALL 2013, VOL. 1
Contest Judges and Anthology Editors
Fall 2013 LSSU English Language Arts Methods students
Under the guidance of Mary McMyne, Professor of English, LSSU
Luke Barry
Beth Browe
Brittany Brown
Cassandra Bruni
Martina Finateri
Arielle Kammers
Hannah Kjiersdam
Josh Leach
Alex Liedke
Candace Mangone
Chelsea Olander
Alyssa Rickley
Sam Schlosser
Janessa Stutz
With Thanks To Our Sponsors:
LSSU Department of Education
LSSU Department of English
Superior Children’s Book Festival
We proudly present the anthology of the 2013 Lake Superior State
University Young Authors Tall Tales Writing Contest. This anthology displays the
writing and in some cases illustrations of the nine students who comprise the
winners and runners-up in the third, fourth, and fifth grade categories of our Tall
Tales Writing Contest.
This Contest was a service-learning project by teacher candidates in the
LSSU Education Department as a part of Professor Mary McMyne’s language arts
and literacy skills course. The teacher candidates worked together to design a
lesson plan that called for third, fourth, and fifth graders to write tall tales. The
lesson was then distributed and presented to area schools in the Eastern Upper
Peninsula of Michigan. Area elementary students in third, fourth, and fifth grades
then participated in the lesson and completed their own versions of tall tales to
submit to the contest. Teacher candidates judged the contest using a rubric they
created based on Common Core Standards, and then worked together to edit the
winning entries for this anthology. We hope everyone will enjoy these creative
renditions of tall tales created by these young authors.
This anthology could not have been completed without support from the
LSSU Department of Education, the Superior Children’s Book Festival, Mary
McMyne, Professor of English, LSSU, Professor McMyne’s Fall 2013 English
Language Arts Methods students, the teachers, parents, and families of students in
our local school districts, and all the students who participated in the contest.
Table of Contents
Third Grade
Winner: The Red Giant and the Mountain by Adam Shubel
Ms. Verstrate, Brimley Elementary
The Mer-Mountaintop Secret by Betty Kovas
Ms. Verstrate, Brimley Elementary
Erik Has No Friends by Kaleb Radle
Ms. Bell, Pickford Elementary
Fourth Grade
Winner: The Rhyming Manes by Kendra Blair
Ms. Gibbons, Soo Township Elementary
The Baby Named Amy by Delaney Cushman
Ms. Gibbons, Soo Township Elementary
Launched by the Laundry Chute by Alana VanDerMeer
Ms. Jones, Brimley Elementary
Fifth Grade
Winner: Samuel and the Magic Paintbrush by Bonnie Li
Ms. Wolski, Soo Township Elementary
Casper the Elephant vs. Spar the Cheetah by Hannah Coneset
Ms. Wolski, Soo Township Elementary
The Doomsday by Ayla Kilponen
Ms. Hutchinson, Lincoln Elementary
The Red Giant and the Mountains
Adam Shubel
Chapter One: The Red Giant
Once upon a time there was a really big giant. She came to this really small
town with lots and lots of mountains. The giant loved the mountains so much that
she kept on picking up the mountains and putting them in her yard. That’s how
much she loved the mountains. She started an avalanche when she stomped
sometimes. She could even pick up the school if she wanted to. That’s how tough
she was!
Chapter Two: The Fire
One day she was walking around the block when she smelled something
bad. Her mountain was on fire. “Oh, no!” she yelled. She ran back to her mountain.
Then she realized that there was a pack of matched on the ground. She was so so
Chapter Three: The Lesson that the Giant Learned
After she put out the fire with her winter breath, she turned back into a
human. She learned her lesson. Her lesson was: never let people go on your
mountain with matches.
The Mer-Mountaintop Secret
Betty Kovas
All about the Author: I am eight years old. I love tall tales. You will find some
adventure in this story. I am in school, my school is Brimley Elementary. I have
an awesome teacher, Mrs. Verstrate. Thank you for reading!
