with Bruce Van Patter 2009-2010 School Visits

My visit to Carbondale Elementary

It was such a pleasure to wrap up my regular school year with this school. So many great ideas were found in the imaginations of the Carbondale students.

The assembly drawings

Check out these stories:

The four ingredients: a bear in his backyard looking for food up against a tiger

The story: This is a pretty simple story about a bear who should wear his glasses but doesn't want to. He went into his backyard to pick some ripe grapes, but didn't see that his neighbor, a tiger, had climbed up to eat some himself!

Now the bear is about to pluck the tiger out of the grapevine!

I think my favorite part is the title.


The four ingredients: a detective girl in a mysterious city looking for a way out up against a short, angry guy

The story: The one part of those four elements that got the best laugh out of the audience was the short guy villain. So I decided he was the king of a city that was built just for him -- short. A detective girl goes into the city to see if she can bring back an artifact. She grabs his sceptor.

But on the way out, she gets stuck in the doorway!

I waited until later to come up with the title. I think Shortberg is a funny name for the king's city.

The workshop stories

When a girl gets a ticket to come from another dimension into our world, she doesn't realize that once she's here, she won't want to go back. But the people who sold her the ticket expect her to return. So they send a monster to track her down.

She only has made one friend in this world, a boy who she thinks is her boyfriend. What she doesn't know is that he is also sent by the trackers. And after he saves her from the monster, he tricks her into coming into the train station where the portal is for the other world.

What was the monster, by the way. Just for a joke, I made it a chihuahua.


Mermaids are always fun to put into a story. But it's tricky. We have to avoid The Little Mermaid.

So in this story, we have a mermaid who is looking for her missing crown. She's actually the princess, but has to wait until the right age to declare herself the queen.

But when the crown disappears, she has to track down the thief. She thinks it might be her evil sister, but in the end, she realizes it was taken by the creature that lives in the kelp forest. She once went into the forest and stole some powerful kelp and the monster wants to lure her back to finish her off.

It was fun drawing her tangled in the kelp. And that object that is falling out of her left hand is the idea of one of the boys in the workshop -- it's a shell-phone!


This doodle on the right is a great drawing of a nerd. In our story, he sent away for a pencil that can automatically read and answer any question on a test. He's become one of the top students, but he's cheating his way to the top!

But once again, the Wheel of Fiction in our workshop gave us a mystery, so once again the key object is stolen. Who took his homework pencil? The bully, who wants to become the smartest student.

I've shown them wrestling over the pencil, which is making an alert noise: "Malfunction!" That was an idea of another student in our session.

A fun story!


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New on my site!

I love random connections! Here's a page that will create random What If Questions to help you start stories!


Carbondale kids -- with summer approaching, get yourself into an imaginative frame of mind. You have great ideas. Those ideas deserve to find their way onto paper. Some of you will write them. Some will draw them. Still others will work with friends to make stories and drawings. It doesn't matter how you do it, just DO it. Make it a creative summer!

Thanks for a great visit, 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!
Strange news is happening! Let my Headline Maker give you a really weird headline. Then write a story!

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