with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to South Lebanon Elementary!

What a great day! Creative ideas were flowing all day long. Check out these stories:

The four ingredients: a cat in a bathroom wants her lucky shoes up against a cow!

The story: when our hero, a cat, invites a cow over, little does she know what will happen to her favorite pair of sneakers! (She needs these shoes to... well, sneak.) The cow uses them as boats for her rubber duckies!

I know. It sounds udder-ly ridiculous, but that's what you get when you encourage the imaginations of kids!

The four ingredients: a basketball player in Antartica looking for a girlfriend and he has a sidekick of a chihuahua who is small but thinks he's huge

The story: How far does a brilliant high-school girl have to go to get away from an annoying, conceited basketball player? All the way to the frozen south, where she's working on her equipment to check global warming.

The boy follows her, convinced that if he could just show her his 3-point shot, she'd fall madly in love with him. The chihuahua thought he'd be able to catch it, but is having second thoughts!

Workshop stories

A rat as a hero? Why not! Our rat hero finds that someone has stolen his wooden goblet, given to him by his father. He's heart-broken and must get it back. But who would take it?

The cat, you say? Well, that's what the mouse wanted you to think! See, there is this mouse who hates the rat and wants to get him out of the way, so he steals the goblet and puts it by the cat.

But the rat has a little surprise for the mouse. He gives up another of his treasures -- really aged cheese -- to lure the mouse back to the goblet. And while the cat chases the mouse, he'll get his goblet back. That's one smart rat!

There is a fishing contest in this story. Whoever catches this rare fish will give it to a pretty girl for her aquarium collection. The young man in the water really likes the girl, but he's afraid of fish. His rival in the boat has trapped him in a cage with lots of fish just to scare him off.

A funny thing happens, though. Our hero actually catches the rare fish, while it has the mean guy's hook in its mouth. The good guy then gets the fish loose and attaches the hook to the cage! The girl in the background is impressed with how much the hero shows kindness to the fish. And look at that -- he's overcome his fears!

For this story, I had a student pull out a hat from my trusty "Bag of Hats." This crumpled hat started kids thinking about why it was so beat up. We decided it was because something bothered our dragoness so much she'd yank it down over her head. Seems that she doesn't like it that people always think she's terrifying.

Then I had another student pull something out of another bag. It was to be the thing that she really wanted. Out came a recorder! So we decided that she wanted to play beautiful music to make people like her. But she's a dragon! So when she plays, FIRE comes out! In the last drawing, which I forgot to take a picture of, the pig joins her in a concert, only he plays the recorder with squirting water out of it to put out the fire! There's nothing like music to pull people together!

Here's one last story, which also started with a random hat. We chose a frog, then found out he wore this fancy hat. So we decided he wanted to be a famous dancing frog.

But the bear who is the star of the dance floor didn't like the frog getting all the attention, so he tries to stomp on him. Though he misses, the crowd loves the new dance team, and so the two of them share the spotlight.

When we were all done, I had the kids try out the dance with me, all hopping on one foot and switching to another, dancing around pencils the kids had all put on the floor. I told them to be careful not to step on the frog, but of course, they all did. Maybe we'll have to rename the dance, "The Frog-Squash!"

Well, counting in the evening program, we had a full day of ideas. But it was fun, wasn't it, kids? And you know what made it fun? Your ideas. Sure, my drawings helped to make the stories come to life, but my art can only be as good as the stories which inspire it. You have great ideas. Keep putting them down on paper and sharing them with others!

And while you're here, 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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