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The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

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Fourteen black-and-white drawings, each accompanied by a title and a caption, entice readers to make up his or her own story. A fictional editor's note tells of an encounter with an author and illustrator named Harris Burdick, who provided the images and captions as samples, each from a different picture book he had written. He left with a promise to deliver the complete m Fourteen black-and-white drawings, each accompanied by a title and a caption, entice readers to make up his or her own story. A fictional editor's note tells of an encounter with an author and illustrator named Harris Burdick, who provided the images and captions as samples, each from a different picture book he had written. He left with a promise to deliver the complete manuscripts if the editor chose to buy the books. Burdick was never seen again, and the samples are all that remain of his supposed books. Readers are challenged to imagine their own stories based on the images in the book.


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Fourteen black-and-white drawings, each accompanied by a title and a caption, entice readers to make up his or her own story. A fictional editor's note tells of an encounter with an author and illustrator named Harris Burdick, who provided the images and captions as samples, each from a different picture book he had written. He left with a promise to deliver the complete m Fourteen black-and-white drawings, each accompanied by a title and a caption, entice readers to make up his or her own story. A fictional editor's note tells of an encounter with an author and illustrator named Harris Burdick, who provided the images and captions as samples, each from a different picture book he had written. He left with a promise to deliver the complete manuscripts if the editor chose to buy the books. Burdick was never seen again, and the samples are all that remain of his supposed books. Readers are challenged to imagine their own stories based on the images in the book.

30 review for The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

  1. 5 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    I discovered this book a few years after it was published. It's just absolutely amazing, especially if the background story is really true about the "mystery" of Harris Burdick. For many years I used this book as a writing and illustration prompt for my art students in upper elementary. I made slides of the entire book in 1988, and my kids and I would dissect the possibilities for every illustration and caption. Each student would then choose one of the 14 drawings to write their own tale, creat I discovered this book a few years after it was published. It's just absolutely amazing, especially if the background story is really true about the "mystery" of Harris Burdick. For many years I used this book as a writing and illustration prompt for my art students in upper elementary. I made slides of the entire book in 1988, and my kids and I would dissect the possibilities for every illustration and caption. Each student would then choose one of the 14 drawings to write their own tale, create an additional illustration, and finally design a "book cover." I would then staple everything together. We even had a HARRIS BURDICK party to celebrate our accomplishments. The students loved it!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    This book is so interesting, but it’s also a tease. We get one page from Chris Van Allsburg. I’m not sure why it has his name on it unless this is really Chris’s work and this is the story within a story. 1st: This is a wordless story once you read the first page. 2nd: The set-up is, Chris was at his editors house and found these 14 drawings that someone sent in that would be 14 stories and the man never came back who dropped them off. They are beautiful drawings. 3rd: It is basically a group of This book is so interesting, but it’s also a tease. We get one page from Chris Van Allsburg. I’m not sure why it has his name on it unless this is really Chris’s work and this is the story within a story. 1st: This is a wordless story once you read the first page. 2nd: The set-up is, Chris was at his editors house and found these 14 drawings that someone sent in that would be 14 stories and the man never came back who dropped them off. They are beautiful drawings. 3rd: It is basically a group of prompts to tell stories with. This wordless book has some great pictures that can make great stories. For any little writers out there, this will certainly spark the imagination and give ideas for stories. We looked through this in bed and the nephew made up some stories to go with the pictures. For not having robots in the pictures, they had a whole lot of monsters in them. The next day, I made some copies of the pictures and we sat down and they had to write a story based off one of the pictures. I had to scribe for the nephew. My niece is pretty gifted at story telling and she came up with two interesting stories. She liked the one with the Nun floating up in the air on a chair and the bird on the wallpaper that is coming to life. There is no real story here. This is a great resource for creative writing and I wish I had known about it when I was running a creative writing class one summer. The kids liked the pictures so they both gave this 4 stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    GoldGato

