Now you tell us a story: Young writers continue where Rowling, Austen and Morpurgo left off

Children's imaginations don't stop when the book finishes. From Harry Potter to War Horse to The Gruffalo to Just William, five budding young writers create spin-offs to their favourite reads.

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The Independent Culture

Eve Maume, 7

The Grangers

My mum and dad are Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley and we have a nice life in a cosy little place called The Villa. I'm Jodie and I have a twin sister called Jade and we have four sisters and one brother, that's why it's cosy.

One day in the summer when my Auntie Ginny (my dad's little sister) and my Uncle Harry (my mum and dad's best friend) were visiting, something awful happened.

It was Friday, we were all doing different things; Rosie was washing her hair, Hugo was on his Xbox, Isabell was out shopping, me and Jade were in our tree house, Amy was writing a letter to her best friend and Gracie was in the garden cloud-watching.

My mum and dad and auntie and uncle were in the kitchen making an invisibility potion out of peacock feathers, fir cones, cider vinegar, cloud dust and wood shavings – at least that's what we saw from the tree-house through the kitchen window.

Me and Jade came down from the tree-house and sat in the garden playing Top Trumps (Witches and Wizards edition, including Gilderoy Lockhart) when suddenly we heard a scream from inside. We dropped the cards and ran inside (Gracie didn't notice anything, she was still cloud-watching), and there lying on the floor was mum.

"Mum, what's wrong?" I asked, curiously. "It's my beautiful Chinese vase I bought yesterday! It's smashed! Look over there…" We looked over at the window; instead of seeing the vase, we saw a caped figure next to the broken vase.

Uncle Harry shouted, "I know that cape! It's Voldemort's and that's his son!" and so it was.

We all knew about the Dark Wizard Voldemort, Uncle Harry's arch enemy. "ATTACK!" we screamed and everyone came running from where they were, Rosie had her hairdryer, Hugo had his Xbox, Isabell arriving back from the shops had her carrier bags, I grabbed a lamp, Jade picked up the stool and there was an old book lying around, 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince', Gracie picked that up and we all hurled them at him and he disappeared.

Artemis Irvine, 13

Further Pride and Prejudice

My Dear Miss De Bourgh,

I must be brief for Mrs Darcy and I are about to depart for The Isle of Wight where we will spend our blissful honeymoon. I wish to apologise to you; I understand that my aunt had always enforced the idea we were to be betrothed. I must confess to you now I have never wished this to be, nor I expect did you. If you did, I am sorry. I sincerely hope we can still be friends.

Your obedient servant,


The letter from Mr Darcy had arrived at Rosings that morning, and Miss De Bourgh, after reading it, tucked it in to her dress pocket and thought about its contents while walking through the distinguished hallways of her home. Passing on her way many of her fine landscapes of the surrounding countryside, she scolded a young serving girl for being idle and staring at her vision of 'The Hay Wain'.

She had always greatly disliked Elizabeth Bennet; she thought she had a very high opinion of herself and not much of others. Mr Darcy on the other hand was a man of very agreeable intelligence and physique.

As she passed her study and parlour, she was briefly reminded that she must continue with some of her novel today, her working title 'War and Peace'.

She also thought happily of this afternoon when Lord Byron, dear George, would be stopping in for tea and her much sought after opinion on his latest work.

Turning the corner and opening a hidden doorway behind a bookshelf, Miss De Burgh had reached her destination, her laboratory, where she was currently working on a combination of hydrogen and carbon atoms, which produced a pleasantly shiny, flexible material that might well be useful one day, but she had her doubts. She was also investigating an equation: E=mc, she didn't know whether it was to be squared or cubed yet.

Her mother had no idea of this or of the laboratory, and if she found out, Miss De Burgh had no idea what she might say. Oh dear, so much to do and so little time. f

Alex Salmon, 4

The Gruffalo, the Mouse and the Teddy Dinosaur

The Gruffalo was very scared because he had seen a biting mouse, so he ran all the way back to the rock which was his home.

He shouted to his mummy and daddy that a biting mouse was chasing him and his name was called Freddie.

The mouse followed the Gruffalo. He crept through the cave door and hid behind a thin broomstick.

The mouse sat down and listened to what the Gruffalo was saying to his teddy dinosaur. The Gruffalo's mummy and daddy were fast asleep in their bed and couldn't hear the Gruffalo shout.

The Gruffalo told his teddy that the mouse was going to bite him and make a crumble out of him. The teddy was shocked and couldn't believe his dinosaur ears.

