Snowman problems snowballed for Canoga Park sixth-grader Barry Caceres.
"I was trying to draw a snowman, but I made a mistake and made the head in the wrong place," said Barry, 11. "Then when I drew the person building the snowman, I made him too small. So I had him stand on top of another person. But the person on the bottom looked too nervous. So I drew in a dog for him to be looking at.
"It was mostly an accident. "
The finished sketch turned out to be a happy accident for Barry when it was picked to be this year's Christmas card for a company that operates two hospitals in Canoga Park.
A thousand full-color cards showing Barry's patched-up snowman were mailed this week to patients, medical suppliers and West San Fernando Valley businesses. The card's greeting, "Good Health Makes Life Worth Living," was written and hand-printed by fourth-grader Amy Scanlan, 9.
The children attend Nevada Avenue Elementary School near West Park Hospital. The hospital joined with the campus three years ago in the "adopt-a-school" program that has linked businesses with 541 Los Angeles Unified School District schools.
Nancy La Sota, an administrator of Nu-Med Medical Inc., which owns the hospital, said she commissioned pint-sized artists after receiving a hand-drawn card from her nephew.
The school's 485 pupils drew wintry holiday scenes in a design contest. Hospital workers selected the winners from finalists in the school's 15 classrooms.
"We picked Barry's snowman because it showed people helping one another," La Sota said. "And everybody loved Amy's verse about good health."
The cards were printed on high-quality card stock. The four-color cards show a blue sky, a green pine tree and a red sled in the white snow.
The children were not paid, but their names are printed in bold-faced type on the back of the cards.
"Those cards were so cute that I put a little extra into them--I really liked this job," said Canoga Park printer Frank Luther. "The verse inside was so good. I don't think a professional copywriter could do any better."
Luther printed up a hundred extra cards without Nu-Med's name to give free to Barry and Amy. The children said Friday they will use them as their personal Christmas greeting cards.
"I always draw cards for my family," Amy said.
Said Barry: "I get cards in stores. The only things I usually draw are space ships and stuff."