Meet Melvin. He’s a sad… (ish) robot. And we asked you to tell his story.

This competition was open to children aged between 4 and 11. We asked children to produce a piece of writing about Melvin. It could be a story, a diary entry, a collection of letters… anything inspired by this sad… (…ish) robot. .

It was a big job to narrow it down from the 700+ entries to 7 finalists: Izzy (9), Isabella (10), Lucy (9), Haley (8), Monique (10), Ethan (5) and Charlie (9). Joshua then chose the final winner, which was Haley! Congratulations to Haley, the other finalists, and all of the children who entered. Your creativity and imagination will go far. A big thank you to Joshua Margolis, who provided prizes, support and – of course – the inspiration.

You can find out more about Joshua and Melvin here:


One day, Melvin was sitting on the bench and he was sad. He was very sad because the other robots at his school were being very mean to him.

A robot person going to the shop saw Melvin sitting on the bench all alone. The robot person decided to cheer him up.

Ken, the robot person, asked Melvin, “Do you want to go back to school and play with me?”
Melvin said “Okay that’s cool.”
Ken asked Melvin, “What is wrong with you?”
“I’m sad because the robots are being mean to me”
Ken said, “That’s okay Melvin. We can play and I will make sure the other robots will not be mean to you”.

At school, they played and Melvin and Ken had a great day.




I feel sad today. First I woke up to the blaring of horns outside my house, and then I couldn’t have any breakfast because I had run out of cornflakes and milk. I was very desolate. Then to make it even worse, I missed my bus. I didn’t even bother to run after it because I knew it was too late. So then I had to wait an hour for the next bus. And now I am writing this on a saturated park bench in the rain.




I got a new bag today. I am feeling happier, but only a bit. Like, happier, but only a bit bit happier than sad-ish. I don’t know who gave me the bag, it was just on my doorstep, but I’ll tell you a bit more about that later. I missed my bus again today so i decided just to go back home and study my new bag.




Okay, so I’ll tell you about my new bag.


This morning when I was having my daily cup of coffee I spilt it on the bag that made me sad. Very sad. So, I’ve left it out to dry on the veranda. I’ve got all the stuff that I want to put in it:


1. This diary.
2. My coffee plunger
3. My coat
4. And my stopwatch ( to make sure that I do not miss the bus again)


So that’s what I’m going to put in my (now wet) bag.




I’ll tell you something exciting (not that I’m happy or anything, I’m still
miserable.) Today I met a mate (well, sort of…) Not just any mate a robot mate. She’s perfect. Everything I dreamed of. I feel like I’ve known her since we were bot-babies. Not that she knows me. I know, I know. But it’s just so nerve-wracking even thinking about it. I want to, but I just can’t!




Okay, so I’ve been thinking for a while, and I think that I’ve got a plan. I’m going to go down to the park, (the place I met her) and try to catch her eye. If I am able to do that, I will walk over and start a conversation. So that is my plan. I am a bit nervous. If it works I will die a happy robot. If not, oh if not I don’t know what I would do.




I’m going to the park today to put my plan into action. I’ve hired a tux to look snazzy. Oh, I do hope that it will work out!


About half an hour later


I am in the park, sitting on a bench. She still isn’t h… wait, she’s coming towards me! Act normal Melvin! Act normal. She’s sitting down next to me!! “Hello there.” She says casually. “ Th-there hello?” I stammer. Oh no! Duh melvin! Why did you do that? But she just laughs. “He, he. Oh you are so funny! Now what’s your name?” “M-m-melvin is my n-name.” I stutter again. “ Well, hello Melvin, nice to meet you.” She shakes my hand. I blush. “My name is Cecelia.” “Hi there Cecelia.” I say, normally this time thank goodness. “Melvin, you seem nice. Would you like to come to my house for dinner sometime?” “SURE!!!” I shout. “I-I mean sure, okay.