Chapter 1: Bella’s Gift
One day there was a little girl who loved mermaids. She went to an island.
She went down by the beach. In the rocks she found a cave. There was a full moon.
The water started going up in the air. Bella jumped in. She stayed there because
she felt like she belonged. All of a sudden, boom! She grew a tail. She used her
hands to dry off.
She ran around, “Yes, I have powers like mermaids.”
She went for a swim. “Oh yes! I love this.”
Her mom walked up. Bella turned invisible.
“Bella, come here!”
She dried off, “I’m here Mom!”
“Come on, I was waiting for you. Go wash the dishes.”
“Wait, Mom! I’m not supposed to do them, Cleo is.”
“Ok, but you will do them tomorrow. Ok?”
“Can I do them alone?”
“Ok, but don’t break them! Ok?”
“Yes Mom, you rock!”
Chapter 2: Comet Attack
The next day she told Emma, her sister about her tail.
“Awesome!” she said, “I want one!”
“No! You do not get one. I am the awesome one!”
“You are mean. Well, I will figure it out anyway and I will become one.”
Then Cleo came in. “What was this about mermaids? O.M.G.! You have a
“Powers too,” said Bella.
“Wow,” said Cleo.
That night Bella went to the moon pool. She saw a thing that told her a
comet was coming to get us. That day she told her sisters and they told their mom
that a comet is coming. She said, “I know.”
“We have to go,” said the sisters.
“We have the best spot to see it here!”
“Go get the H20, ok?”
“Cleo, can you get the water?”
“No, you go get it!”
The next night Bella went to the moon pool. The moon pool was shooting
out water. She got in and used her powers to make a water wave. She made it go
high. BOOM! The comet went away.
“Yes!” they all said.
They celebrated. “We rock, we are glad you are a mermaid. An awesome
“Thank you,” she said.
Chapter 3: Boyfriend Cooties
Bella’s boyfriend, Will, kissed her.
“I knew you could do it, but how did you get the comet away?” Will asked.
“Ohhh… Umm, well I have to show you something. It’s a long story.”
“I have time,” said Will.
“Well, it all started when I went to Maco and it was a full moon. There was
this place beneath the rocks. I felt like I belonged. There was a pool with water that
started shooting up in the air and I jumped in. Then I grew a tail.
“Let’s go to Maco, to see what happened to you.”
“Not today, it is a full moon,” said Bella.
“If I get hit, I will go crazy and I may lose my powers. I do not want to lose
my powers.”
“Fine, I will go alone and tell your sisters,” said Will.
“You promised you would not tell,” said Bella.
“Well since you won’t come, I will tell them.”
“Fine, I will come, but keep me away from the moon pool, or you could get
hurt. I could zap you with my powers.”
Chapter 4: Not Again
That night she got hit. She made lightning go after Will. Will went into the
tent. So she picked up the tent with her powers.
“There is going to be another comet, get the girls in the moon pool now or I
She put him down. He ran and got the girls.
“Bella needs you to be mermaids.”
“Because your sister needs help to stop the comet” Will went on.
“I will teach you how to use your powers, ok? But be careful, ok?”
That night they went into Maco. They went into the moon pool, and they
grew tails. That day they learned to use their powers. Then they took a deep breath
and jumped in. They used their powers little by little and BOOM! They hit the
comet out of this world into space. They celebrated and that day Cleo got a
boyfriend, named Wyatt, and Bella was so happy that she used her powers on
accident. That is how the snow got on the peak of the mountains. Now every full
moon somebody finds the snow and says, “I wonder how the snow got up here.”
They never found out, so you have to keep this a secret.
Erik Has No Friends
Kaleb Radle
Erik is a nerd; he isn’t that cool. Until one day he came back to school and
said, “Just because I’m a nerd doesn’t mean I’m not cool!”
The next day, he came back to school with a monster truck bigger than the
whole school! But people still laughed at him.
And then he came back again the next day with a one-hundred-pound
weight. He was the only one who could lift it! But they still didn’t like him.
