with Bruce Van Patter 2010-2011 School Visits

My visit to East Hanover Elementary!

Though I was less than creative on Wacky Hair Day (apparently the kids didn't believe me when I said I was wearing a bald wig), we did have a tremendously creative day making up stories. Hair... oops, here they are.

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: a dragon named Drago in a garden looking for shoes up against a detective dog

The story: this little dragon wants to grow to be a normal size. The only thing that will do that for him is if he puts on magic petals of a flower in the garden.

But a dog has been sniffing around, trying to find him. And now that Drago is about to mistake the black petal for the dog's nose, I think the dog is going to get his wish!

Note the bee up in the corner, warning Drago!


The four ingredients: a librarian in a space ship looking for food up against a sumo wrestler

The story: I don't draw sumo wrestlers, so I imagined him an alien that keeps growing as he eats all the ship's food. The librarian knows the recipe to make him small again, but he's sitting on the key ingredient.

It took me a while to find a title, but I love this one, because it plays with the title of an old scary movie, "Die, Monster, Die!"

The Workshop Stories

In this tale, we dreamed up a city boy who is sent to his grandmother's farm as a last chance to get straightened out. There he meets a neighbor girl who he wants to impress. But there's also the teenage helper on the farm who not only doesn't like having this city boy around, he likes the girl, too!

So the two boys square off on a dare -- to rescue a chicken off of the roof of the abandoned barn. I've drawn what I think happens when our hero gets up there. The farm boy goes off with the girl, who's tired of all the fighting and daring.


This is the first of two stories that had a letter as a key ingredient. Funny how that happens sometimes. In this story, a mailman loses a letter he was supposed to deliver and has to track it down. He realizes that he's got to go to a ramshackle shack in a nearby swamp to get it.

Worse than that, he's got to do it in the dark!

Who took the letter? His dog, who wants him to face his fears and become braver.

I was happy about how the shadow of the letter turned out. It really looks like a monster's claw, don't you think?


Finally, we have a story about a young woman who has a secret power to levitate objects. She's trying to keep it from being discovered by a nerdy detective.

One night, she goes out on a date, only to find a mysterious letter on the table. Opening it up, it reads, "I know your secret!"

That's disturbing enough, but when she turns her head, the letter disappears. She finally finds it in the pocket of her jealous boyfriend. Having no other choice, she levitates it out. But the watching waiter is the nerdy detective!


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

Then to top everything off, we had a truly fun evening program. I don't usually take pictures of my drawings in an evening program, but I enjoyed how this elephant turned out so much, I had to show it to you.

Kids, you have wonderful story ideas. Don't let them just stay up in your brains gathering dust. Put them down on paper and share them with your friends!
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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!
Strange news is happening! Let my Headline Maker give you a really weird headline. Then write a story!

click on the images to go to the writing activities