with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to Liberty Elementary!

Fun was just up the road today when I drove north to Liberty, PA, from my home in central PA. What a great day we had, just jammed full of inventive story ideas. Here are the tales we made up:

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: a scientist in a magical land looking for a pancake house with a sidekick of a panda

The story: you think this story looks strange? You should have heard the ingredients before I changed them to work in a school story!

The actual story doesn't matter that much, I just want you to enjoy the wonderful strangeness of the ideas all put together into one drawing. And you can't see this, but the little pancake is saying, "I HOP!"

Get it?


The four ingredients: a flying snake in a flying school looking for a mouse, up against a horse.

The story: a number of animals have come to Flying School to learn to fly. When they come to the final test, to see who is the best at flying, a mouse looks like he will win with his balloon.

But a flying horse, who had been bragging during all the classes, won't let the mouse get away with a win. He pops the balloon! How does the snake fly up to help? With a rocket-powered pogo stick, of course. And just in case you think that's silly, take a look at the one on this page!

The Workshop Stories

What is this thing? It's an eledog: part elephant, part dog. He wants to join the circus and do a high wire act. At first everything goes great for him.

But every story must have a problem. In this story, there is a monster who is one of the clowns. He doesn't want to share the spotlight with Eledog, so he does a terrible thing. He sets fire to Eledog's safety net!

But wait! The Monster Clown is trapped on the burning net! Who will save the day? Well, I guess you can see that in my drawing.

In this tale, a master criminal has taken on a new identity. In his new life in the city, nobody knows about his dangerous past. But one day, some wind changes everything. His hat blows off.

As it tumbles down the stree into the park, he realizes that his real name is still written in the hat. When he searches for it, he sees a monstrous guy who picks up trash in the park is wearing it! He later tries to sneak into the park guy's house to get it back, but he's caught!

It's only then that he realizes: this isn't his hat after all!

This is one phony professor. He's only brilliant because of a magical rock he keeps in his pocket. But he's lonely in his secret, so he tells a kid, who then sneaks off with his rock!

After school, I tried to turn this kid from a drawing of a boy into one of a girl. I'm not sure it worked so great, but I realized I had too few girls in my stories today.

But here's another girl at least. She's a proud chicken mama, trying to hatch an amazing egg. Inside it is a baby Ninja Chicken! With him, she plans to take over the farm.

That is, if the farmer doesn't stop her first!

I was very happy that I had "scientist farm" music to play while I drew. It's not often I can match such a crazy combination!

What a great, great day! I hope you all had as much fun as I did. My thanks go out to everyone who made the day such a successful one -- the librarians, the teachers and especially, the creative Liberty kids!

This picture shows me working after school as I finished up the drawings. More importantly, the drawings below display some of the ideas shared with me by kids in the school.

What I like best about these is that each of them is a collaboration of a team of students. I think that's great. Working together to brainstorm is a wonderful way to come up with original ideas.

Remember, Liberty kids: you have great ideas. Share them!

back to main page programs Fun stuff for families schools reviews bio
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