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  /  News   /  Be Careful What You Wish For by Toby Adeney is the 2019 winner of the Children’s Short Story competition Year 4 – 6 category

Be Careful What You Wish For by Toby Adeney is the 2019 winner of the Children’s Short Story competition Year 4 – 6 category

WINNER! Be Careful What You Wish For by Toby Adeney
The Little Nightingale by Violet Beck
Winning! (Multiplied by 2)  by Sienna Emelia De Carlo
Toilet Travelling by Oliver Harcourt-Cooze
The Lost Diamond Earring by Nonoka Sasazawa

Judges’ comments: These stories were commendable for careful writing, a thoughtfully constructed plot and an understanding of character.  Congratulations to Toby and to the other writers on the shortlist who stood out in a field of over 125 entries.

The winner will receive $100.00 and the shortlisted authors will each receive $25.00.

Regretfully the judges have decided not to create a shortlist or appoint a winner in the Grades 7 – 9 category as the entries were not of a sufficiently high standard.


“Guess what? We’re having a baby!” said Mum.

“Yes!” I said, thinking it might be a brother. But then I realised, what if it’s a sister?? A sister would only be interested in princesses, rainbows and unicorns. She definitely wouldn’t like the same things I do. Yes, it had to be a brother, no matter what. And I had nine months to make it happen.

Later that night, I tried making my first wish for a brother. I grabbed the wishbone out of our chicken at dinner and asked Dad to pull it with me, and I won the break! I closed my eyes and wished for a brother. Then I added in a bonus wish that there would be chocolate pudding for dessert. And there was! My wishes were off to a good start.

Even later that night, just before I fell asleep, I saw a shooting star through my window. I wished with all my heart that I could have a brother. And that the star wouldn’t crash through our roof.

The next week, when I went to the park, I saw a field of dandelions. I picked them one by one, and as I blew them I wished for a brother. But then I realised that I’d been wishing so hard that I’d actually sucked the dandelion dust into my nose, and I had a sneezing fit for about a month.

When my birthday came around, I blew out the candles and I bet you can guess what I wished for…that’s right, a brother! Unfortunately I was wishing and blowing so hard that I set fire to all the party snacks…but that’s another story!

A million times a day I glanced at the clock, and whenever I saw that it was 11.11 – Wish O’Clock – I hoped and prayed for a baby brother. I even tried to stay awake until 11.11 at night, but most nights I was already asleep dreaming about all the things my brother and I would do together (mostly shooting hoops and playing video games).

I even surprised Mum by asking to borrow Cinderella from the library – I usually only read comics and graphic novels. But secretly, I just wanted to get to the bit about the Fairy Godmother so I could make my important wish. But then I realised that Cinderella’s wishes came undone at midnight, so I quickly snapped the book shut and returned it to the library – #epicwishfail!

I saved up my pocket money to buy as many packets of chips as I could. I searched each packet looking for the folded over chips, which everyone knows are perfect for making wishes. As I crunched into each chip I longed for a baby brother, and thought about all the packets of chips we could share together. Then I longed for a big bottle of water – man, chips are so salty!

Then there was the awesome day that I thought I’d pretty much guaranteed that the baby would be a boy. It started with finding a coin on the sidewalk and picking it up for a day of good luck. And then I found a fountain to toss the coin into – surely throwing a lucky coin into a wishing fountain makes it a double strength wish. Dad always says that his double strength coffees do the trick, so I thought wishes might work the same way.

Before I knew it, my time was up – nine months had passed! On the way to the hospital I crossed all my fingers and toes, waiting to meet my new baby brother, but…

IT WAS A GIRL!! I was devastated. All those wishes were totally wasted. At that point I wished I could crawl into a cupboard and hide. But Dad took me into my Mum’s hospital room to meet my sister. She looked up at me with big wide eyes and she seemed to be happy to see me.

I reached into her cradle and she wrapped her hand around my finger. I noticed that she had long fingers – hmmm…perfect for shooting hoops and playing video games. I was starting to think that maybe having a sister wouldn’t be so bad. I closed my eyes and made one more wish. Then I opened my eyes and realised that it had already come true.



  • Dimity Powell
    November 15, 2019

    Beautiful! Just the right mix of comedy, realism and beaut kid-fueled determination. A worthy winner. Congrats to all the young scribes who entered. You are all champion creatives! Dimity – who tries hard to write cool stuff like this, too. 🙂

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