with Bruce Van Patter 2010-2011 School Visits

My 2nd visit to South Mountain Elementary!

It has been five years since my last trip. I was glad to find that creativity still lives here! Check out these stories:

The four ingredients: a cat in the back yard who wants food up against a lizard

The story: our cat just wanted to relax in his back yard, though I can't remember if he wanted food or a friend. But he does invite over a lizard who knows how to have fun.

The problem is that he his idea of fun isn't the same as our cats! I guess we all have friends like that.

I think they'll have to work together to have fun!

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New on my site!

I love random connections! Here's a page that will create random What If Questions to help you start stories!



The four ingredients: a crazy scientist named Dr. Chicocoa in a castle who wants a golden apple, but he's bothered by a silly sidekick of a raccoon

The story: This scientist makes crazy food. His big food invention was chicken flavored cocoa! As you can guess, it wasn't a big hit.

So, he's after something new: golden fruit that are real on the inside, but covered with a thin layer of gold. So he invents a ray that will transform regular fruit into his creations.

But as raccoons often do, his assistant steals the food, right at the point when the ray was going to make it gold. The Doc was reaching out to stop him and got his hands turned to gold, instead!

Workshop stories

In this story, a boy finds a magic hourglass in a meadow that turns him into a monster. In this case, I thought the "monster" he transforms into ought to be a big, tough football player. A girl he likes is impressed with his alter-ego, but when she finds out that he's under a spell from the hourglass, she wrestles him for it.

Here, you can see it breaking apart and releasing the wizard who was held captive in the glass.

And, just for fun, we thought we'd add a dog below who has the sand fall on him. And after the story is wrapped up, starts to transform into a real monster!


We brainstormed what this girl on the right might be carrying. In the end, we decided it was a huge magical lemon that grows in her castle garden. She's a rough-and-tumble type princess, who would much rather wear her gardening clothes than fancy dresses.

But there's a prince who's out to get the lemon to make a wish.

Maybe he'd wish that she would leave behind all the gardening and marry him. But he's being captured by the evil squirrels sent by the king, who doesn't want the prince to take away his daughter.


Finally, in this tale we have a teenage boy who works in the gift shop of a zoo and at night pretends to be a zookeeper. And he's discovered an amazing talent he has: he can hear and understand the language of animals.

One night he hears a horrible, deep, threatening voice.

But he's not sure what the animal is, so he sets off on a quest around the zoo to discover the animals that threatens to destroy the humans in the zoo.

As he's exploring, though, his girlfriend, who is the night guard, is trying to find the "intruder" she sees on the video cameras. He hides in the snake exhibit, only to hear the mysterious voice behind him!

I decided to make it funny by having the voice come from a little hamster or gerbil who was to be snake food, but instead has been training the snakes to do his evil bidding!

That was a great day of story-making, kids! Now, with your vacation coming, get ready to make your own stories with all the time you have. One thing that can really help is to do it with a good friend. Brainstorm a story together. Share the writing and illustrating between you.

Keep being creative, and check out the fun stuff on my site!

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