2018 – 2019 Competitions


Desmond saving catThank you all so much for your wonderful entries into my latest Clever Competition! And what a lovely time I’ve had reading about your Perfect Pets! There were 48 fabulous entries this time, from 15 different schools in 7 cities on 4 different continents! There were entries from Melbourne in Australia, from Shanghai and Zhuhai in mainland China; from Hong Kong; from Chicago and San Diego in the United States of America, and, for the first time, from Colombo in Sri Lanka! There were real pets, like cats, hamsters, pigs and a red panda! There were fantastical pets, like dragons, seahorns and snickerdoodles! Most were cute and cuddly, some were downright scary! But most of all, there were DOGS – and being a dog-lover myself, all I can say is of course!

As ever, it was very hard to judge your entries. They were all so entertaining, and you clearly put such a lot of effort into them. But winners there must be, and here they are! Congratulations to everyone for your entries, and especially to the winners below!


This time there were only three entries in the Grade 1 to 3 Category, but I’m very pleased to say that every single one was of an excellent, place-winning standard! Well done to all of you, and I look forward to you entering again in my next competition!

FIRST PLACE: Hannah Thompson, Grade 3, Methodist Ladies College, Melbourne, 9 years old

Readers will remember that Hannah has been a previous winner in my competitions. I loved this terrific haiku about her dog Holly. Not only was the poem a great acrostic, but also Hannah managed to incorporate rhyming couplets in the first four lines, and also some great alliteration! I especially enjoyed Hannah’s sophisticated vocabulary, which created some wonderful imagery eg “harasses magpies wholeheartedly”, “lonesomely looks … lizard”. Congratulations Hannah – and make sure you keep on writing and entering my competitions in Grade 4!


Harasses magpies wholeheartedly, in fact she’s super keen,

Observes family feasts like she is the proud country’s Queen,

Lonesomely looks at my sister’s pet lizard,

Leaps at anyone wearing a cap like a wizard,

Yippee for my Harassing, Observant, Lonesome, Leaping, Yellow dog Holly!


SECOND PLACE: Shiv Mohan, Grade 3, Glenealy School, 7 years old

It was wonderful to receive another entry from young Shiv, who has also been a previous place-getter. His rhyming verse about his hamster Chewey was such a loving depiction of his little pet. And at just seven years of age, he already demonstrates a wonderful poetic sensibility, in similes such as “ivory and supple as a cloud in the air” and “like laser tag beams”. Please keep entering my competitions Shiv – I’m very excited to watch you develop into a fine writer.

Chewey the Hamster

My Chewey, my cute, cuddly, snuggly hamster

I feed him and give him water

He is ivory and supple as a cloud in the air

With fur as soft as my chocolate brown teddy bear

I hug him every day

After school we play

Ecstatic when I come home his eyes light up like laser tag beams

We are a great team.

Running around the wheel like an acrobat

Then exhausted lying around like a fat cat

On special days, he nibbles Sugus with me

My Chewey.


THIRD PLACE: Isabelle Ng, Grade 2, SUIS Hongqiao, Shanghai, 7 years old

Isabelle is another regular entrant into my competitions. Only in Grade 2, she has written a fantastic free verse about the dog she’d love to have, with some skillful internal rhymes in every line! This made her poem very entertaining to read. Isabelle confided to me in her email that she’d love a dog when she goes into 3rd grade – it would certainly have to be a clever pup to resemble this particular dog! Mum, please take note!

 The Dog I want

 I want a dog that doesn’t write a blog and doesn’t sit on a log like a frog,

A dog I want is a dog that doesn’t spit and doesn’t hit.

I don’t want a dog as silly as can be that kick like a horse or click like a dolphin,

I want a dog as cute as can be but doesn’t wear a funny suit.

So a dog I want is one that’s not fat as a cat nor as mad.

 I will train my dog to do tricks with his licks;

So, my dog can draw a triangle with the right angle;

So, my dog can wet the cat on the mat;

So, my dog can turn the page of the book in his cage.

 My dog can smell a spell with his nose.

My dog can smell ice cream from the shop by the nice stream.                                                                           

My dog can smell trouble when someone steals my bubble.                                                                                       

My dog can smell happiness when I dance of joy, careless. 



This was such a hard competition to judge, especially when it came down to the first five places! Well done everybody who entered on your excellent writing efforts, and make sure to keep on writing and reading poetry, whenever you can – the only way to get better and better!

