with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to Bee Meadow School

What a treat to end up my busy year of presentations at this wonderful school. So many things were stellar about the day: the helpful teachers and PTA, the wonderful luncheon, the super-cool principal (who, by the way, is not my long-lost brother no matter how much we look alike), and most of all, the very creative kids. Here are the stories we invented:

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: a sloth in a tree who wants a coconut up against a gorilla

The story: I was very happy to have a sloth for a main character. I have a sloth in my book Max Bonker and the Howling Thieves, but I've never drawn a sloth in a school story. So here, our sloth is always trying to get ripe coconuts, but a gorilla beats him to them. He's a mean gorilla who taunts the sloth.

But here, we see how the sloth finally got his coconut.

Take THAT, you mean gorilla!

The four ingredients: a baseball player on a beach looking for an alien up against a robber

The story: A kid who has struck out too many times is dropped from a baseball team. He goes down to a local beach, feeling sorry for himself. What does he find there? An alien who is ready to help him learn to swing faster. But there's an evil scientist just off-shore who has sent his henchman to kidnap the alien!

My favorite part of this drawing was having a couple hundred of kids serenade me with "Take Me Out to the Ballgame!"

The workshop stories

When we drew this simple sketch on the left, we tried to decide what that thing was the guy is holding. An umbrella? A kite? A stingray? When the Wheel of Fiction gave us a sci-fi story, we decided it had to be an alien space ship!

In our story, a young man is making a name for himself as a weather forecaster up at his mountain-top home. But one day, he sees an alien ship. He wants to capture them and make the ultimate forecast: cloudy today with a chance of ALIENS! But the aliens have no intention of letting him get the word out!


Here's another story that takes place up in the mountains. This man with the hat is constantly bickering with his wife. Apparently, he doesn't like her baking. She's upset, and to make her feel better, he says he'll go get her mother to come down from the mountains for a visit.

Unfortunately, the wife's father is not so happy about the idea. He intends to make a deal with his son-in-law: "Prove to me you're a real man, and I'll let my wife come back with you."

What task does he give? To capture a bear in the woods. Seems like a real challenge. But our hero has a plan to lure the bear with a whole sackful of pies his wife baked! I guess the pies were good for something after all!


This story is about a boy who is tired of having his mom tell him what to do. His mom is also tired of him disobeying.

They find out that in an orchard is a magic apple. If the mom gets the apple, she'll gain control over her son. But the boy has a plan, too.

It seems that the apple is guarded by a frog -- who lives in a tree-branch castle. If the boy captures the frog, he will gain control over his mom! No more chores! So the race is on. Who will win? Take your pick.


Isn't this the cutest cake? It was made by a very creative mom, who copied the cover of my book to make an edible painting of Farley Found It. Pretty sweet, huh? Yes, and it tasted as good as it looked.

It's a good picture to sum up the day: a real treat. I hope you Bee Meadow kids had as much fun as I did. I loved your ideas. As summer approaches, keep making up stories, put them down on paper, and share them with others.

Your ideas are too sweet to waste!

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!

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