And then he finally found out that all it takes is to be nice.
He said to this one kid, “Hi, want to be my friend?”
The Rhyming Manes
Kendra Blair
Once long, long ago there was a girl named Jane Mane. She could rhyme
any word in the whole world with another word. Jane thought she was special.
Jane had started rhyming when she was 1 month old. “House, mouse,” said Jane.
It was amazing! When Jane was 3 years old she won a rhyming competition. Each
year she made her family money by winning competitions. She won about fifty
competitions a month. Each time she tried out, she won 1st place. She won fifty
dollars each time!
“How beautiful!” said her dad.
“How amazing!” said her mom holding the 50 life-sized trophies from the
“What an amazing daughter we have,” they both said.
One year later her little brother came along, Cane Mane. He had the same
power as Jane.
“Double the kids, double the money,” said their mom and dad.
Jane was mad; she kicked, she pounded, she hollered, she screamed. She
didn’t think it was fair that her little brother had the same power as her.
When she was 15 years old and Cane was 11 years old, they tried out for a
rhyming competition. They were going against each other. They had been
preparing for weeks.
Finally the day had come. They wore their best clothes and ate the biggest,
healthiest breakfast in the whole world. The judges gave hard words but they both
rhymed quickly. They both rhymed words for two days in the same challenge
because they were so good. They didn’t know when it would end. Three more
days passed. They were still rhyming! The last day of the challenge Cane got
sick. He had to drop out! Jane was more than happy; she jumped, she cheered, she
shouted. She was the happiest girl in the world. She went back to the competition
the last day. The last word she had to rhyme was Mississippi.
“Ehh-ahh-uhh-uhh,” said Jane. She couldn’t think of any words to rhyme
with Mississippi.
“3-2-1,” said the judges.
“ERR!” went the buzzer.
Her time was up. She lost the competition.
“50 dollars down the drain,” said her mom and dad.
They stomped out of the city hall. They started losing competitions sooner
and sooner. Each competition they tried out for, they lost. Soon they couldn’t
even rhyme house with mouse. They started losing money. They lost so much
money they couldn’t pay their bills. The bank took their house and all their things.
It was horrible. How could they make their money back? They were living out on
the streets.
“What to do, what to do?” said her dad.
A few months later, winter came. They were struggling to find food and
water. They almost froze to death. Soon they found a huge abandoned mansion
and moved in. There was everything they needed: food, water, and a big heater.
To this day the Manes live in the same mansion and still can’t rhyme.
The Baby Named Amy
Delaney Cushman
Once upon a time there was a girl named Amy. Amy was amazing, smarter
than anyone on Earth, and could do everything perfectly as a baby. Since she was a
baby she could talk, read, and beat everyone when they challenged her with the
subjects: math, spelling, and science. Amy was so smart as a baby that she became
a tutor for college students and adults. Amy did everything perfectly since she was
a baby.
Amy was so smart that nobody liked her except her Mom and Dad. The
teachers didn’t like her because she was always correcting them. No one would
play with her because they thought she would brag about being the smartest girl on
Earth and doing everything perfectly. They also didn’t like her because she was
smarter than them.
One day Amy caught on that nobody liked her. That was the one moment
she felt stupid. She couldn’t think why nobody liked her because she was always
so nice to everyone.
The next day Amy found out nobody liked her because she was smarter than
anyone on Earth and did everything perfectly. That night Amy took her homework
and changed all of her answers to the wrong answers.
The next day at school when it was time to grade math she to herself,
“Maybe if I get bad grades and don’t correct the teacher people will like me?”
She hoped it would work. When the class was done grading math, Amy got
her paper back and across the top of her paper was a big bold E written in red pen.
After that everyone liked Amy because she stopped correcting everyone and they
were now smarter than her. They also liked her because she was not getting good
grades. Amy didn’t like that she was failing school, but she liked having friends.
She liked having friends, but she liked having good grades too. Amy didn’t know
what to do for once.
