School Visits

“Yesterday’s program, ‘Willie’s Wagon’ was a tremendous success; absolutely one of the best assemblies that I have seen!”

~ Tom Kossaris/Principal, Frances Willard School

More than 200 school visits in 2 years! See more educator’s comments below.

Special Note to Educators: Lesson plans for this book are now available (in printable PDF format) on the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom’s Web site!

Gary Metivier, author of “Willie’s Wagon” and “A Hog Ate My Homework!” school visit program.

About Book Presentations

Gary Metivier “presents” his stories; he does not read them. Using blown up illustrations (or projected images for out of state appearances), Gary uses his story-telling abilities to capture the children’s imagination—and, yes, attention! Gary believes in memorable moments that will keep the children thinking about the excitement of reading and writing. Our goal is for them to remember the important messages of the stories long after we leave the school.

Gary and Frankie Visit a School


Willie’s Wagon*

Willie’s Wagon is a story of a little boy who always complains about being bored. His discovers an old wagon that sparks his imagination. He is dedicated to fixing it up—but doesn’t know until the end what he will do with it. He hears of children who are in the hospital and have to miss the big field trip to the pumpkin patch. Now he knows what he’ll do with his wagon!

Skills for Life: Caring, Effort, Initiative, Pride, Friendship, Problem Solving, Resourcefulness

A Hog Ate My Homework!

Willie, a second grader (his sister Ashley is in the 5th grade), turns in his first writing assignment. Problem is, he knows he didn’t put much effort into it. His teacher and parents are disappointed. Willie and Ashley take a trip to a family farm to learn how much work and dedication it takes to feed the world. And—oh yeah—Willie gets into a little mischief with the hogs!

Willie discovers where all the corn and soybeans end up and the pride that comes from feeding the world. He also sees first hand what a real neighbor is (not just someone you wave to on the street) when he sees farmers coming together to help a family bring in their crops.

His wagon helps him find the inspiration to put together a new report that he can be proud of.

Skills for Life: Caring, Common Sense, Effort, Initiative, Perseverance, responsibility, Friendship, Integrity, Patience, Problem Solving, Pride!

Audience Size – Gary likes the enthusiasm and energy of full school assemblies.  He has presented to groups as large as 550 children, and, according to the teachers and staff, held the entire audience the whole time. (Parents and community members welcome too!)

Optional topics covered; if your school is working on something specific (i.e., writing or reading programs/community), Gary would be happy to adjust his presentation to fit your goals.

Grades – Programs for grades K through 6th

Length – 45 minutes

Set Up and Equipment Requirements

Gary brings just about everything with him, but requests the following:

  • Wireless Microphone preferred (but Gary can get by without one)
  • Room to walk (he is always on the move)


Honorarium other business stuff

Gary likes schools to send home pre-order forms so that children can get a personalized book should their parents want one.

Please email at

* Optional brief discussion of childhood cancer if you have a child/children impacted by cancer at school. Optional DVD of kids helping other kids also available.

Read what educators have to say about School Visits!

“I was very impressed with the presentation from Gary Metivier. He did a wonderful job. He kept 275 kindergarten thru 6th grade student’s attention throughout the entire presentation. He did a great job of involving the audience and yet not letting it get out of control. The students and faculty really enjoyed the assembly. Thank-you for coming to Ridgewood school in Rock Island.”

~ Melinda Wildermuth, special education teacher

“Gary’s enthusiasm brought Willie’s Wagon to life at Calamus Wheatland Elementary School. Enlarged illustrations were used to capture the life story of the fictional character, Willie. Students were involved in the story telling process and inspired by Gary’s zest for writing. Whether you are big or small, one person can make a big difference, was the message he enlivened us with.”

~ Amy Lohman, K-3 Reading Specialist
Calamus Wheatland Elementay School

(re: Willie’s Wagon)

“I’ve taught 1st grade for 36 years and will read it yearly until I quit!! It’s wonderful…and kids need to continually hear that “it’s better to give than to receive” and that doing something nice for someone IS a gift!”

~ Karla Lance,Teacher/ President Henry County (Iowa) Delta Kappa Gamma

(re: school visits)

“I would highly recommend any school thinking about having him come to visit.”

~ Trish Hinchman,Reading Committee Member,John F. Kennedy School

“Your message, humor, and presence were inspiring to all in attendance.”

~ Janet Bremer,Trinity Lutheran School

Davenport, Iowa

“What an amazing assembly — teachers and students are still talking about it! Think everyone in the building enjoyed it. Thanks so much.”

~ Deb Galbreath,Mable Woolsey, Knoxville, Il