The teddy asked the Gruffalo if he had tried to talk to the mouse and be his friend. The Gruffalo said that he wanted to be the mouse's friend but the mouse didn't want to.

While the Gruffalo was chatting to his teddy dinosaur, the mouse overheard everything. The mouse thought about how mean he had been to the Gruffalo and decided to be his friend. He crept out from behind the broomstick and climbed up the stairs to the Gruffalo's bedroom.

He crawled through a tiny gap in the door and went over to speak to the Gruffalo.

The mouse said that he was sorry for not being very nice and he asked the Gruffalo if he could be his friend.

The Gruffalo was scared to begin with because he thought the mouse was going to eat him.

However, he realised he wasn't and told the mouse that he wanted to be friends too.

From that day onwards the mouse, the Gruffalo and teddy dinosaur played every day together.

Isabelle Owen, 11

William Wins Again

Finally it's the summer holidays. Except it's not like summer at all, thought William gazing forlornly across the muddy field waiting for the rest of his gang – the Outlaws.

Finally, William spotted Ginger sliding and tripping across the field soon followed by Henry and Douglas (armed with bows and arrows). Chatting, laughing and fighting, the Outlaws marched up the hill to the small wooden shed at the top.

The Outlaws swung open the door and a horrid sight met their eyes: Violet Elizabeth was standing right in the centre of the room. It was clear she had been waiting for them.

The Outlaws groaned, thoughts of the last time Violet Elizabeth had spent the day with them raced through their minds. The only good thing that came from that day had been the 10 shilling note (50p) they had each been given for pretending to find the mud-caked, unrecognisable Violet Elizabeth who had been standing beside them all along.

"What shall we play?" piped up Violet Elizabeth, or more accurately with her annoying lisp "What thall we play?". "You're not playing whatever we're playing," snapped William, aggressively.

Tears welled up in her sky-blue eyes: "Y-you're making me cry," Violet Elizabeth squeaked. Suddenly a great idea struck William, so great even he was shocked… "Violet Elizabeth you can play." There was a second of silence then a startled "What?!" from Henry and Douglas in unison. William the great, the red Indian, the fearless, the leader, William the girl-hater was letting a girl join their fearless hunts. This can't be right, the rest of the Outlaws thought.

"Oh what thall we play, William?" wondered Violet Elizabeth. "Hide and seek," William replied simply. "Yes I do love that game," said Violet Elizabeth, beaming from ear to ear, "I'll count to 100!"

As the Outlaws swaggered along the road miles and miles from the wooden shed on top of the hill, they marvelled over the amazing plan to shake off Violet Elizabeth. William Brown is still a girl-hater, he's just the same, he's still just William.

George Read, 12

Albert, the Horse-Rider

I knew from the beginning that I was going to be an amazing horse-rider. I mean, horses were just my thing, my hobby, my passion.

When I was one, I got my first plastic horse. It was chestnut brown and had a white nose with black dots all over it. I used to take it around everywhere I went, up to the age of seven.

When I was three I rode my first horse and by the time I had reached 16, I was joining in with the county horse race, which happened once a month, and regularly winning it.

I think that now would be a good time to tell you who I am. My name is Albert and I used to live on a farm until the war came. Yeah, the Great War. But that's another story.

I am now 72-years-old and thought that a short account of my first horse race as a little boy should be told…

I remember that my early life was a fun, enjoyable time, especially with all the horses, but I definitely remember the great county horse race during my 12th birthday.

It was a cloudy day with the blazing sun being blocked out by dark clouds, but I didn't care, I remember that quite well.

At 10 o'clock sharp, we all lined up together with our horses. Mine was a coal-black one with pointy ears and a large nose. I called him Danger.

Right from the start I talked to him and encouraged him. All through my life people said I was silly talking to horses, but I knew they were wrong.

As soon as the race began, Danger and I pulled off into the lead. I remember enjoying the gentle breeze of the wind as we sped along the lane. It was a 1km course and we were already ahead after 100m.

Just as we were about to cross the finishing line, though, Danger tripped over a loose stone. The last thing that I saw was Danger's petrified expression as he galloped away, spurting dust everywhere, then everything faded to black.

I woke up a week later in hospital with a broken leg, but quickly recovered. Well, I guess that is all that there is to it, so bye.

Danger? He was fine. In fact he was found eating a juicy carrot in the middle of the field, just after the accident. We had more adventures, of course…