One day she decided to get good grades instead of having friends. When she
started getting good grades again people didn’t like her anymore. She was sad at
first, but then people started to realize it didn’t matter that she was the smartest girl
in the world or that she did everything perfectly. They realized that she didn’t brag,
she was nice, and had a big heart.
Everyone, even the teachers, realized that you shouldn’t judge someone by
how smart they are or how they do something. They thought she was going to brag
about being smart and doing everything perfectly. The important thing is to never
judge someone by their brain. If you do, you won’t be very smart yourself!
Launched by the Laundry Chute
Alana VanderMeer
One day, Alana was at her best friend Bella’s house. Bella has short, shiny
brown hair that shines as bright as the sun and sweet brown eyes that you can’t say
no to. They were having a fantastic time at an awesome sleepover. The sleepover
was so good that if it got any better it would definitely get up and start dancing.
Bella asked Alana and her sister Anna if they dared her to go down the
horrible laundry chute.
“Yeah!” said Anna.
“No way! Are you crazy, girl?” Alana said. Fortunately she was.
Bella was just about to go down the laundry chute when I thought about
telling her mom. I ran down the stairs two times faster than a cheetah. I ran into
the wrong room as I was thinking about just as much as a rock.
It turned out that the room Alana was in was the laundry room. All of a
sudden, Bella came flying down the laundry chute and busted a hole in the top of
the dryer. She went inside the dryer and went around and around twice, then flew
out the top of it.
She just kept on going higher and higher. Bella went into the clouds, then
into outer space. She glided past the moon. Bella must have landed on Mars
because when she came back she was in a UFO, it was a dark green color. Bella
must have had a ton of fun because she had a smile on her face that was a mile
long. Bella decided she was not going to do that again, even though she had fun.
Samuel and the Magic Paintbrush
Bonnie Li
Long ago, a little boy named Samuel lived in a village in the Southern part
of America. His family was very poor and both parents passed away when Samuel
was very young. He could only live by doing some hard work and chores for a rich
landlord. The landlord, Juan, was cruel and mean to Samuel, but Samuel never
minded what he did. He loved to draw, but couldn't afford a paintbrush and paper,
so he drew on the ground with sticks. He drew whenever and wherever he went.
The pictures he drew kept getting better and better until they looked real. How he
longed to get a paintbrush!
One night, lying in his straw bed in his hay shed without anything to eat, he
began to cry and yearn for a paintbrush. Then, he slowly fell asleep and had a
mysterious dream. In his dream, an angel smiled warmly at Samuel and gave him a
beautiful golden paintbrush. Then the angel disappeared, in a flash of golden light,
and Samuel awoke with a start. In his hands lay the golden paintbrush the angel
had given him. Then the angel disappeared in a flash of golden light, and Samuel
awoke with a start. In his hands lay the golden paintbrush the angel had given him.
Samuel excitedly drew a handsome rooster with its proud head high and a
beautiful set of fiery red feathers. Suddenly, as Samuel watched in amazement, the
rooster jumped off the wall and began strutting around the shed and crowing
loudly. It was alive! Samuel understood that this was a magical paintbrush and
painted some food on the wall. Out popped the food, and Samuel began busily
eating. He also invited some other poor people nearby to enjoy the delicious food
with him. When they came to his shed, the poor villagers were amazed to see
Samuel drawing on walls and the things popping out. Some villagers asked for
food or comfortable clothes and tools, and Samuel kindly drew them.
When the Landlord, Juan, heard the rooster crowing from Samuel’s shed he said to
himself, “How can a poor boy have a rooster in his shed?” Juan peaked through a
crack in Samuel’s shed and his eyes almost popped out! There, standing, was
Samuel and other poor villager while Samuel was still painting and things were
popping out.
Now the sly landlord called his policy buddy and made up stories about how
Samuel stole many things from his house, and how he stole a rooster. The
policeman and Juan went to capture Samuel and when they found him he was
holding the mighty rooster, and other slaves were holding silk clothes, yummy
food, and riches. The policeman handcuffed them all and put them in jail. But
Samuel didn’t mind. He drew a door on the cell wall and walked right out of there.
