with Bruce Van Patter 2009-2010 School Visits

My visit to Holly Hills Elementary

Want to find some creative kids? Stop by Holly Hills, where stories flow out of active imaginations! I really enjoyed working with the students at this fun school. Just look at the stories we invented!

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: a mermaid in a movie theater who wants sunglasses with a silly sidekick of a cat

The story: This poor mermaid! She's been caught and brought to a stage by her manager cat. He hopes to make a lot of money off of showing her to crowds of people. He's so mean that he won't even let her have his sunglasses. She can't take all the bright lights of the stage.

Somehow, I don't think the crowds are going to like how he's treating her!

Let's start a FREE THE MERMAID campaign!


The four ingredients: a giraffe in a dungeon who wants to escape up against a puma

The story: A giraffe has been put in a dungeon -- I didn't think of a reason why. But while in prison, the giraffe learns to paint. So he paints a beautiful landscape of the mountains. And this gives him an idea for escape!

He shows the mountains to the puma who wishes he could go back to the mountains where he came from. This discracts the guard just long enough for the giraffe to take his keys!

In the end, I think they both escape and go to the mountains together.

The workshop stories

I love this story for a couple of reasons. First, I think the drawing on the right is a great start for a character. Second, we imagined the boy uses a huge, magical bear tooth to give him wrestling power over the great leader bear. That's original. And finally, we thought of a tooth fairy bear who comes to take the tooth. Fun!

I'm really happy with this drawing because I usually draw scenes with the good guy on one side and the bad guy on the other. But here, one character is grabbing another in a line.

One thing I just added, though -- the black hole in the teeth of the great bear. I should have thought of doing that on the original. After all, the boy took his tooth!


In this story, we have an alien girl who disobeys her parents and goes out without her recharging bowl. What is that, you ask? It's a bowl that, when placed on her head, gives her the energy she needs. Without it, she'll eventually collapse.

She doesn't have her bowl because her brother took it. He's jealous that she has so much freedom. (The kids in the workshop could relate to that!) But when she goes out to the mall, he starts to worry about what might happen if people discover she's really an alien.

So here he is, coming just in the nick of time!


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


What a great day this was! Spending time in the library and meeting parents in the evening show were just two more extra bonuses to the day.

You Holly Hills kids are truly creative. I love your story ideas. Don't let them gather dust in your brains -- bring them out! Put theme down on paper and share them with your friends. That's the best way to keep being creative!

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!
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