with Bruce Van Patter 2010-2011 School Visits

My visit to Cedar Hill School

I truly enjoyed working with the kids in this great school. They invented flying elephants, penguins with umbrella boats, and a yo-yo thief. Great imaginations were at work today!

The assembly drawings

Check out these stories:

The four ingredients: a boy in a chair out in a park looking for his father's yo-yo collection with a silly sidekick of a weasel.

The story: I don't have much of a plot for this except that a boy who is put in a chair as punishment by his mom, reinvents the chair as a jet-powered riding chair. He does it because he sees that his dad's yo-you collection is missing and his mom won't listen to him about it.

So he sets off to find the thief, which leads him to a park where a neighborhood boy is showing off his skills with our hero's yo-yos.

The pet weasel wants to help but isn't quite fast enough.

I don't know the rest of the plot, but I think it's going to have many ups and downs.


The workshop stories

We all know a story where an elephant learns to fly. But in this story, the elephant hero can fly by blowing air out of his short trunk. He's being held prisoner by a farmer pig who tells him that he's no good, that if he leaves the farm, people will make fun of him for his short trunk.

There's a little caterpillar that the elephant finds who tells him a different story. The little guy says that our hero is special because of the trunk. He wants to help him escape the farm!

The farmer, of course, wants to stop the caterpillar, so he catches him and is about to feed him to a fish in the farm pond. But then, SWOOSH! In comes our hero to save him.

Drawing an elephant flying backwards was a challenge!


This story started off with a cute drawing of a penguin with an umbrella. From that, we imagined that this little guy learned about warm lands from his parents' adventure in South America. He doesn't like cold fish or water. He tries to cook his fish using hot rocks and an ice magnifying glass.

One day, he decides to set out to see if he can find what happened to his parents, who never came back from another adventure.

He finds them on a small, rocky island. They are stuck there because sea lions surround the island. He floats in, using his umbrella as a boat. Then he pushes the sea lions away so that his parents can escape!


Here is a girl who has an amazing book -- it gives her new adventures each week. As she follows the adventure, what happens to her appears in the book! Wow -- great magic!

The book belongs to a wizard who lives in the woods near her house. I decided to draw the wizard like a librarian rather than a wizard. Wizards can come in many shapes!

In the final scene, the girl is trying to keep one hand in the book while she tries to grab her mom's hand (her mom is trapped by the wizard) with the other. That way, they can both be transported back to their home. The wizard, though, wants to close the book first!


Finally, here is a raccoon who searches through the trash every night. There's a woman who wants him to find a rainbow apple for her. Why? Because the apple is magical and can give powers to anyone who takes a bite.

The raccoon searches for the apple, but there's a man tracking the raccoon. His job is to get rid of pests that run through the city.

I've pictured the moment when the raccoon is just about to get caught by the tracker. Our hero takes a bite of the apple and finds he can fly! But the tracker has caught him. In the back is the woman who wants the power for herself.

Isn't there anyone to help our hero?

When I wrote the word balloon for the tracker, "Oh, NO you DON'T!", the kids pointed out that I wrote the same thing in the last illustration! So I had to change it, at least a little.

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I love random connections! Here's a page that will create random What If Questions to help you start stories!


It seemed to me that the kids had as good a time as I did. It sure was fun inventing stories with you all, Cedar Hill third grade! I hope you'll keep those story ideas flowing. Don't just do them for school projects, write them for your own pleasure. And remember how good it feels to have others enjoy your stories, too. Share your ideas!

Keep being creative, and check out the fun stuff on my site!

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