The landlord and policeman both were very surprised and figured that the paint
brush was magical and that everything Samuel drew would turn into reality.
So, they both demanded a golden mountain so they could be really rich. Samuel
agreed and drew a golden mountain on a distant islanded surrounded by a great
blue sea.
“We wanted it right here and now, how are we going to get to it?” screamed
the greedy Juan and the policeman
“A boat,” replied Samuel calmly and he drew a beautiful sailboat.
As the policeman and landlord boarded the boat they ordered, “We want
wind to movie it!”
So once again, Samuel drew wind in the picture using nice flowing strokes
of his magical paintbrush. A little breeze set the boat moving.
“More wind, more!” shouted Juan, and Samuel kept painting.
A storm brewed, and the sky turned from blue to grey. Wind blew so hard
that the two people had to hold on to some ropes, and they still looked like a flag
flying on a windy day. The boat looked like it was about to fall apart!
“Enough!” screamed the policeman. But Samuel didn’t hear him. He kept
streaming paint as wind on the picture until the boat sank. And, sadly, the two
people drowned.
All the poor village people cheered for Samuel as he began unlocking cells
to let the villagers out. Samuel was their hero!
Since Juan was gone, they all invaded his house and divided his riches.
Samuel helped everyone by using his paintbrush.
Everyone lived happily ever after.
Casper the Elephant vs. Spar the Cheetah
Hannah Coneset
Once upon a time there was a tiny elephant named Casper. He was blue
with green polka dots. Casper had a fear of his own shadow, but his tusks helped
him climb like a monkey.
One day when Casper was trotting through the forest, he felt the ground
rumble. When he looked up, there it was, acting big and tough: a tree that apples
were falling off of.
Casper and the tree had a nice long conversation.
“Would you mind if I took a snooze under you?” Casper politely asked the
“Go ahead,” the tree answered.
Casper awoke to the feeling of another rumbling ground. He made sure the
tree above him wasn’t losing apples again, however the tree wasn’t losing any
When Casper turned around, there it was, a gigantic cheetah. Casper had
seen this same exact cheetah before. He called the cheetah Spar. Casper feared
“I told you that I was going to come back,” Spar shouted.
“B-u-u-u-u-t-t-t you weren’t k-k-k-i-d-d-d-ing?” Casper wept.
As the two looked at each other, Casper knew it was time to run! And that’s
exactly what Casper did.
When Spar saw Casper running, he bolted away. When Casper was out of
breath, he looked behind him and there was Spar.
Just then when Casper was about to star running again he shouted to Spar,
“If you want to go, let’s go, Mr. Tough Guy.”
For once Casper felt like Mr. Tough Guy.
Spar was furious! He was so mad he started to catch on fire!
“That’s it!” Spar said to himself. “It’s on like Donkey Kong!” he hollered.
Casper now thought that he shouldn’t have said what he had said to Spar, but
Casper and Spar were on! Spar took a lunge at Casper. Casper used his super
powerful tusks to climb the tree, but he forgot cheetahs could also climb. Spar
immediately pushed down Casper’s tree and Casper came tumbling down onto the
He knew when and what he was going to do to Spar.
The when part was easy peasy lemon squeezy, the time was now! Casper
bounced into the air and went soaring through the sky. Up, up, up he went. Before
you could snap your fingers Casper was in outer space!
Casper knew all he had to do to get back down to Spar was to say, “SuperPowered Awesome Roar!” (This is where Casper got the name Spar from.)
Poof! Casper was back to Spar.
He got on the tree branch and lunged on top of Spar’s head.
“Get off of me, you baby!” Spar demanded.
Casper put his hand in Spar’s mouth, reached down to his stomach, grabbed
his skin and then turned Spar inside out.
Spar was never, ever mean to Casper again.
The Doomsday
Ava Kilponen
One day a woman was walking on the beach near her home when all of a
sudden she saw something move. She went over to see what it was. It was a small
baby girl lying in the sand. The woman took the baby home with her and told her
husband about what had happened. He said that they could keep her as if she was
their own. “What should we name her?” Mom said.