    Chris Van Allsburg is one of my must-collect illustrators, as I just love his work. He combines detail with imagination and he has never let me down. While I still rank Queen Of The Falls as his best, this mysterious book of wordless stories comes very close. The premise of this book is explained by a fictional backstory about drawings from a puzzling artist who never provides the stories for each illustration. Therefore, it's up to each reader to provide the possibilities and each of us could Chris Van Allsburg is one of my must-collect illustrators, as I just love his work. He combines detail with imagination and he has never let me down. While I still rank Queen Of The Falls as his best, this mysterious book of wordless stories comes very close. The premise of this book is explained by a fictional backstory about drawings from a puzzling artist who never provides the stories for each illustration. Therefore, it's up to each reader to provide the possibilities and each of us could certainly come up with our own explanations. There is even a website devoted to the endless combinations. However, I'm just there for the artwork as Van Allsburg never fails to fascinate me. Book Season = Autumn (disappearing stones)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Fan

    14 illustrations. 14 captions. A picture book, then? Yes, but each scene is a loaded gun and you are the trigger. It's introduction is somewhat apocryphal: the author is not the actual author but merely a messenger of sorts. Chris Van Allsburg discovered the set of drawings whilst visiting the home of Peter Wenders. Thirty years ago (as of 1984), these drawings were presented to Peter Wenders by a man named Harris Burdick with the intent of publishing 14 stories for a children's book. Harris Bur 14 illustrations. 14 captions. A picture book, then? Yes, but each scene is a loaded gun and you are the trigger. It's introduction is somewhat apocryphal: the author is not the actual author but merely a messenger of sorts. Chris Van Allsburg discovered the set of drawings whilst visiting the home of Peter Wenders. Thirty years ago (as of 1984), these drawings were presented to Peter Wenders by a man named Harris Burdick with the intent of publishing 14 stories for a children's book. Harris Burdick procured these drawings and promised to return the following day with the stories. He never did. He simply disappeared, never to resurface again. In viewing the illustrations of the book, one wonders what the original stories might have been. I see something like a Rorschach, the stories that the viewers might come up with might reveal the structure of their inner mind. Therefore, it is quite conceivable that one might spend hours just staring at a single picture, composing his own story, getting lost, and then come face to face with a fiercer fear, a deeper love, or maybe disappear altogether into a stranger unknown.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Beautifully illustrative and wonderfully imaginative, not only in the execution but in the way it will inspire readers to think of "the rest of the story." Each illustration is accompanied by just a few words of text--they are supposedly taken from manuscripts by "Harris Burdick" and are only one piece to the whole story... so it is left to the readers to imagine the rest. Almost like visual "story starters." The illustrations contain a variety of themes, from mysteries to joys to sorrows to mys Beautifully illustrative and wonderfully imaginative, not only in the execution but in the way it will inspire readers to think of "the rest of the story." Each illustration is accompanied by just a few words of text--they are supposedly taken from manuscripts by "Harris Burdick" and are only one piece to the whole story... so it is left to the readers to imagine the rest. Almost like visual "story starters." The illustrations contain a variety of themes, from mysteries to joys to sorrows to mysteries to a tad of spookiness. Though younger readers may find the black and white illustrations a lack of narrative flow a bit frustrating/boring, I think most older children would love this and it would make a fun group read as everyone could discuss their own versions of the stories/illustrations.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Klaudia Maniakowska

    I find this book totally amazing. The only word that comes to my mind after reading it is MYSTERY. Not only is the whole story of Mr. Burdick who never returns to Mr. Wender mysterious. In fact, every picture in this book is baffling. Due to the fact that the drawings are black and white, the author skillfully plays with light making the illustrations appear uncanny. The captions are so puzzling that they allow the readers to come up with a multitude of possible stories. I enjoyed the fact that I find this book totally amazing. The only word that comes to my mind after reading it is MYSTERY. Not only is the whole story of Mr. Burdick who never returns to Mr. Wender mysterious. In fact, every picture in this book is baffling. Due to the fact that the drawings are black and white, the author skillfully plays with light making the illustrations appear uncanny. The captions are so puzzling that they allow the readers to come up with a multitude of possible stories. I enjoyed the fact that the readers are left to create the story for each picture themselves, because it is very engaging. My favorite captions from this book: “He had warned her about the book. Now it was too late”. Yeah, it is definitely too late, because it is yet another book I must have in my home library :) .

