Archive for December, 2017

A Spellchasers Christmas Tale, illustrated by Pirniehall PS pupils

I’ve been working with the pupils at Pirniehall Primary in Edinburgh as their Writing Mentor this year, and they all created wonderful illustrations for this Christmas story about Molly. Here are the seven winning illustrations, which bring the story to life beautifully!

Pawprints in the Snow

By David, P4

By David, P4

Molly’s paws made tiny dents on the crust of last night’s snow.

She had wished for a white Christmas, hoping to test her hare-speed on a new surface. But she hadn’t wished for the beast behind her. The creature she’d found chewing her stocking this morning.Now Molly could hear heavy breathing and heavier feet. It was catching up.
She felt hot breath on her neck; snow melted to water under her paws.

Molly leapt to the left, and her paws were back on cold crusty snow. She sprinted and zig-zagged across the rugby pitch, trying to escape the heat and the heaviness, the flames and the fangs.

The noise of the feet faltered, and stopped.

But Molly couldn’t stop running, because now she could hear flapping above her. Her wide hare vision showed that her pursuer had lumbered into the air and was swooping down towards her.

Speed wasn’t enough to beat this beast. Dodging and ducking wouldn’t work either, if it could hover above her.

How could she beat a predator that could run and fly and melt the snow under her?

Molly sprinted and leapt and sprinted again, hoping to confuse it, hoping to escape its long claws and hot breath.

She was used to magic and monsters in the wild lands of the north, but she hadn’t expected them to follow her south to the sensible streets of Edinburgh. She especially hadn’t expected to find a monster in her living room, chewing the end of her Christmas stocking.

by Paris, P5a

by Paris, P5a

When she had walked into the living room, her first thought had been: don’t you dare eat my chocolate coins! Her second thought had been: I don’t want mum and dad to see this, and I don’t want this to see mum and dad. Her third thought had been: RUN! So she had flung open the back door and shifted into a hare in one practised move.

It wasn’t until she had been running down the back garden, drawing the beast away from both her chocolate coins and her parents, that she finally thought: what’s a dragon doing in my living room?

But now, Molly wished she’d found somewhere small to hide rather than somewhere wide to run. She circled and dodged and zigged and zagged across the school’s rugby field, and the dragon swooped and dived and soared above her.

by Cooper, P6b

by Cooper, P6b

Though, so far, it hadn’t tried to roast her or bite her.

Molly realised it wasn’t a very big dragon. It had seemed huge in the living room, but compared to the wyrm she’d met in Speyside in October, it was really quite small.

Perhaps she could fight it off.

Not as a hare. Hares can only run and punch. As a girl. Girls can wield weapons.

So she ran for the nearest fence, dived between the black iron railings, and became a girl again as she skidded along the icy ground.

That’s when she realised she was still wearing her pyjamas, and rabbit-printed cotton doesn’t give much protection against ice or snow. Or dragons.

She leapt to her feet, grabbed a long forked stick from the snowy ground and waved it at the pursuing dragon.

by Keira, P3

by Keira, P3

Who was no longer pursuing.

The golden dragon was perched on the tall spiked fence, back feet gripping the rail along the top, front feet tucked up almost like a squirrel’s paws. The metal fence was bending slightly under the dragon’s weight.

Molly shouted, “Go away!” and waved her stick.

The dragon was the size of a lion, or a tiger. Much bigger than a dog, slightly smaller than a horse. Definitely smaller than the wyrm Molly had chatted to in October.

So Molly waved her stick again. “Go away!”

The dragon’s shoulders sagged and its long spiky tail drooped.

Then the dragon fell clumsily backwards off the fence, landed on the rugby pitch, and blasted a long line of flame from its mouth. Molly backed off, planning to run the long way home, lock all the doors, and find the fire extinguisher from the kitchen.