 FIRST PLACE: Madeline Painter, Grade 6, South Middle School, Arlington Heights, Illinois, USA, 11 years old

Congratulations to Madeline on a wonderful poem that made me laugh out loud! I loved so much about her poem: her spare but very funny Dr Seuss-ian style; her invention of the “Snickerdoodle” – such a clever take on the fashionable poodle-mix dogs that have deluged the modern dog market; the wry invitation to explain all the fuss! I also loved Madeline’s rhyming couplets, especially the pale blue, yellow-spotted dog nesting in a pot! My only concern was the third line in the second stanza which let down the otherwise immaculate rhyming couplet pattern. A fabulous result Madeline, and keep on writing – you have a great future my friend!

 My Snickerpoodle

A snickerpoodle is fantastic

And oftentimes sarcastic


He’ll snicker at your doodles

Because fancy, prancy poodles

Are as snotty as can be!


Pale blue with golden-yellow spots

Snickerpoodles will only nest in pots.


 Why all the fuss?

Well, let us discuss.


They don’t shed

Will eat stale bread


Help with homework, housework, chores

Once a fellow told me that they make amazing s’mores


So now clearly you can see

A snickerpoodle is the perfect pet for me.


SECOND PLACE: Eleanor Meyer, Grade 5, San Diego French American School, San Diego, California, USA, 9 years old

A warm welcome to my Clever Competitions to Eleanor, a very talented young writer whose poem about a baby emerald dragon was outstanding! I loved Eleanor’s dragon who crates havoc in the house – the poem was very visual and great fun and the vocabulary was great! I loved the words “supreme apocalypse”, “reek” and its clever rhyme “Belgique” (which is the country ‘Belgium’ in French!) Her rhyming pattern was crisp and accurate, and her style very sophisticated. But I wasn’t quite sure from the poem whether the name of the pet was ‘Wyvern’ or ‘Emy’!

 My Perfect Pet is an Emerald Dragon!

This scaly beast soars through the house, oh no!

There goes my mother’s flowery antique!

Next come the flames, I think you have to go …

I’m sorry baby dragon, but you reek,

Maybe you were better off in Belgique!


 I hear the door shut with a snick, mom’s home!

Please don’t see this supreme apocalypse!

Come on Wyvern, go hide by the glass gnome.

Now let me cover you in tan woodchips.

Shrieks, followed by screams!  Did she find it crisped?


A shout comes from the living room, ”Emy?”

She skims my hair and swoops down through the roof.

Roar, crackle, followed by pure ecstasy!

Mom’s antique vase re-fired with a poof!

Emy’s my perfect pet, observe, there’s PROOF!


THIRD PLACE: Sofia Kerr, Grade 6, QSI International School of Zhuhai

Close on the tail of Eleanor’s entry came Sofia’s beautiful, heart-rending tribute to Squidgy, her pet hamster. Her love for her old pet resonates in this free verse poem, and brought a tear to me eye when I read it – the mark of a great poem! I also enjoyed Sofia’s wonderful description of Squidgy’s appearance, especially his fur with its “grumpy grey hue”. Well done Sofia – I look forward to reading more of your poetry!

My One and Only

(In memory of Squidgy, the smartest hamster I know)

On that last day

His eyes seemed to speak

“When I was extra ordinary as a pup,

You took me home and made me extraordinary!

But what can I give in return?

For I am a hamster

All I have is my fur

A grumpy grey hue with black, decorative lines

Wrapped around a boring white underbelly.

All I have is my beady black eyes and pale pink paws

All I do is chew on my cage in hopes of gaining attention

All I do is eat, sleep, and run”.

I pick him up and smile, “Oh Squidgy, you have given me so much.

You learned what few hamsters have ever learned

And none of that was me; it was pure you.

I am sure that you would’ve shone no matter who adopted you.”


EQUAL FOURTH PLACE: Emily Umansky, Grade 4, CDNIS Hong Kong, 9 years old

I loved Emily’s wonderful and very original invention of a Seahorn! And her beautiful vocabulary was the best in the competition! I’m quite sure that Emily must be a huge reader in her spare time. She also used rhyming couplets very accurately, and with great imagination. A super effort, Emily!

 Annabelle, the Seahorn

I have a pet seahorn,

An aquatic animal that is half seahorse and half unicorn.

Her glossy hair has the colours of the sea:

Turquoise, cerulean and emerald green are pretty nice, don’t you agree?


My seahorn, Annabelle, swims around with alacrity.

She can also sing many songs with clarity.

Sparkling dust flows from her curly tail,

So wherever Annabelle goes she temporarily leaves a tail trail.


The way she eats candy corn,

Makes me happy she was born.

Annabelle sleeps in her luminescent canopy bed with her cute ducky.

I hope you enjoyed my poem about my special pet. Merci!


Sarah Littlewood, Grade 6, Home-schooled, Zhuhai, 11 years old

Sarah’s short acrostic poem proves that sometimes less can be more! I loved Sarah’s vocabulary and her description of her pet. Cleverly done, Sarah!