Okay, today I go to cecilia’s house. I’ve brought a bouquet of flowers from the florist and I’m just about to ring her doorbell. Ding-dong. Oh, here goes, the door is opening. “Oh, hello melvin. Come in!” “So,”I start. “What are we having?”

“Oh, I just whipped up some roast chicken.” She answers. My mouth gapes open. ‘Oh, I just whipped up some roast chicken?!’ What?? All I can ‘whip up’ is some simple burnt oven cooked potato chips.
“Sounds nice!” I say.


Dinner is AMAZING. Not just the food, but Cecelia too. She’s interesting. She’s remarkable. She’s awesome. I am no longer a sad robot.


I am a happy one.


Melvin the robot is sad (ish). No one knows why; no one knows how to make him happy. The town of Robotobia (row- bow-toe-bee-a) can’t have a gloomy old robot in their town so they called a town meeting to put things right.

“Melvin the robot is just to sad for our happy town” the mayor said.
The Robotobia mayor (mayor rusty clog) has a pink stainless steel body with a little screen on her belly. This screen projects movies, music and slideshows.
“No one knows how to make him happy; I don’t even think he has ever smiled!” The town gasped in horror. “Even worse! He refuses to paint his house a bright fun colour! He says he doesn’t see the point in doing it”
The town gasped again and an old shrivelled robot granny fell over in fear.
“We can all agree he is a disgrace to the society!”
“And he won’t stop us from living a fun filled life in Robotobia!” The crowd cheered loudly and then filed out of the town hall.

Mr and Mrs Chain walked home and discussed Melvin. “Melvin needs to go on a holiday to relax!” Mr Chain said. Mrs Chain agreed. “Yes!” She smiled.
“He needs to go to Mrs Mechanics tropical retreat!”
“Perfect Mr Chain said as they got inside. The warm burning fire crackled as they smiled together.

The next day was a hot day and the blazing sun shone brightly over Robotobia. Melvin sat uncomfortably on a park bench, watching the world go by. He looked at the burning sun. Melvin sighed. Then, Melvin saw Mr and Mrs Chain come closer to him. “Hello dear!” Mrs Chain said with a smile.
“Hi” Melvin said gloomily.
“We have been thinking about you a lot lately and we think you need a place to relax so we have booked you to go to Mrs mechanics tropical retreat!” Melvin looked even gloomier than before.
“You leave in 1 hour! So pack your bags and go!”

After 3 hours, Melvin arrived in roboto. WELCOME TO ROBOTO! A big sign read as Melvin entered the roboto airport. Melvin didn’t like the way the robots around him were smiling at him. He trudged along the airport corridor.

Melvin looked around for a taxi. Then, one appeared. “TAXI! TAXI! DOES ANYONE NEED A TAXI?” “Me” Melvin said quietly.
“Hop in!”
Melvin searched through his bag for some money but the robot taxi driver stopped him.
“In Roboto taxis are free!” He said.
“Thank goodness for that!” Melvin said.
But then he realised something. He, Melvin the sad (ish) robot had just laughed. “What’s with the long face?” The robot Taxi driver asked.
“I’m not sad! I’m just a bit shocked!”
“Whys that?”
“I just laughed!” Melvin said.
Melvins face lit up; it felt like he had a new purpose in life. He smiled again.
“What’s so good about that?” The robot driver looked confused.
“I…I…I have never smiled before!”
“You’ve got to be joking!”
“No….I’m not!” By now they had arrived at Mrs mechanics tropical retreat.
“See ya!” The robot driver called and he drove off.

Melvin looked around him. He saw a beautiful scenery: There was a huge hotel with heaps of room and space, a restaurant with a free buffet but Melvin favourite thing about the place was the beach. It had a pool right beside it; Melvin preferred the ocean. Melvin splashed in the waves. Melvin surfed across the bay. Melvin scuba dived down under; Melvin favourite thing to do was to relax on a beach chair under an umbrella.

