Benjamin and the Big Stack of Bricks

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  • #346602

    Anonymous

    “Benjamin and the Big Stack of Bricks”

    Benjamin loved to build model airplanes. He bought the model airplanes from model airplane kits in a model airplane magazine.

    One day, Benjamin looked through a band-new model airplane magazine. He came across an ad with a scrawny boy. The ad was for a weight lifting bench he could send away for.

    Benjamin went to the bathroom. He looked at himself in the mirror. He, too, was scrawny like the boy in the ad in the model airplane magazine. He wanted the weight lifting bench. If he got the bench, he would win Molly, the girl in his science class, over.

    Before supper, Benjamin asked his father if he could have an increase in his allowance to afford the weight lifting bench, but Benjamin’s father said no. His father had a better idea to earn extra allowance.

    After supper, Benjamin went with his father to the backyard. In the backyard stood a stack of bricks. There must have been hundreds and hundreds of bricks in the stack.

    “Do you want muscles, Benjamin?” his father asked him.

    “Yes,” Benjamin answered.

    “Then I’ll tell you what to do,” his father replied. “Take the bricks from the stack and then make another stack next to it.

    This is not what Benjamin had in mind. He said to his father, “But—”

    “But nothing,” his father said. “Take the bricks from the stack and then make another stack next to it, and I want the stack perfect.”

    After his father had left him, Benjamin began to restack the bricks next to the old stack, but, as he stacked them, he noticed something. He could build a wall of bricks instead of just stacking them. If he made four walls with the bricks he could build a clubhouse. If he built many walls he could build a maze!

    ~
    About one hour or so later, Benjamin father returned to the backyard to check up on Benjamin. When Benjamin saw him, he jumped in fear.

    But, when he saw the maze that Benjamin had built from the stack of bricks, he was not mad but amazed!

    But, as nice as the maze was, its walls were not sturdy. So, Benjamin’s father showed him how to stagger the bricks to build stronger, sturdier walls. But most of all, when Benjamin looked in the bathroom mirror. He had muscles!

    Days had gone by. Benjamin made the most wonderful maze by staggering the bricks.

    News about the maze that Benjamin had built with bricks spread like a brush fire throughout his neighborhood and class, not to mention Molly. Molly thought the maze was amazing!

    With the money Benjamin would have spent on the weight lifting bench in the model airplane magazine, he took Molly on not one date but three. He and Molly were together even since.

    ~ The End ~

  • #655022

    Anonymous

    I definitely like the premise here about being resourceful–it speaks to empowerment and not just rushing out to purchase every shiny item you see featured in a catalog. The writing is simple and pretty easy to follow.

    I’m curious though as to what age range you are targeting this for? The MC is a bit old (I’m guessing middle school at least?) for a children’s PB, as is the idea of dating. The word ‘scrawny’ may be a bit too ‘old’ for a PB, so maybe you could say ‘skinny’ the first time and follow it up with ‘scrawny’ so kids have some idea what it means?

    “About one hour or so later, Benjamin father returned to the backyard to check up on Benjamin. When Benjamin saw him, he jumped in fear.”

    For some reason this evoked an image of a very stern father who is about to beat his child! Maybe you could soften it up a bit, and say something like “When Benjamin’s father returned an hour later, Benjamin worried he would be angry about the maze” or something to that effect.

    “But, as nice as the maze was, its walls were not sturdy. So, Benjamin’s father showed him how to stagger the bricks to build stronger, sturdier walls. But most of all, when Benjamin looked in the bathroom mirror. He had muscles!”

    I think a young child would have difficulty figuring out why a wall made of bricks isn’t sturdy. Also, the idea that he would get big muscles in one afternoon is a bit hard to swallow, so maybe allow for some passage of time here? Or phrase it as “when he looked in the mirror, he was just sure his muscles had grown” to leave room for his imagination at work.

    “Days had gone by. Benjamin made the most wonderful maze by staggering the bricks.”

    The first sentence here seemed awkward to me. I felt it might flow better if you just said something like “A few days later, Benjamin’s maze was complete. It was wonderful!”

    “With the money Benjamin would have spent on the weight lifting bench in the model airplane magazine, he took Molly on not one date but three. He and Molly were together even since.”

    Again, something about middle school kids being together ever since just doesn’t sit right with me, but that could just be me being overly realistic. I would hate to think that my daughter married someone she met in middle school!

    I think this is a great story that with just a little bit of tweaking could be very cute and send a good message about working hard and not relying on consumerism to solve all your problems (especially nice around the holidays when money seems to rule the season). If you hate my suggestions, please feel free to ignore them and do what feels right to you. Thank you for sharing your story and good luck!

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