  7. 4 out of 5

    Abduraafi Andrian

    The story behind how the author found the drawings is fascinating yet eerie. Where did Mr. Harris Burdick go? Did he die before meeting with the publisher? Or is all of this just a made-up story? By the time I write this review, I am still wondering about the drawings. Are they really Mr. Burdick's works or the author works? And, I realized this book is created by the same author as Jumanji and the drawings are quite similar. Let me stop thinking about this. I figured this book because of an antho The story behind how the author found the drawings is fascinating yet eerie. Where did Mr. Harris Burdick go? Did he die before meeting with the publisher? Or is all of this just a made-up story? By the time I write this review, I am still wondering about the drawings. Are they really Mr. Burdick's works or the author works? And, I realized this book is created by the same author as Jumanji and the drawings are quite similar. Let me stop thinking about this. I figured this book because of an anthology that has Kate DiCamillo's short story in it, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    Would've loved this if it had been twice as long

  9. 5 out of 5

    High Plains Library District

    I visited a book sale this weekend, and I won't even tell you how many titles I walked away with. But I want to talk about this gem. It's one of my favorite children's books and has been since I was the intended audience. It's by Chris Van Allsburg whose name you may have seen with regard to Jumanji, The Polar Express, Zathura, and several other amazing books. He is known for his incredible illustrations and wildly imaginative stories. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is no different. The idea is t I visited a book sale this weekend, and I won't even tell you how many titles I walked away with. But I want to talk about this gem. It's one of my favorite children's books and has been since I was the intended audience. It's by Chris Van Allsburg whose name you may have seen with regard to Jumanji, The Polar Express, Zathura, and several other amazing books. He is known for his incredible illustrations and wildly imaginative stories. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is no different. The idea is this (don't worry about spoilers, this is all from the introduction.): A mysterious writer, Harris Burdick, appeared in the office of Van Allsburg's editor and left him with a file containing a single illustration from each of several stories he had written. Each illustration is labeled with the title of the book from which it came and a single caption to describe the illustration. The editor was intrigued, but Harris Burdick was never heard from again. Okay, so anyone who knows Van Allsburg's art will not be fooled by this entertaining, but clearly fictitious introduction. Nevertheless, the rest of the book is simply one illustration, a title and a caption. The rest is up to you and your own wild imagination. Every picture is full of so much pent-up story, my brain just can't help but fill in the gaps. This is different from what we usually expect from books. For some readers, it may be an exercise in frustration. But it's still a book I readily recommend to anybody who is looking for an afternoon escape from reality. It will give you that in spades!

  10. 4 out of 5

    haley

    Have you ever read a book when you were really young and then forgot about it to the point that you thought you imagined the whole thing? Yeah, that's this book for me. I read it when I was 9 or 10 years old for a school project. I remember being really creeped out by the pictures, but also really fascinated. I recently discovered it again, and it's just as eerie as I remember it to be. Each one is creepy and strange and there's so much ambiguity and ah. So cool. So much imagination. I love it. (I Have you ever read a book when you were really young and then forgot about it to the point that you thought you imagined the whole thing? Yeah, that's this book for me. I read it when I was 9 or 10 years old for a school project. I remember being really creeped out by the pictures, but also really fascinated. I recently discovered it again, and it's just as eerie as I remember it to be. Each one is creepy and strange and there's so much ambiguity and ah. So cool. So much imagination. I love it. (I must say that Under the Rug is the one that unnerves me the most. What is under the rug??? We will never know, hahaha). Anyways. Really interesting drawings and the story is eerie and fascinating. would definitely recommend you check this out.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marta

