with Bruce Van Patter 2007-2008 School Visits

My visit to North Star Central Elem.

This was a fun day! Imagine making up stories with these kids. You know what? You don't have to imagine -- I'll just tell you!

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: a mermaid on a mountain looking for a giant magic pickle with a silly sidekick of a king clown

The story: Well, that was a strange combination! I imagined that a mermaid knew of a magical underwater pickle and wanted to use it to turn into a human. She knew it worked because it changed her clown fish into a silly person.

But a giant evil crab didn't want the mermaid to rule the sea AND the land, so he hid the pickle on a giant mountain.

Here's where I couldn't quite figure out the story. Somehow the princess and the clown end up on the mountain where he starts acting silly with the pickle. I don't know why. Acting silly is what clowns do best, I guess!


The four ingredients: a dog in a castle looking for a pet upt against a bear

The story: This story came together better than the first one. A dog has been bothering his father for a pet. Finally, the dad says that whatever the boy can make follow him home he can keep. So the boy sets his sights on the biggest prize: the beast that the king locked in the castle!

When he gets there, the guard bear tries to warn him of the danger. But the boy came prepared with a sugar cube. He thought that since his father's horse liked sugar cubes, the beast would, too.

Good thing the beast was a dragon with a sweet tooth!

The workshop stories

We started this doodle intending it to be a sketch of a cow! But part way through, it turned into a bird. That was just fine with this great group of brainstorming kids. We created a great tale about a bird who lost his song.

We also thought that it looked like she was sitting on a lilly pad and

the thing dangling down meant she was fishing.

Here's what happened. She didn't have much faith in herself, so when she tried to sing, her song was so unsure, it just sank right down from the tree into the pond where it was swallowed up by a fish!

She tried to get the song back, but could only do it if she could make the fish laugh! So I drew the fish laughing, and a bubble with the song popping with the bird swooping down to swallow it.

Oh, and I added an alligator ready to swallow the bird!


What if you found a cell phone that could call magical creatures? That's what developed in this story. This young man to the right found a cell phone and called little magical creatures. But they wouldn't go back and after a while, were driving him crazy!

He had a friend -- a girl -- who found out about the incredible phone and stole it so that she could call up a few creatures of her own. The boy, knowing the danger, is trying to stop her!


Action Bunny -- there's a fun concept! This sketch of a leaping rabbit helped us dream up a story about a bunny who receives power by a magic carrot.

But a big, old bear takes the carrot. How will the bunny get it back? He's not very wise, because since he developed his powers, he's been slacking off at school.

So he reads up about bears and finds a kind of berry that will make them sleep. Unfortunately, the bear falls asleep and falls on top of him!


In addition to all the free material on this site, I have downloadable books that are perfect for keeping kids writing in school or at home!

(click on books to see)

The Adventures of Pirate Dog
Picture prompts are a great way to inspire kids to write! Here are 26 of my best drawings with fun, pre-writing worksheets

Write Your Own
Cartoons!
Kids can add the
dialogue and their special touches to my funny comic strips filled with wacky characters!

Sparks: Year One
Here’s a fantastic resource for teachers: a whole year of weekly creative writing lessons built around wacky holidays!

More to come!

Wow, what a day! Falling bears, dragons licking sugar, singing fish -- they all prove my point: you North Star Central kids are creative!

So, now what will you do with all that creativity? Use it, I hope.

Write your stories down. Work together if you feel like you're stuck. And remember, share what you make with others. That way you'll get the most fun out of your stories.

And check out some of the fun stuff I have 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!
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