with Bruce Van Patter 2007-2008 School Visits

My second visit to Old York School

It was great to be back! This year's crop of fourth graders were just as original and creative as last year's.

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: a grannie in a sports car in a back yard looking to become young again up against a dragon man

The story: The fun thing about telling this story is that it gave me a chance to tell a similar story that happened to my grandmother! In this tale, a grannie gets a little sports car tuned up by a mechanic from the Dragon Garage -- they'll get your car so powerful, it just about breathes fire!

But when Grannie puts the pedal to the metal, she makes one big mistake: she puts it in reverse!

The workshop stories

Here's a very cool story. A young man wanders under a light in a dark city alley at midnight. The light flickers. He finds himself suddenly in the Shadow City -- the same city, but filled with crawling, living shadows.

One of them attaches itself to him and follows him back to the real version of the city. The shadow wants to snuff out all the lights so that it can become another dark world. No wonder the guy is afraid of his own shadow!

I liked the challenge of drawing him trying to grab the shadow but reaching right through him


We started this story with a girl who is out to steal a king's riches. It seems that this evil king had taken all her parents possessions and ruined them. So she's been like a girl Robin Hood, but despite her generosity, her personality makes her hard to like.

But there is one friend who stands by her -- a poor boy who tries to talk her out of her thieving life. When he finds out that she wants to make the crowning blow to the king and steal his crown, the boy sneaks in to stop her. The king, who had been sleeping at the moment of the theft, awakens. The boy says he did the crime in order to save the girl. Now that is true love!


It took me three tries to get this drawing right. I did this version after school. But I'm glad I stuck with it because I was able to do cool lettering without having kids waiting to see each letter form.

In this story, a girl is good at sneaking. So when she suspects a kid in her class is up to something, she follows him after school. He's trying to open a locked case with a lazer so that he can steal the teacher's outer space rock. (The teacher is a former astronaut.) Why is the kid stealing it? He's an alien and wants the rock back.

I love the concept that there's a little creature in his backpack that keeps the alien in human form. If they get separated, the alien loses his boy shape and transforms back into an alien!

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!

Keep the stories flowing, kids! I hope I showed you how truly creative you are. Now it's up to you. Put your stories on paper. Spend time brainstorming with friends. Doodle. Imagine. Have fun with your ideas.

And check out some of the fun stuff I have on my site!

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