    Loved it. The old-fashioned tradition of the past returns: the author purports to believe that the real author of the pictures has disappeared and the quest to unearth some details from his life still continues. That is an efficient method to capture the reader's attention and heighten a sense of mystery. The pictures are silent stories that have a chance to flourish in our imagination: we have no plot but a short caption. A splendid chance to stimulate our imagination. After all, we can spend m Loved it. The old-fashioned tradition of the past returns: the author purports to believe that the real author of the pictures has disappeared and the quest to unearth some details from his life still continues. That is an efficient method to capture the reader's attention and heighten a sense of mystery. The pictures are silent stories that have a chance to flourish in our imagination: we have no plot but a short caption. A splendid chance to stimulate our imagination. After all, we can spend minutes on just one picture, not actually studying it in detail, but delving into our own visualizations of the story the picture only introduces. I was surprised by how intrigued I was by this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Mic Perkins

    Beautiful art, and it's true- you can't help but fill in the blanks.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I bought this book for my niece for Christmas. I’m so excited to share it with her. This was one of my favorite books as a kid. It made me feel excited and a little bit scared.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

    This would be a great "story" to share with an older toddler and let them make up the stories as you look at the pictures together. The illustrations are beautiful, almost haunting and the captions may trigger a story in your imagination. I wish I had discovered this book when my girls were young!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    The author is so very very creative....and his readers will be very very imaginative as they read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Willy

    The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg The brilliance of anything someone recommends is that there is the slim chance you might just have that little connection when you both love it as much as one another. It’s something that is surprisingly rare but when it happens, it’s a joy. Not only do you get the experience of the recommended item but also the shared connection. When this happens with a book it is all the more rewarding for all the reasons that lead us as adults to love book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg The brilliance of anything someone recommends is that there is the slim chance you might just have that little connection when you both love it as much as one another. It’s something that is surprisingly rare but when it happens, it’s a joy. Not only do you get the experience of the recommended item but also the shared connection. When this happens with a book it is all the more rewarding for all the reasons that lead us as adults to love books. That is exactly what happened with this book for me. Not only do I get the book but I also get the little background story to go with it and life is all about the stories. The actual content of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is marvellously simple. There is a fictional editor’s note at the beginning of the book, presented as fact, which creates a sense of the unknown. Following that are fourteen grainy, black and white illustrations, each accompanied by a short caption. Within each drawing is something unusual, teasing, dark or mystifying for which no answer is provided. The fact the illustrations have inspired successful authors to pen their own versions of stories which were later published in a follow up book, The, attests to the possibilities opened up by what is contained within this book’s pages. There is something simply magical about the drawings as if from a time just passed but still reachable. The fictional editor’s note sets the scene for mysterious world where the imagination is fired, stoked and burns bright. Needless to say I will be recommending this book for a very long time to anyone that will listen to me. Everything about it is fantastic. As a resource in the classroom The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is relevant across year groups. There is little in terms of text and the illustrations are in no way aimed specifically at children, meaning anybody can pick this book up and be fascinated or inspired by it. There are a range of options for how this book could be used in the classroom and some of my suggestions are below: • Carry out an investigation into the differing responses to Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations dependent of viewers’ ages, ranging from young children, to peers and then adults within the school • Using the book as the start point Investigate how text adds to a picture or overall by first just providing an illustration and then the caption to see how children respond differently or change their perceptions • Write new captions to go with the illustrations. How do the new captions change your interpretation of the pictures? • Invite students to create their mysterious drawings and captions by providing a caption for them to create their own drawing • Alternatively, ask students to create their own drawing and caption • How does the letter Chris Van Allsburg writes to readers affect the way we read the book? How would our experience of reading the book be different if we skipped reading the letter? • Each of the pages creates an evocative mood, but we might all interpret the moods differently because not everything is spelled out for us. Some of us might think, for example, that the picture of the man and the lump under the rug is frightening, and some of us might think it is funny. What do you think? Why? • Write an answer to the mystery of Harris Burdick himself • Give different pairs/groups an illustration or caption from the book (or both) and ask them to collectively write a story. • Give different pairs/groups an illustration or caption from the book (or both) and ask them create and act out a dramatic scene from a story they make up. • Give individuals an illustration or caption from the book (or both) and ask them to write a story using that as their start point or that as the end point for their story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ronyell

