with Bruce Van Patter 2008-2009 School Visits

My visit to Meadowbrook Elementary!

The assembly stories

The four ingredients: a young fox in the rainforest looking for ice cream up against a turtle

The story: Our young fox has gone exploring in the rainforest. He's getting very hungry. When he looks up, he's very excited to see what looks like ice cream cones growing from a plant. He starts to climb up to get one.

But right as he's about to touch it, a turtle leaps out to stop him. Why? Because the turtle knows it's actually a deadly plant!


The four ingredients: a boy who drives a car on the flame of the Statue of Liberty looking for a superpower with a silly sidekick of a sea-horse dragon

The story: our hero has invented a car that can climb up the Statue of Liberty. He wants to get up there because he has invented a way to capture the power of lighning and use it for a superpower. He's already changed his pet sea horse into a flying dragon with a smaller electrical charge.

But just when the lightning strikes, the sea horse gets in the way! We thought the lightning should make the sea-horse a monster!

The workshop stories

If you look closely in the doodle on the right, you'll see the bear holding some small shape. (I think it looks like a cheese doodle, but I didn't tell the kids that. A doodle doodle!) We thought we'd make that a caterpillar that lives in the forest in the winter and becomes a friend to the bear.

The bear has entered a race to get across the forest first. He wants to win a pot of golden honey, though if it were up to me, he'd win a cave for the winter.

Up against him in the contest is a sneaky rabbit who keeps cheating. So the caterpillar helps the bear by telling him how to slide across the ice on his stomach for a short-cut. But the bear is breaking the ice as he slides. Who will win? That's up to you. What do you think?


In this magical story, a girl has magical knitting needles. When she sees a poor, cold frog in a swamp, she knits him a pair of magical socks. But she doesn't realize what the effect of magic will be on the frog. He turns huge and dangerous!

The girl doesn't know this until she finds some rabbits huddled in fear. They tell her of the big, mean frog.

So our knitting girl decides to make one more thing to change the frog back. A hat! But getting the hat on the frog won't be easy! In my picture you can see her leaping as she slams the hat down on the frog's head.

That's pulling the woold down over his eyes!


A teen boy wants to be a full member of the Detective's Club. All he has to do is solve a mystery. When his pet mouse -- Gadget Mouse -- disappears, this is his chance! The trail takes him right back to the D.C.H.Q. (Detective Club Head Quarters) where he accuses the president of the club of the crime.

The old guy (I thought he looked like a retired Sherlock Holmes) doesn't realize that the flip-up magnifying glass on the back of Gadget Mouse is right now setting fire to his coat.

Talk about a smoking jacket!



The Wheel of Fiction was spinning interesting directions for our workshops. And I loved adding in jokes at the end. But what made today so much fun was that Meadowbrook kids are truly creative! You kept coming up with surprising ideas and that's why the stories turned out so well.

Remember, kids: use your creativity. Keep writing. Keep drawing. Don't forget how much fun it is to get your own ideas out and onto paper!

In addition to all the free material on this site, I have downloadable books that are perfect for keeping kids writing in school or at home!

(click on books to see)

The Adventures of Pirate Dog
Picture prompts are a great way to inspire kids to write! Here are 26 of my best drawings with fun, pre-writing worksheets

Write Your Own
Cartoons!
Kids can add the
dialogue and their special touches to my funny comic strips filled with wacky characters!

Sparks: Year One
Here’s a fantastic resource for teachers: a whole year of weekly creative writing lessons built around wacky holidays!

More to come!

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