But then she saw what the dragon was doing with the flame. The thin precise flame was melting shapes in the same snow Molly had marked with her zig zag line of pawprints. The dragon was writing words in the snow.


by Apisai, P6a

by Apisai, P6a

Molly didn’t run away. She leant over the fence and asked, “You want me to help you?”

The dragon nodded, and perked up a bit, its golden tail wagging like a retriever’s. Then it swooped low along the edge of the rugby pitch, melting the snow with a long pen-like line of flame.


Molly walked beside the fence, reading the whole long sentence. She frowned. “Burn anything else? What did you burn the first time?”

The dragon drooped again. And wrote: WITCH’S GARDEN SHED. ACCIDENT. HICCUPS

Molly nodded. “So you annoyed a witch, and she cursed you so that if you burn anything else in the next week, you’ll become smoke yourself?”

The dragon nodded.

Molly shrugged. “So, just don’t burn anything…”


Molly remembered the questions she’d been set as homework on the curse-lifting workshop. “Did you say sorry to the witch?”


The dragon had written on all the snow near the fence. So Molly climbed the fence, and walked with the golden dragon to a smooth white part of the pitch. Molly’s slippers flapped soggily on her feet.

The dragon wrote in the clean clear snow. I’M SCARED. MAKE ONE MISTAKE AND I’M SMOKE.

“Do you burn things deliberately?” asked Molly.

The dragon shook its spiky sparkling head. NOT ANYONE ELSE’S THINGS. JUST MY TOAST AND MARSHMALLOWS. BUT … HICCUPS

“Is there any way to put your flames out and just not make any fire at all until the New Year?”

The dragon shrugged and opened its mouth. Molly saw a bright orange flame burning at the back of its throat.

The dragon hiccupped, a blast of flame jetted out of its throat, and Molly dropped to the ground, making a messy snow angel as she scrambled away.

The dragon wrote OOPS

by Aimee, P7

by Aimee, P7

“Just as well you didn’t burn me, or that would have ruined both our Christmases.” Molly stood up and brushed snow off her damp pyjamas, her fingers tingling in the cold.

She smiled. “I have an idea! Would you let me try to put your fire out? Just for a little while?”

The dragon nodded.

While the dragon danced around her, melting a spiral of clawed footprints into the snow, Molly made snowballs, her fingers growing numb as she formed the icy shapes. Once she had built a white pyramid of snowballs, she said, “Open your mouth, please.”

The golden dragon opened its jaws wide. Molly stood as close as she could bear to the furnace heat coming out of its mouth. And she started to throw snowballs in. Like one of those serving machines on a tennis court, she threw them in fast, one after the other, aiming for the back of the dragon’s throat, for the base of the orange flame.

She missed with one or two snowballs, some bouncing on the ground, one getting stuck in the dragon’s left nostril. But most of the snowballs hit the target.

by Jayden, P5b

by Jayden, P5b

The fire in the dragon’s throat fizzled and sizzled. Molly threw in even more snowballs. The fire became dimmer and dimmer, then died.
When Molly had used up all her snowballs, the dragon breathed out. And the air that hit Molly was warm, not flaming hot.

Molly nodded. “Now you can’t make fire, so you won’t trigger the witch’s curse. If you feel your throat sparking up again this week, eat more snow. And if you want, I’ll use you as snowball target practice again. So you can use the Scottish weather to get round the curse until Hogmanay.”

The dragon used its claws to scratch in the bare grass of the pitch, where Molly had scooped up snow to make snowballs.


As the dragon flew away, Molly shouted, “But don’t eat yellow snow. And don’t eat any snowmen either!”

Molly squelched home, in her soggy slippers, to see if there were any chocolate coins left in her stocking…


By David, P4

By David, P4

Weren’t the illustrations amazing? Thanks so much to everyone at Pirniehall, pupils and staff, who created so much brilliant artwork – it was really tough choosing the winners from all your fabulous pictures…

And if you want to read more about Molly’s adventures as a hare, you can find her at a curse-lifting workshop in the Spellchasers trilogy: