“It’s a beautiful giraffe, Sylvie,” Mum said. She held up the drawing her younger daughter had made at school. “This is going on the fridge.”
“Sylvie’s better at drawing than I am. And she’s only five years old,” Bonnie Fields said, sitting on the edge of her bed.
“No need to compare yourselves, Bonnie. You have your own special talents,” Mum said. “You’re very good at puzzles.”
“Hmph. Puzzles,” Bonnie sighed and lay back. Mum covered her older daughter with the duvet and kissed her forehead.
“‘Night, sweetbeans.” Mum said, leaving the bedroom door slightly open.
Bonnie looked at Sylvie who was already asleep with her mouth hanging open.
“Pff,” Bonnie scoffed quietly. “Talents.”
“Enough! You’re Bonnie Fields,” said her shaggy sheepdog toy from the corner of the bed. He climbed over Bonnie onto the bedside table. Then he licked warm soy milk from Bonnie’s mug.
“Hey, Dumpling,” Bonnie blinked at her magical furry friend. She stroked Dumpling’s back. As her hand touched his fluffy fur, he began to glow. In a blink, the two of them were soaring through her bedroom window and into the bright Fluffland sky.
“It’s very marshmallowy today...” Bonnie said as she sniffed. *sniff* “The smell, I mean.” A furry stork flew past with a sack of large marshmallows hanging from its beak.
“Today’s the big contest,” Dumpling said.
“A marshmallow contest?”
“Spot on, Bonnie,” Dumpling said. They landed upon the sponge cake garden of the Fluffin leader, Whistlecrisp. The door of the house swung open. The silver deer-creature stepped out with a large, full pillowcase.
“Bonnie Fields!” Whistlecrisp smiled. “You must hurry. The contest is about to begin.”
“Am I going to be a judge?” Bonnie asked.
“No! You’re in the contest. And it’s already begun.” Whistlecrisp handed the pillowcase to Bonnie. She looked inside. It was full of marshmallows.
“I love marshmallows. Is this an eating contest? I can eat loads of marshmallows,” Bonnie grinned.
“Ah! No. It’s a sculpture contest. Get going, Dumpling.”
Bonnie held her pillowcase tightly. She and Dumpling flew over the bubbling milk river towards Fluffingdown Park. From above, Bonnie saw crowds of Flufflanders standing in groups. Some wore pointy, silver hats. They worked large piles of marshmallows with their hands.
Bonnie and Dumpling landed on the white grass in front of a small sign in the ground that read “Bonnie Fields.”
“Here’s your station, Bonnie. You better get going.” Dumpling plopped a pointy, silver hat onto Bonnie’s head. It had a small purple flower that matched Bonnie’s nightgown.
“Whoever has the best marshmallow sculpture, wins,” said Dumpling.
“But what are the rules? What can the sculpture be?” Bonnie asked. She looked at the Flufflanders who were building all sorts of things out of marshmallows. A rabbit was building an aeroplane. A dog was sculpting a huge bone. A furry octopus was making a big seashell. It looked like the rule of the contest was that you could make anything you wanted!
“How are they doing that?” Bonnie wondered.
“Here’s your melting mitten,” Dumpling said. He slid a silver mitten onto Bonnie’s hand. “And here’s your cooling fan.” Dumpling set a fan on the ground near her.
“Of course. Melting mitten. Cooling fan,” Bonnie said and dumped out her sack of marshmallows. She thought hard for a moment. Then she piled, melted, attached, shaped and cooled her marshmallows into four legs and a body.
“I’m making a giraffe,” Bonnie said to Dumpling who was nibbling a marshmallow. “But I don’t have enough marshmallows to make my sculpture as big as I want.”
Bonnie looked at the other sculptures. Some of them were getting very tall. She opened her pillowcase to grab the last few marshmallows at the bottom. But she was surprised to find it was full again!
“Free refills on marshmallows here,” Dumpling grinned.
“How much time do I have?” Bonnie asked.
“Until the timer runs out,” Dumpling said and pointed at the hill. There stood a huge hourglass timer, full of tiny marshmallows. They plunked down, one by one, keeping time.
Before too long, Bonnie was two metres off the ground, hugging the neck of the marshmallow giraffe to finish its head.
“Two eyes and...I’m done!” Bonnie climbed down and stood back to look. That was when she noticed someone else had made a marshmallow giraffe.
Bonnie walked over to inspect it. It was very beautiful. She thought it looked more beautiful than hers. Whoever made this one was very artistic. Then Bonnie saw who it was.
“Sylvie!” Bonnie gasped. “You’re in Fluffland again.”
“Of course, Bonnie,” Sylvie smiled. “I wouldn't miss the marshmallow contest.” Bonnie noticed Macaroon, Sylvie’s fluffy squirrel creature, standing on the ground nearby. It winked at Bonnie.
“Oh. Well...we can’t both have giraffe sculptures!” Bonnie looked worried. “That’s no good.”
“Let me see yours,” Sylvie said. As they turned to look at it, Bonnie’s marshmallow giraffe walked right over to them.
“Hello, girls,” the big, white marshmallow giraffe said in a deep goofy voice. “What seems to be the problem?”
“Sylvie and I made giraffes. It won’t be fair because Sylvie’s looks better than—” Bonnie stopped herself. She knew she might hurt her own giraffe’s feelings by saying Sylvie’s was better.
“Well, you don’t have to compare us, you know,” her giraffe said.
“But, you’re nearly the same.”
“Are we?” her giraffe asked. Then it stepped its long legs over to where Sylvie’s giraffe was standing.
“I suppose you are different, yes,” said Bonnie, looking at them both. The eyes, nose and ears were very different.
“How about now?” Bonnie’s giraffe took one more step closer to Sylvie’s. Then the two giraffes softly joined together to form one giant giraffe with eight legs and two long necks and heads.
“Oh! Get your melting mitt!” Bonnie said to Sylvie. “We must get them apart before the time runs out!” Bonnie and Sylvie looked at the hourglass just as the last, tiny marshmallow fell.
“Time’s up!” called a voice from a speaker. “And we have a winner!”
“Oh, no,” said Bonnie. “I blew it.”
“The winner is...the Fields sisters’ two-headed giraffe!”
Bonnie looked with big eyes at Sylvie and Dumpling.
“Wow! I didn’t know we could win as a team!” Bonnie said.
“Congratulations Bonnie and Sylvie!,” Dumpling said as he started to glow.
Before she knew it, Bonnie was back on her bedroom floor. She climbed into her bed.
Bonnie looked at Sylvie, who was still asleep. A tiny marshmallow was poking out of her ear.