with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to Brownstown Elementary!

Brownstown is a great school, filled with kids who are eager to make up stories. I loved the ideas that flowed from the imaginations of these kids. Check out these stories:

The four ingredients: a bear in a house looking for a fish up against a raccoon

The story: This bear invited over a raccoon he was trying to be a friend to. But when the bear started to make a fish dinner, he couldn't find the fish! After a long search, he found it. The raccoon had rescued it!

"Courteous" was the character trait of the month at Brownstown, so I thought I'd work that into the drawing.


The four ingredients: a ninja pirate in China looking for a girlfriend, and with the pirate is a silly sidekick of a goofy, clumsy guy

The story: This pirate is not a nice guy. Well, pirates usually aren't. He's come to China to see if he can marry a princess, but what he's really after is her fabled treasure!

So his plan is to have her think he's brave. He has his sidekick bring in a great bowl of rice for her meal, but at the last minute the pirate rushes in to save her from being "poisoned." Unfortunate for our pirate, he's actually knocking the rice onto the princess! That's not a way to impress a girl, dude!

And though we had eight great doodlers in the assemblies, I had to share this one. This is by a kindergartner who was confused at first about what he should do. But once he understood, he made this wonderful airplane out of the squiggles I had given him.

Fabulous! A round of applause to both of my Doodle Teams!

The workshop stories

How's this for a great story idea: a contest for dragons to see how long they can stay in the heat of a volcano! That is really original. I love it!

So, here we have a woman dragon-trainer. She's prepared her dragon to win the contest, but as the volcano erupts, the woman realizes she's in danger from the lava.

This was a great opportunity to talk about how a character can have conflicting "wants." The dragon has been trained to stay in the flames and heat. That's how he'll win the contest. But he also cares about the trainer. So now, he has a tough choice: win the contest or save his trainer. What do you think he should do?


In this interesting tale, a lizard is an artist. He has special paints which can bring to life his paintings. So he paints himself a watercolor of a new friend.

The problem is that he lives behind a waterfall in a city park! That's not a very safe place to bring a living watercolor. Here's my drawing of the watercolor lizard starting to melt as she tries to pass through the waterfall.


We liked in this doodle to the right how the girl seemed really laid back and cool. Her eye is half closed and she has a self-satisfied grin on her face. We imagined that nothing could bother her.

Little did we know we'd need the same coolness.

Right before I started to draw, the fire alarm went off in the school! This is the first time this has ever happened. So we all silently marched outside, but I had the forethought to grab the paper and a marker so that I could draw outside.

In the story, the young woman is looking for her grandfather's library of books on pranks. Her quest will take her throughout her grandfather's mansion, where he's readied all kinds of pranks for her! But she's got one ready for him, too -- a donut with a special filling, which is something that I did once for my kids. What kind of filling? Only the kid in this workshop know!


Here we have a young man who is an illegal immigrant. He's here alone. He was separated from his family when he was young and doesn't remember them. But then he hears that they'll be coming to an art exhibit. He must find them in the crowded museum, but he doesn't know what they look like.

What makes things worse is that a government agent is tracking him! I love the tension this idea would build in a story. And I think having the whole story take place inside a building within a one-hour time limit is really a fascinating concept! Great job, brainstormers!

Brownstown kids: you are creative! You have good ideas just waiting to come out. Remember the fun that we had today and bring that fun into your own life when you write and draw and tell stories.

Thanks to everyone, and especially Mrs. Gibble for such a wonderful day.

Keep being creative, and 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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