Palo Alto Weekly 16th Annual Short Story Contest
2nd Place - 9-11 year olds
by Rachel Skokowsk
Hi! My name is Woody. Im a grasshopper. Well, my story is
about the day I got caught by two little girls. One day I was hopping
around the Addison field playing tag with my friends, when two little
girls with long gold hair came running through the field. As I hopped
past them, one of them said, "Hey Rachel, look at that grasshopper.
What if we could catch it? Boy, Mrs. Peck would be happy."
"Yeah, she sure would," said the other girl.
"Lets try and catch it," Rachel said.
"Uh, oh," I thought. I ran (or rather hopped) away as
fast as I could to warn my brothers and sisters. I warned all of
them except for my youngest sister Emma. As I hopped off toward
her, one of the girls ran in front of me and cut me off. I was very
scared. Then I remembered what my mommy had told me to do if I was
being chased. "You must find a sandy spot, and crouch down
and dont move." So I quickly hopped to a sandy spot and
tried to camouflage. The girls ran over and started looking for
me. As soon as both of them were standing with their backs to me,
I seized the moment and took a giant leap in the opposite direction.
One of the girls turned around and saw me! THE CHASE WAS ON! I didnt
dare stop because the girls were too close behind me. Phew, I didnt
know children were that fast. We had gone around the field twice
now and I was beginning to get tired, so, it appeared, were the
Finally the girls sat down panting. "Gosh, catching grasshoppers
is hard," said one of them. "Rachel, I have a great idea!"
said one of the girls. She whispered something in her friend's ear.
Then she ran off to a building on the edge of the field. I waited
and waited for her to come back, but she didnt. So even though
I knew it was a bad idea, I began dozing. I was so sleepy, I didnt
even notice that one of them was creeping up on me! Then suddenly
everything went dark with a soft thud!
I woke up with a start. When I looked around all I saw was white?
Everywhere I looked from ceiling to walls, it was white. The only
part that wasnt white was the floor and that was made of grass.
Then I heard the sound of running feet. And someone yelled, "Im
going to get a container and piece of paper. Rachel, dont
touch the grasshopper until I get back." Soon the person came
back. Suddenly the floor moved, something white was moving slowly
toward me. I was so frightened that I almost fainted. I backed away
from the moving white thing. But It didnt stop. It didnt
stop. It moved forwards suddenly. And suddenly I was swept on to
It. Then in a movement quicker than a flash of lightning, the white
walls and ceiling shot up. But before I could even get ready to
jump I was roughly shoved into a large almost see through container.
It was a little while before I got my senses back, because when
they pushed me into the container I had hit my head on the corner
of it. I stood dazedly up but was immediately thrown back as the
container lurched and was lifted up from the ground. It was hard
to tell what was going on outside, because the sides of the container
were glazed over. The container was carried for awhile. Then I was
bowled to the other side of the container as it was set down with
a bump. I heard muffled voices talking and suddenly the lid came
off. And I was transferred quickly into a tall glass jar.
I looked through the glass in wonderment. I was in a large room
filled with strange objects. As I dazedly looked around the room
one of the girls who caught me was breathlessly relating what had
happened to a grown person, a teacher I think. While she was doing
this the other girl was talking to a little boy whose name I think
was Kiffi or Christopher. They walked toward me and the girl showed
Kiffi me and told him how they caught me. The teacher and the girl
walked over too. The teachers name was Mrs. Peck. She said
something to one of the girls and that girl ran outside and came
back a minute later with some grass in hand. They stuffed the grass
in my jar and trickled in some water too. She also put in some twigs.
After a while the teacher and the girls and the little boy left.
I was left alone in the dark. I was a little scared. It was pitch
black except for at the window you could see the stars. By now I
was getting rather hungry. I nibbled at the grass the girls had
put in my jar. Normally I dont like grass and this grass was
no exception, in fact it was dry and tough. After that meager and
terrible meal I started looking around the jar for a place to sleep.
I remembered the girls putting in some water so I felt around for
a dry place to lie down in. When I finally found one I lay down
and started getting comfortable. I couldnt fall asleep. So
I thought about all that had happened in this long and exciting
day. Pretty soon I fell asleep.