After 3 weeks, Melvin returned to Robotobia. When Melvin walked down the street, everyone stared at him. Melvin skipped down the street straight to the paint shop. Melvin chose a bright blue colour. He continued to skip down the street, to his house at the end of the road. Melvin spent the rest of his afternoon painting his house. The town was amazed. Melvin smiled and asked them why they were staring. But they had no words because Melvin wasn’t sad (ish) anymore. He was Melvin the happy robot and no one could change that.



Melvin the sad(ish) robot was created by a small Orphan girl named Emily. Emily created Melvin because she was incredibly bored at her small orphanage. Emily was trudging past the orphanage playroom one day when she saw a box of tools laying abandoned in the middle of the room. She came up with the intriguing idea to build a robot because she thought to herself “what if it helps me escape this stupid orphanage”. So she built him using the tools, it was quite ideal because there was a screwdriver and hammer in the box. Emily added a bag to him, in it he carried an old train set a fake walkie talkie and a small teddy bear. She also programmed him to love leaves, Melvin absolutely adores leaves. Melvin may love leaves it makes him happy but he does get sad of course though. What makes Melvin the saddest is the sound of birds it reminds him of families; something he never will have. When she had finished him she hid him in an old hole in the floor and covered him up with a blanket.


At the orphanage their is an atrocious lady, she ran the ghastly place. She was always the meanest to Emily because she was the youngest of the children their. Emily found this incredibly unfair.


The mean lady was always insulting her for absolutely no reason. Most nights Emily cried herself to sleep; through an open window she watched the still quiet night go by. On those nights she would often be dreaming of what had happened to her parents, since the woman who ran the place had never told her.


One cold wintry night Emily heard the sound of a creaking door. She was sitting on her old wooden bed, with her bed sheets shriveled up just over her knees. She hesitated for a moment then she decided to silently fall backwards and pretended to be asleep. She watched as the black shadow made its way across the room.


Emily could hear the faint noise of bells chiming in a distance she knew it was the dead of the night. Suddenly she saw the shadow spin around she gasped it was her robot Melvin. Emily realized someone was coming so she told Melvin to hide. It was Matron. Matron was hurtling through the corridors at quite a pace. Matron barged through the door and turned on the lights. Matron was a smart lady and she had seen Melvin in the cracks of the floor so she knew he existed. Emily! she yelled. I know Melvin is in here so I’m searching your room. “Emily” Matron yelled at the top of her lungs again. Emily knew she couldn’t stand up to Matron so she stayed in bed.


After what seemed like hours Matron finally found Melvin and took him away. The following morning Melvin was sent to Robo city. Robo city was for damaged and broken robots who didn’t belong in the world. Melvin was neither of these but he was once a happy robot but now he was incredibly sad. After three nights things grew worse and worse at the orphanage so on the fourth night Emily packed a bag and jumped through an open Window landing in the streets below. She headed straight to the train station where she took the quickest train to Robo city.


Meanwhile in Robo city Melvin was taken to a robot factory where he would be melted down and improved. When he was finished being improved he went to the streets to beg for money since the factory had requested every dollar and penny he had. Unfortunately no one gave him any.


Melvin had no home since he was created at the orphanage so he went and lied on a park bench. The next morning the sun shone bright in the sky and awoke Melvin from his sleep. Melvin decided to go for a morning walk and get used to the city. So he went to the train station. When he arrived there he was so stunned to see Emily standing at the ticket counter. Emily’s jaw dropped and it was gaping wide open. They ran towards each other and hugged. The pair we’re now reunited once again.


Melvin was no longer Melvin the sad(ish) robot he was Melvin the happy robot from that day on.


Melvin the sad ish robot is sad ish because he gets things wrong ish.

In the morning he gets dressed but he puts them on with the labels all at the front. This made him sad ish.

At lunchtime he made sandwiches with two slices of buttered ham and a slice of bread in-between. This was wrong ish and this made him sad ish.


  • Where did Melvin come from?
  • Who created him?
  • Why is he ‘sad… (ish)’?
  • How old is he?
  • What does he carry in his bag?
  • Does he have any hobbies or interests?
  • What makes him happy? What makes him sad?