    “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” is a brilliantly surreal book from Chris Van Allsburg and it is full of various stories that a mysterious man named Harris Burdick leaves behind for Chris Van Allsburg’s friend Peter Wenders to read over and the stories that the mysterious man leaves are only drawings that have titles and small captions under the titles. “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” is a beautifully surreal book that will enchant children for many years. Chris Van Allsburg had done a magnifi “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” is a brilliantly surreal book from Chris Van Allsburg and it is full of various stories that a mysterious man named Harris Burdick leaves behind for Chris Van Allsburg’s friend Peter Wenders to read over and the stories that the mysterious man leaves are only drawings that have titles and small captions under the titles. “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” is a beautifully surreal book that will enchant children for many years. Chris Van Allsburg had done a magnificent job at reviving this lost collection of stories from Harris Burdick. The stories are beautifully surreal as the audience only sees an image on the right of the page along while there is only a title with a small caption underneath it is on the left and the title and the captions are the only clues on how the story should be, such as the story “The House on Maple Street” the audience could only indicate that the house was a rocket and it was set for lift off. Also, each image portrays a dark or tranquil story, such as in “Mr. Linden’s Library,” there are vines growing out of the girl’s book indicating that she will be tied up by the vines. Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations are both haunting and beautiful at the same time as there are various images of people being either sad or frightened by whatever supernatural situation befalls them. Also, the images are all in black and white colors which give the book an ominous feel to the stories being portrayed here. Parents should know that this book may be a bit too confusing for smaller children since the only evidence of a story for each image portrayed in this book is the title of the story and a small caption giving a brief dialogue from the story. Small children might have a hard time trying to understand what each story is about since there is no clear evidence of an actual story going on for each image. “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” is a brilliant book for children who love to read about mysteries. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since smaller children might not be able to understand the stories.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is a picture book containing fourteen black and white drawings. These black and white drawings are like something out of another dimension! Each drawing stands alone, with only a title and a short caption to introduce it to the reader. The black and white pictures are large, covering an entire page. Take your time because there are many details in each illustration that you won't want to miss! Some stand out and are easily identified, but others are a mystery and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is a picture book containing fourteen black and white drawings. These black and white drawings are like something out of another dimension! Each drawing stands alone, with only a title and a short caption to introduce it to the reader. The black and white pictures are large, covering an entire page. Take your time because there are many details in each illustration that you won't want to miss! Some stand out and are easily identified, but others are a mystery and must be found through careful analysis! This is a really fun book to read-aloud to young children. They will love the strange mysteries taking place on every page. In fact, it may be difficult to turn the page because the children will want to point at and discuss everything that captures their imagination - and just on one page! I read this book to my kindergarten class, with the warning before reading - beware, the pictures are strange - and they were hooked! Young students will love looking at the illustrations to identify what they see. I used this book with our writing lesson using our High Frequency Words "I" and "see". Students were highly engaged in discussions about what they see, and then created a drawing in their writing journal with a sentence describing what they see. I highly recommend The Mysteries of Harris Burdick to ignite imaginations that foster creative writing!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shelby Suderman

    This book has been with me since grade school when our class was first assigned to write a story for one of the mysterious pictures and captions. To this day I still pull it out when I'm looking for inspiration. There's something eerie and haunting about the pictures and captions that really sparks the imagination, it's really easy to just sit and try and analyze what's going on and figure out what came before and what came after these pictures from the stories none of us will ever get to read. I This book has been with me since grade school when our class was first assigned to write a story for one of the mysterious pictures and captions. To this day I still pull it out when I'm looking for inspiration. There's something eerie and haunting about the pictures and captions that really sparks the imagination, it's really easy to just sit and try and analyze what's going on and figure out what came before and what came after these pictures from the stories none of us will ever get to read. I remember several of the pictures/prompts being especially popular, particularly the creepy ones such as Under the Rug, Mr. Linden's Library, and especially The House on Maple Street (Side-note, Stephen King himself wrote a short story for inspired by the story that can be found in the Nightmares and Dreamscapes collection. Definitely check that one out if you haven't already. It was also apparently at least part of the inspiration for Chris Van Allsburg's Zathura.). Now that I'm older I've developed an appreciation for The Seven Chairs, Uninvited Guests, and The Third-Floor Bedroom as well.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

