with Bruce Van Patter 2009-2010 School Visits

My visit to Collins Elementary!

Check out these stories:

The four ingredients: a horse in a bank looking for a crown up against a lion

The story: Our horse put her expensive crown in a bank to keep it safe. But a lion who worked there found it in the vault and decided he would crown himself the "King of the Bank" for a day.

But I don't think the horse likes the lion using her crown without her permission!

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The four ingredients: a teacher detective in the torch of the Statue of Liberty looking for a vacation in the Bahamas with a silly sidekick of a guy with a big afro.

The story: This story got more complicated as it went along. It's still a bit fuzzy in my head, but it's about a teacher who is trying to find a legendary sea monster that used to live in the Bahamas but now is rumored to live in the NY harbor. With the help of her sidekick, Bahama Joe, she was able to find the Golden Conch which will summon the monster. When struck by the sunlight glinting off the torch (I had to shift the story to the outside of the torch), it amplified the sound when someone blew through it.

Like I said. Complicated. But still fun!

Workshop stories

This kid on the right is a boy who invents video games. He's created one for school on reptiles, but when he goes to show it to the class, it's missing! Worse than that, unless it's played right, he will slowly turn into a reptile himself. (I can't exactly remember how that worked.)

Who has the game? A girl who likes him. She found it and is searching the school for him as he's looking for her. AND, he's turning into a giant reptile boy. The only way to reverse the effect is for her to play it correcly.

But there may not be time! Here comes the principal!


A girl finds a rare book which gives her a differend super power in each chapter. She sets off to help people with her little brother as her sidekick. She has trouble understanding and controling the powers, so she invents a power-stop band-aid that disables the power when she puts it on.

Then one day the book disappears! She doesn't realize that it was taken by her little brother, who was promised a space ship by aliens who want the book's powers for their home planet. The girl is trying to use her force ray to get the power-stop band-aid onto the aliens to get her book back!


Can you see the little mark in the doodle on the right that's floating above the character's head? We decided it was a fake mustache that has powers to make women like him. He needs it because his mother won't let him visit her until he has a bride-to-be.

In a field of poppies, he meets a charming farm girl. But just as she's starting to like him, the wind blows off his mustache -- right onto her cow!

When I asked for a name for the cow, a kid suggested Annabel. Hey -- that's my mother's name!

Making up stories is so much fun, don't you think, Collins kids? I had a great time with you all and was impressed by your ideas for interesting tales.

Remember, the first step is to get those stories down on paper. But don't forget the second step: show them to someone. You need an audience for your writing, even if it's just a few people.

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

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Pick the ingredients to stories and click through to see how I've started them. Then you finish the story!

Make a character out of some funny people I've drawn for you!
Over a hundred million wacky headlines wait for you to make them into a story!

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