with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to Kelly Elementary!

The school in my own town is a wonderful school -- full of friendly teachers and eager students (not to mention a fabulous assembly coordinator!). It was such a treat to be in front of a home-town crowd. It seemed like everywhere I looked there was a familiar face. Since this was as much fun as I've had in a school, let me share some of the fun we had with you.

The four ingredients: a horse in a castle looking for a home up against a dragon

The story: First, you have to know two things: I really don't draw horses well, and our town's mascot is a dragon. So there was a little extra pressure on me. But still, this turned into a fun drawing.

A horse who travels around as a minstrel singer is looking for somewhere he can live and play his music without people complaining. He finds this castle, which seems empty. But as he explores the castle, he finds a set of doors which are not to be opened. Behind the doors, though, he can hear beautiful music, TUBA music! (I made it a tuba, because that's what I used to play.) He's got to find out who is making it. So he opens the door and -- OH NO! It's a tuba-playing dragon!

I think they'll make beautiful music together, don't you?

Second Grade Workshop Stories

I don't often do stories with birds as the main character. But this one, with a parrot as the hero, was really fun. This parrot does something really different. She names her crackers! Isn't that strange? She thinks they are her friends. So she keeps them on the kitchen counter with name-tags. (It can be hard to know which cracker is which!)

But there is a monster nearby! A cat sees her chance to have a snack and grabs the one named "Susan." How will the parrot save Susan? By making her voice sound just like the owner's voice. That will make the mean cat think twice about crunching on someone's friend!

Here is a really interesting story. It's about a boy who is constantly lying to people, and keeps a list of the lies he's told! When his list disappears, he has to figure out who has found it.

He sets out to visit each person to whom he lied to see if they have the list. Along the way, he has to apologize to each one. In the end, he realizes that it was his sister who took the list. She's mad because he did something mean to her Barbie. Just when she's about to hand the paper over to their mom, the boy realizes that his sister is tricking him -- it's just a grocery list she's showing their mom.

Sis has put the real list back in the boy's room, because she's had her revenge. Her brother had to say he was sorry to all the people he had hurt with lies.

Here's a story about a pig who wants knows how to speak dog language. He knows all about what it takes to be like a dog. So the other pigs send him to a dog show to try to win the blue ribbon, to get some respect for pigs.

But, of course, every story must have a problem, so a poodle figures out that he's not a dog, but a pig. Smart dog!

She decides to let everyone know about this faker, so she puts a bucket of mud out in the middle of the contest floor. The pig just can't resist. He rushes over and jumps into the mud!

He doesn't win the prize for best dog, but the judges decide to add in the next year's contest a new category: mud jumping!

Hey, Kelly Second-Graders! You have great ideas! Thanks for sharing them with me.

And the great treat for me is, I will keep seeing you around town. Some of you are even on my soccer team! I hope you will remember to say hi when you see me. What is even more important is, I hope you will remember to keep making stories and drawings from your own ideas.

Keep up the great work!

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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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