with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to Hereford Elementary!

It was so impressed by this school, not only by how helpful everyone was, but by how the ideas just seemed to flow throughout the day. Here are the stories we created during our time together.

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: an astronaut in a boy's messy bedroom looking for a puppy and the astronaut has a silly sidekick of a monkey

The story: an alien astronaut crash lands through the window of a boy's bedroom. When he goes off to explore, a puppy -- who has been lonely all day since the boy left for school -- grabs his space ship.

How will the alien get his ship back. The puppy doesn't seem to be listening. Maybe he thinks this is a game!

Apparently the monkey is taking matters into his own hands. Watch out, monkey, I think this puppy is going to give you a wild ride!

The four ingredients: a dragon on a road looking for gold up against a dinosaur

The story: our hero dragon is on a quest for his gold. He has been following a map for a long time, but has become lost. It's a good thing that he found this sign pointing to where the gold is.

Perhaps the dragon ought to think why someone would put a sign up directing to gold. If he would, he might not be so quick to follow the directions!

Danger is lurking!

The Workshop Stories

Starting with this sketch of an evil-looking boy reaching for ice cream, we imagined a story where a boy is going into the freezer of a wizard next door.

I can't remember right now what the magic did, but I like how the sketch above inspired us to think of the view from inside the freezer. It's good to look at scenes from different angles.

After I drew this, I was told that my wizard ice-cream man looked a lot like the principal! Oops! I didn't mean to do that!

Here's a fun story. See this young man on the right? He's a mountain man. Or, at least he wants to be.

He's actually a rich 20-something guy who wanted to give up his riches and live in the mountains and look for his missing father. His wealthy mother thinks this is nuts. (She and his father are divorced.)

But he persists. So she gives him one month to live in the woods and search for his dad. She gives him his father's watch to help him keep track of the days.

I really liked the idea that the watch is not only his only link to his mother's world of time and money, but also his only link to his father. We imagined things that could go wrong in his quest to find his dad. This drawing is a rather silly one for a pretty complicated story, but when someone mentioned a bear getting involved, I had to draw this.

The thing that makes this story fun is that a dog is on a quest to save a circus from a high, snow-bound mountain.

We had fun imagining the problems that he would face trying to rescue a circus. When I drew this picture, I purposefully left the elephant for last, so the audience could see the dog straining, but they didn't know what he was carrying.

I love making my drawings like a visual joke, revealing the "punchline" at the end.

Here's another story set on a mountain. This sketch on the right was a terrific start for a story. Why is the man playing a horn downward?

We dreamed up a story about a man who had found a magical horn that could warn of danger to the town below. But the horn belongs to an elf who has come to collect it.

While the two of them fight, the real danger is sliding past them!

In this kindergarten tale, we pulled a pirate hat out of my Bag of Hats, and imagined a fox as a pirate captain.

Captain Fox sets out in a bucket to find treasure on an island. He finds the treasure, but also finds it is guarded by a sea monster!

The sea monster says he will trade the treasure if only Captain Fox will get him one of those delicious coconuts he can see but can't get.

So Fox climbs the tree and pulls loose a coconut. But then he falls! What will the monster do? Will he catch the fox or the coconut before it's dashed to pieces?

He catches the fox, and the fox catches the coconut, so in the end, they both find a new treasure: a good friend!

So, thanks to all who made this day such a fabulous time. I enjoyed you all so much, from the moment I walked in to the late afternoon when a mom and some kids kept me company as I finished the drawings. You are one friendly school!

Keep up your imagining, Hereford Heroes! Take the fun of our day together and let it inspire you to keep reading, keep writing and drawing.

Remember... you have great ideas. Share them!

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