“How about Taylor?” suggested Dad.
“It’s great!” exclaimed Mom. They thought Taylor would be like any other
kid in the world, but that thought was about to change.
It was Taylor’s third birthday. It may have started out fun, but it wasn’t
going to stay that way. Luckily there were no other kids at the party, or they would
have screamed as Taylor started to float in the air. Her parents were terrified.
“How did she get up there and why are her eyes turning red?!?” screamed
her mom. Taylor now had heat-vision, and was burning anything she looked at
instantly. Her parents didn’t know if they should run or try to help her out.
Well, whatever they did made it worse. She was floating around the room,
and picking things up that even her dad couldn’t lift. Soon, she had started to calm
down. When she did, she fell asleep as soon as she landed in her dad’s arms.
“What happened to our little girl?” said her mom – still very scared about
what had just happened in their living room. They went over to Taylor’s room to
put her in her bed to sleep.
So they wouldn’t wake their frightening daughter up, they tiptoed out back
into the living room. Dad went to sit on the couch, but when he did, the couch fell
in two.
“What are we going to do with her now?” asked Mom.
“I don’t know anymore,” said Dad in a scared way.
The next day they talked to her about what happened on her birthday. She
was now even scared of herself and didn’t know what to do either. So she said she
would learn to control her new and scary powers.
By the time Taylor was sixteen, she knew how to control her powers.
Sometimes she used them to show off to friends and cute boys. She may have been
a girl with powers, but she could live a normal life.
It was just another day at school when all of a sudden a teacher came
screaming out, “We’re all going to die? We’re all going to die!”
“What are you talking about, Mr. Shaw?” asked Taylor.
“I saw something on TV that said a meteor the size of the world is coming
straight toward Earth. It also said it will hit us two weeks from now!” Mr. Shaw
Taylor, her friends, and everybody else in the hall was scared out of their
minds. What would they do when it hit? Was it all a joke, or did Mr. Shaw mean
it? Everyone that knew worried for the rest of the day – that is, everyone but
Taylor. She was sure she could save the world, but how would she do it? She
would need help, but from who? She was the only one like this, and who would
believe a girl could save the world? The only thing she knew was that she needed
to do something – and fast!
The next day, Taylor looked on the Internet all day for someone that could
help her in any way. Everyone she found was either a fake, or they didn’t believe
what she was saying. Then, she found someone that could help her. He knew all
about it and said where to meet him.
Luckily they lived in the same town and got there quick. They talked about
what they could do when they found the meteor. “I can send you up to space, and
you can stop it,” he said to her.
“Sure; anything to save my family and friends,” Taylor responded.
So, they went to the guy’s spaceship control center to get her ready for
blastoff. She was going to put the suit on, but she decided to check if she could
breathe in space. She flew up into space and found out that she didn’t need the suit
because that would just waste air when she didn’t need it.
It was kind of like she was Superman going out to save the day. But she
wasn’t like Superman. She wasn’t fearless, and she wasn’t big and buff like him.
She was scared out of her mind, and she didn’t know if she could do it or not. She
might die but still save the world.
Well, she didn’t care if she died or not. She was going to save the world. She
had all the stuff she needed in the ship.
“Time to get going into space,” the man said.
She went up into space and looked for the meteor. Then she saw it. It was
the biggest meteor she had ever seen. Now it was time to destroy it. First, she used
her laser-vision. Then, she used her super-strength to whirl it away from the Earth.
She saved the world!
She went back home, and went back to school, but she always kept her eye
out for anything that could be a danger to the world. She also went up into space
once in a while when she wanted to be alone even though she had a good life. She
went down in history as the girl who saved the world.
Kendra Blair, Hannah Coneset, Delaney
Cushman, Ayla Kilponen, Betty Kovas,
Bonnie Li, Kaleb Radle, Adam Shubel,
and Alana VanDerMeer
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