with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to Paxtang Elementary!

Do you want some wild ideas? How's this: a ferocious friger, a snowball that never melts and viking who wants to steal a pigeon pie! These are just three of the fabulous ideas we cooked up at Paxtang Elementary. What a busy, energetic day. The kids were really eager to share their ideas and add to the creative fun. Here are the stories we invented:

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: an elephant on the ocean looking for courage up against a half-tiger, half-frog!

The story: This elephant wants to become braver. So he heads out in his canoe to see if he can find the dreaded ferocious FRIGER, which has been seen sitting on its rock out in the ocean. When the elephant finds him, he's scared, but it turns out that the lonely friger just wants a friend!


The four ingredients: a scientist kid in a broken down science lab barn looking for ice cream up against an evil wizard.

The story: our hero is trying to use a ray to create ice cream easier (or put chocolate on ice cream... I wasn't sure). The wizard cow that lives in the barn is tired of having everyone take her milk without asking, so she's about to "shake" things up a bit!

The workshop stories

When we spin the Wheel of Fiction, we never know where a story could end up going.

Here we have a woman scientist in the Arctic trying to invient a snowball which never melts while her brother tries to stop her by pretending to be a Yeti.

I don't think they counted on a real Abominable Snowman turning up!


This woman was once an amazing chef, but she can't stand when people talk bad about her food. It makes her flip out! So when a grumpy customer complained, she got into an argument and got herself fired.

Now she's working in a dumpy diner, but her food is amazing. Why? Because she's using a magic freezer. The food that comes out of it is always perfect.

Then one day guess who shows up: that same grumpy customer. But our chef is out of magic food! What will she do? You'll have to decide!


In this story, a rabbit is on a quest to find the fabled Sea Carrot, which grows in the sand of a beach. But while he's trying to find it, he runs into all kinds of trouble. Our doodle drawing gave is three jumps, so we decided on three problems he runs into:

1. He gets caught in a sand tornado.

2. The tide comes in and nearly washes him away.

3. When he reaches the carrot, it's guarded by a giant sand dragon.

I hope our bunny hero can handle all the trouble!



A modern-day Viking visits a city restaurant with an amazing pigeon pie. So here he is sneaking one home to his wife. But it looks like it might not be so easy. First he's got to escape the restaurant -- he's going out by the fire escape, but there are pigeons out there waiting for him.

What made me laugh was the student who thought that maybe when he finally gets back to his wife, it turns out that she's a vegetarian!


For this mixed-age workshop, I didn't use the Wheel of Fiction, since it sometimes can be confusing to first graders. So we invented a tale of a chipmunk who wants to be accepted by the nearby squirrels. He tries many plans, one of which I've drawn here: singing about his love for acorns.

I think the kids thought my singing the "I Love Acorn" song was very silly.


A Kindergarten Story


This was a quick, quick story! We only had 15 minutes at the end of the day, but we found a way to make up a tale about a giraffe who wants to go swimming but has a dolphin who thinks it's fun to splash him!

In the end, they find something they can do together. We love happy endings!

So, thanks to all who made this such a great day. And though the drawings are finished, let's make this just the start to the flow of ideas.

Hey, Paxtang kids, remember... 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