with Bruce Van Patter 2008-2009 School Visits

My visit to Valley Road Elementary!

What a great day! These are some amazing, surprising stories!

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: a snake at the top of the Empire State Building looking for a dog with a silly sidekick of a monkey

The story: our hero is a weather-snake. That means he's a scientist who is doing weather experiments. His assistant is a dog. But a snake wants to be his top helper, so the bad monkey ties the dog to some weather balloons to get rid of him.

The snake has to slither all the way to the top of the Empire State Building to try to save him. In the meantime, the monkey thinks this would be the perfect chance to try a little lightning experiment of his own.

That's a BRIGHT idea, but not very smart!


The four ingredients: a vampire boy at a nerdy comic book convention who wants chocolate and is up against a vampire slayer

The story: The first thing to say is that I don't do vampires in schools, so I figured this kid has gone to meet the creator of his favorite comic: Vampire Boy. The kid has even dressed the part.

But waiting in line has made him hungry. So when he sees a chocolate bunny, he thinks he'll take a bite. But that's not any bunny, it's a model of Chocolate Bunny Ninja -- another popular comic. And the comic creator is not in the mood to see someone take a bite out of his profits! He's about to use a giant chocolate carrot on the boy!

The Workshop Stories

This kid on the right (I know he looks like the Little Caesar's guy) is a secret skateboarder, who likes to go to an abandoned warehouse to race his friends. His parents don't know. But his little sister does.

When he enters a race to see who will impress a girl, his sister comes down to spy on him. But she's not fast enough to escape the old man who owns the warehouse. She gets caught.

So our hero has a choice. Should he win the race and impress the girl, or saver his sister? Let me tell you, many of the boys said: WIN THE RACE!


This dog seems to be a lazy mutt. But when his owners are out, he spends his time wrestling two hamsters. He doesn't know, but they're part of a secret hamster society who look for animals that can help them fight off the wild hamsters who live secretly in the back yards of homes.

So, one day, his friends, the Hamster Twins, disappear into the back yard. They've been kidnapped (hamster-napped?) by the tough outdoor hamsters to try to lure the dog outside so that they can go in and take over the house.

But he knows all the moves that hamsters can throw at him. After all, he's trained with the best. I tried to show him shaking off the wild ones, but I think my drawing of his shaking head was just confusing.


Finally, this story is about a girl who does stunts for a boy she likes as he's making home-made films. One day, they climb a big rocky island. The boy goes first to the top of a cliff, then disappears.

It turns out that a pirate girl lives on the island and likes the boy. So the two girls try to out-move each other in dangerous stunts. Looks like our pirate girl will make a big splash in this contest!


Like I said up top, this was a fast, fun, funny day with lots of ideas. This is what happens when kids start to imagine. Anything can happen.

So, Valley Road kids, don't let the fun stop now. Keep using your story ideas. Put them down and show them to someone. That's the best way to keep your imaginations growing!

Remember... you have great ideas. Share them!

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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Pick the ingredients to stories and click through to see how I've started them. Then you finish the story!

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