Next morning when I woke up I yawned and stretched then looked around
sleepily and dazedly wondered where in the world was I? Then I remembered
that the girls had caught me and brought me into the strange "classroom"
and that I had spent the night there. My second thought was one
that had been lurking in the back of my mind yesterday and troubling
my dreams it was how to escape. Well, I thought, the jar is made
of glass so I cant get through it and the top of the jar is
too high to reach by jumping, and even if I did reach it there is
a strawberry basket taped over the top and even if I got out of
that the doors and windows are too heavy too open and there are
no cracks to creep through.
Well, I thought, first things first. So I started jumping. Usually
I am a very good jumper the best in my family in fact, but I was
tired from all that running yesterday and secondly I wasnt
used to jumping straight up. I was better at jumping forward. And
thirdly the jar was tall and the glass slippy. When I finally stopped
jumping I lay on the grass exhausted. Well, I thought, so far so
The room was lighter now because the sun was up. Some birds were
singing in the trees outside the window and making an infernal noise.
Now was a good time to take a good look around the place, when there
were no teachers or children staring through the glass at you and
In the room there were a lot of strange looking objects. There were
a lot of queer shaped stumps and logs lying about. There was a rectangle
shaped white thing on one wall of the building, and boxes of things
with words and pictures, "dooks" I think.
As I was studying a poster on the wall my stomach gave a loud rumble.
Uh, oh, I thought, now what I will do? The grass tasted horrible
last night and its sure to be even more stale today.
As I pondered this question I heard the roar of a car engine outside.
Though I could not see it, my senses told me that the car had parked
outside the school behind the classroom I was being held prisoner
in. I heard footsteps and a gate slammed then the teacher came in
view walking in front of the classroom on an asphalt path.
As I watched her nearing the door a sudden idea sprang in to my
head if I got out of my jar when the teacher opened the door I could
leap through her legs and escape! But it didnt work. The teacher
closed the door before I even finished thinking. Until now, I hadnt
noticed how tall this teacher really was. She towered above me while
I cowered underneath a twig that had been put in my jar. As she
walked across the room with a steady and heavy tread I thought I
felt vibrations every time she put down her feet. Her face was so
high up at first it made me dizzy to look at it, but when I finally
summoned enough courage the expression on it was not what I expected
it to be. I had thought she would have a grim and serious face judging
by the way she walked but I was wrong she had a kind and merry face.
I was extremely relieved. After she had put the bag she was carrying
down on another stump she came over to the stump I was on. She bent
down so her face was level with the jar. From close up I saw she
wasnt so huge after all. I guess I was being a bit silly when
I first saw her. She looked me in the eye which I guess since Im
tiny compared to her was pretty hard to do but she did it. "My,
my," she said. "I cant believe those girls have
caught one of those tricky fast things," she said shaking her
Hmph, I didnt like being called tricky, but I suppose she
didnt know. She looked at her watch then muttered something
under her breath and wrote something on the rectangle shaped white
thing. Then she sat down at the stump to the right. As there wasnt
much else to do I dozed for awhile, I didnt quite fall asleep
but just as I was about to, a loud noise, a bell I think, woke me
Mrs. Peck was at the door saying hello to a chattering and jostling
crowd of children. As they streamed in I noticed the two girls who
had caught me. They were with two other girls whose names were Emma
and Sabrina. They walked over to the "science table" and
started staring and talking excitedly. The news spread and soon
there was quite a crowd. Finally they started dispersing back to
the stumps and logs they call desks.
I wont tell you very much about my day in the classroom. I
mostly slept and nibbled on the grass. I had a tummy ache because
In the afternoon something interesting finally happened. My jar
was lifted off the thing I was on and carried to a rug in the corner.
All the pupils sat in a circle, I think it was some kind of ceremony
called "show and tell."
Well anyway they passed me around and talked. As I was being passed
from a girl to a boy the girl dropped the jar. I seized the moment
and started wriggling out of the strawberry basket on top of the
jar. I was almost out when one of them saw me and pushed me back
All the students went back to their seats except for the two girls
they talked quietly for a minute with the teacher then picked me
up, carried me out of doors and let me go! I set off with a leap
and a bound to my own house.
The author really follows through with the point of view of
the grasshopper. It also portrays what kids would really do. The
story is so thoughtfully written that it will change how the readers
view things. The aprreciation of nature and the natural world is