with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to Old York School!

I love fourth grade. I'm not going to play favorites and say I like it better than all the others, but fourth grade is a great age to work with when it comes to inventing stories. I decided I wanted to be an artist in fourth grade.

So you can imagine how excited I was to spend a whole day with them. And Old York kids were some of the nicest fourth graders I've met. What a great day we had! Here are the stories that came out of our day together.

The assembly drawing

The four ingredients: a circus guy at a creek looking for a basketball up against an evil penguin

The story: This is one mean clown coach. He had a basketball team of clowns, but they all quit on him because he was so bossy. I mean, just look at the size of that whistle!

So our mean clown got together the only team that the circus could spare: a group of penquins. They took the ball down to the creek, and now don't seem to be all that bothered by the coach's rants. I think the coach is getting a little of his own medicine!


Here are the three character doodles kids created in the workshops. Can you guess which one goes with each story below?

The workshop stories

Who is this strange new kid in school? Our hero (the boy in the back of the picture) overheard the new kid talking in the janitor's closet. The new boy is a alien, and better yet, he has powers to help our somewhat mean hero do better on his tests. The alien agrees to help him if the boy will show him where the new power source is for the high-tech new school they go to.

So here's our hero, coming to show the great grade he got to his alien friend. But what's this? The alien is going to tap into the energy and use it for evil purposes!

You just can't trust visitors from outer space, can you?


Pity poor Chubster. His owners think he's too overweight and they've put him on a diet. But it's not his fault -- they own a restaurant! No wonder he's fat. So now he wants to get thin so he can start eating what he wants again.

Diet schmiet -- he's found out an easier way to lose weight. The waiter is actually a magical wizard (guess wizarding isn't paying enough these days) and has magic dust which can help Chubster get skinny again. So here's our pooch poaching the dust and replacing the shaker with one holding salt.

Now, let's hope he knows how to use it. What if he does it wrong and it makes him bigger? He'll put the "pound" in "dog pound!"


In Swamp Rescue, we had a girl who found out she could fly. She's trying to rescue her little brother -- a real pest to her -- who has wandered into the swamp. She figures that if she can rescue him first, he'll have to be nice to her.

But the surprise is that the brother has found a family he likes better. The swamp famiily lets him play with their pet alligator, Bruno, who apparently doesn't like flying visitors!


So, thanks to all who made today such a fabulous time. I especially liked seeing the examples of writing on the walls which came from my Sparks lessons! Thank you, teachers, for being willing to try new things, too!

Hey, Old York kids -- keep going with your ideas. Many of you came up to me and told me about something you were thinking of writing or drawings. That's great! Keep it up!

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

Oh, an one other thing. I loved telling my duck joke as a penguin joke!

back to main page programs Fun stuff for families schools reviews bio
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