Beautiful species

Ingenious mind for learning tricks

Stunning white coat like the snow in Siberia

Cunning eyes the size of sunflower seeds

Ultimate pet, hands down

Incredibly speedy on her hamster wheel 

Treat crazy.



Nicolette Ng, Grade 5, SUIS Hongqiao, Shanghai 9 years old

Nicolette introduced some very clever internal rhymes here in her poem based on rhyming couplets – excellent work Nicolette!

 I Want a Pet as Great as Can Be

I want a dog as cute as a frog that sits on a log croaking;

As neat as a cat that sits on a mat and licks its body soaking;

As fluffy as a bunny that is happy and sunny that sits on my knee;

As gentle as a deer that is drinking near with the water so clear under a tree.

 I want a cat that’s not black as a bat nor small as a rat nibbling;

Not as fierce as a bull nor as cruel as a Tasmanian devil charging;

Not as scary as a tiger walking through the thunder like a monster purring;

Not as noisy as a cricket that comes close in secret and hops in my pocket chirping.

 I may want a half Pegasus and a half unicorn cause it is my perfect pet.

It would take me anywhere I want to go and I bet it can fly as high as a jet.

I want a pet as great as can be, I don’t know how but maybe I will see.

Maybe my pet will not be as fancy, but I guarantee it will fill me with glee.


Chloé Dieudonne, Grade 6, Methodist Ladies College, Melbourne, 12 years old

I loved this cute free verse poem about Chloe’s two favourite pets – nicely done Chloe!

 Brioche and Milo

My dog’s name is Brioche        

I know just like the bun

Every time we go to the bakery

We think of him with love


My dog is excited

Energetic all the time

And when I chase him round the house

He sometimes just goes flying


My other pet is Milo

A gorgeous little bunny

He lives at my friend’s house

And sometimes he gets chubby


All my pets are named

All like different foods

We make sure we are careful

When my dad’s in a hungry mood!


Bella Dowd, QSI Zhuhai, China, 9 years old

Bella’s poem had some fantastic vocabulary and imagery – but I had to mark it down because it was more of a Halloween poem than a Perfect Pet Poem! Do keep on writing Bella, as you clearly have talent!

 My Werewolf

On Halloween night, the moon comes out bright.

My dog lifts his head to the call.

Bright excitement is clear, not an ounce of his fear,

As he whimpers sneaky and sly.


He slips from his bed, inside the dark shed,

As we gather our things and depart.

He prowls the town, careful, the dark shadows lurking,

Frightful and strong–he transforms.


He takes to the foothills, on the far edge of town,

A deep red glare in his eyes.

They run as a pack, up hills and back,

A werewolf’s delight to be sure.


Many children have heard sounds on Halloween night,

That even give parents a terrible fright. 

Nobody knows these sounds actually come-

From the howling of hounds!

The hairy dark souls of the night.


 Brady Choy, Grade 4, International Christian School Hong Kong, 9 years old

A warm welcome to Brad to my Clever Competitions! Your rhyming couplets were great, but be careful to maintain the pattern, which went a bit out of kilter in the middle!

The Dog

A companion, a friend

A subject who knows no end

Whose trust, whose loyalty

Has no boundary

And whose love for me and you is infinite

The chihuahua, the rottweiler

The beagle, the terrier

Big or small,

Short or tall

Dumb or clever

Will be in our hearts FOREVER


Elisha Abeysingha, Grade 6, Gateway College, Dehiwala, Colombo, Sri Lanka , 9 years old

Another warm welcome to Elisha, who together with class mate Yevan are my very first entrants from Sri Lanka! Another great poem in rhyming couplets, but again with a little flaw in the second verse where there was an unnecessary fifth line. Keep up the great work Elisha, and I look forward to seeing more of your work in future!


I have a pet dog named Monnie,

And her mother’s name is Lonnie.

How crazy is she

To dip her bone in my tea?

She always hangs upside down on the stairs

When nobody is looking and nobody cares.

She is a very good tale teller

And a very good loud speaker.

She is also a very good hide and seeker.

 She loves fashion shows

And putting nail polish on her toes.

Monnie loves bones

And high music tones.

 She hates phones

And loves ice cream cones.


Thank you once again everybody who entered! I’ve really enjoyed reading your work, and can’t wait to see your next entry in my Clever Competitions!


 A final thank you once again, to everyone who took part in this competition – I can’t wait to see you entries in my next competition, to be announced shortly!

 Lastly, a reminder that if you’d like an automatic reminder of my upcoming competitions, you can either:

  • click the Subscribe button on my blog homepage
  • OR email me at sarah@auspicioustimes.com and ask me to add your name and email address to my Funny and Fabulous Mailing List.

– but make sure that you first ask Mum or Dad or your guardian for permission!

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