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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something suitable for CHILDREN (05/31/07)

TITLE: Bunny's Best Friend
By Bryan Coomes


Dusty, a true mutt in every sense of the word and Ronald, a cute and cuddly bunny, were best buddies as they had lived together on the Hathaway Farm for several years. It had not always been so with them as each had come to live with the Hathaways when they were young and it was some time before they developed a friendship. Initially they regarded themselves as rivals for the attention and affection of the Hathaway’s daughter Lisa, but through time it became apparent that Lisa’s love was enough for the both of them. She would spend countless hours brushing each of them and every evening she would cuddle with them in front of the fireplace before her bedtime.

Dusty and Ronald’s friendship began on a seemingly ordinary cool autumn morning. Mr. Hathaway had gotten out early to tend to the livestock and the farmhouse was abuzz with activity as Mrs. Hathaway and Lisa were busy with the routine chores of preparing the meals, washing the clothes and linens, and caring for the twin toddlers and the infant. Dusty was dozing in the backyard under his favorite shade tree and Ronald was busy nosing around for something to nibble.

Scattered rustling and crunching of the fallen leaves caused Dusty’s ears to suddenly perk up. As the degree and frequency of the sounds slowly increased, Dusty lifted his head, his drowsiness disappearing. Something had tingled his keen sense of smell as well and he scanned the backyard until his eyes spotted the prize. Without warning there was a sudden blur of orange fur darting towards Ronald, who remained unaware of the imminent danger he faced while being consumed in his quest for food.

Dusty sprung into action as he barked loudly while speeding like a bullet towards Ronald, hoping to get there in time. The two foxes were lean, mean and hungry therefore Dusty’s barking did not dissuade them from pursuing Ronald. They were closing the gap quickly when Ronald, whose oversized floppy ears shot straight up, finally noticed their approach. Ronald then bolted towards the farmhouse, his soft pudgy body hurdling as fast as his short squatty legs could carry him. But the foxes continued to press on towards him, constantly gaining ground.

With one final surge, Dusty angled his approach so that he rammed broadside into the nearest fox who then slammed into his hunting companion, causing both foxes and Dusty to tumble into a heap on the ground while Ronald was able to make it to the safety of the farmhouse. Quickly all three were back on their feet and Dusty found himself in a fight for his life. The foxes were an experienced hunting team as they both thrust and bit in perfect rhythm with one another, which made it nearly impossible for Dusty to effectively defend himself.

Each lunge and each nip were finding their target and Dusty’s fierce growlings began to contain slight whimpers. He knew he would not be able to hold out much longer. As he began to feel his strength waning from both the wounds inflicted and sheer exhaustion, his back leg gave out and he slipped and fell to the ground. Just then the foxes began running back towards the woods from where they came and Dusty could hear a familiar voice, although somehow different, getting louder as it drew nearer to him.

Lisa arrived at Dusty’s side, still screaming for her father as the tears streamed down her rosy cheeks. Her pale blue eyes harbored deep concern as she surveyed his wounds. Dusty looked up, meeting her gaze, before licking her hand and then resting his head back on the grass. Mr. Hathaway arrived and scooped up Dusty and rushed him into the farmhouse.

Lisa waited patiently in the living room, nervously stroking Ronald, as her mother and father tended to Dusty. It seemed like hours had passed before her mother finally came out and told her she could come in. Carrying Ronald under her arm, she hurried in to find Dusty resting in his bed, sporting more than a few bandages. Her mother told her that Dusty was going to be fine but that he just needed some time to rest and mend. As she knelt down next to Dusty, Ronald forced his way out from under her arm and snuggled up next to him in his bed. Dusty gave Ronald a few licks on the head and then proceeded to doze off into a well-deserved sleep.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Myrna Noyes06/10/07
Very cute story of friendship between the two animals and also with the girl Lisa. I noticed a couple places where commas would have helped the flow, and you used "sprung" instead of "sprang." I think this would be very appealing to young children. Good job! :)
Rita Garcia06/11/07
This is really cute and well written!
Beth LaBuff 06/12/07
Ah! What a good story about the faithfulness of "man's best friend". I enjoyed this. We have a cat and a rabbit that are best friends. :)
Jan Ackerson 06/12/07
Very sweet story to illustrate friendship, loyalty, courage...

Some of your words, phrases, even the structure of your sentence, seem a bit old for your intended audience. I'd recommend some simplifying if you're planning to take this elsewhere.

Endearing characters and just the right amount of suspense. Good job!
Joanne Sher 06/12/07
Great detail and action in this story, with endearing characters.

It may be me, but the sentences in this story seemed quite long, especially for children. I might shorten them a bit if I were revising.

Great stuff!
Kristen Hester06/13/07
Dusty is quite the hero! Very nice story. I feel that some of your words were big for children (imminent, surveyed, apparent...) but a very good story.