    When I was in sixth grade, I had the most amazing teacher ever for English. One of our exercises was to write a story about one of several pictures he had placed around the classroom. As a sixth grader, I chose to write a story about the little girl who was holding two caterpillars in her hand. My story involved this little girl finding these magic caterpillars that did tricks and she trained them and that helped her get a way from the turmoil within her family involving her mother and her mom's When I was in sixth grade, I had the most amazing teacher ever for English. One of our exercises was to write a story about one of several pictures he had placed around the classroom. As a sixth grader, I chose to write a story about the little girl who was holding two caterpillars in her hand. My story involved this little girl finding these magic caterpillars that did tricks and she trained them and that helped her get a way from the turmoil within her family involving her mother and her mom's new boyfriend. The caterpillars were an escape for her and her little brother. The photo came from this book. After my teacher read the story he looked at me and said, "Sarah, you are a writer." Those words have never left me, and I am so thankful to still have the support of that teacher in my life now as I really am becoming a published author. I owe all of that to this book and Mr. Kevin Hanzlik.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Neil R. Coulter

    I first encountered The Mysteries of Harris Burdick years ago, when my kids were much younger. It was at a time when we were enjoying Chris Van Allsburg's classics (I especially remember reading The Z Was Zapped many, many times; I still have it memorized). I loved Harris Burdick, but never got a copy for our home bookshelf. Yesterday at the Public Library, on the shelf in front with books for sale, there it was: $1.00 for a pristine hardcover copy. I brought it home and admired each story once I first encountered The Mysteries of Harris Burdick years ago, when my kids were much younger. It was at a time when we were enjoying Chris Van Allsburg's classics (I especially remember reading The Z Was Zapped many, many times; I still have it memorized). I loved Harris Burdick, but never got a copy for our home bookshelf. Yesterday at the Public Library, on the shelf in front with books for sale, there it was: $1.00 for a pristine hardcover copy. I brought it home and admired each story once again. It's all so beautifully eerie and just slightly, possibly, very disturbing. This copy will stay with us, and I'll gaze at it now and then, and smile. I think my favorite is "The fifth one ended up in France." I'm grateful to Peter Wenders, as well as to Van Allsburg and, of course, to Burdick himself. :)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Annie ⚜️

    One of my son's all time favorite books is The Polar Express. I'd heard this Van Allsburg was good too and wanted to give it a shot. It seemed like such a brilliant concept: fourteen illustrations, along with a book title and a caption. You fill out the rest. I still think it's a brilliant idea but my kid got totally annoyed and frustrated when I tried to get him to make up stories to go with the pictures. I realize that's our issue not Van Allsburg's of course. That being said, the illustrations One of my son's all time favorite books is The Polar Express. I'd heard this Van Allsburg was good too and wanted to give it a shot. It seemed like such a brilliant concept: fourteen illustrations, along with a book title and a caption. You fill out the rest. I still think it's a brilliant idea but my kid got totally annoyed and frustrated when I tried to get him to make up stories to go with the pictures. I realize that's our issue not Van Allsburg's of course. That being said, the illustrations were all black and white and had an ominous feel to them that might illicit some spooky stories. Maybe when he's a bit older he'll get it. I have a feeling he still wants bright colors and stories to engage him.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy Layton

    With Van Allsburg's usual style and eerie sense of storytelling, he does an amazing job at simultaneously telling so much and yet so, so little.  If the illustrations don't tell you much, their captions tell you less.  They're strange, curious, and almost larger than life.  These illustrations are sure to let even the most serious child daydream and wonder--perhaps making it a rather dangerous book for those more inclined towards fantasies!  Great for children of all ages--it's sure to be a fasc With Van Allsburg's usual style and eerie sense of storytelling, he does an amazing job at simultaneously telling so much and yet so, so little.  If the illustrations don't tell you much, their captions tell you less.  They're strange, curious, and almost larger than life.  These illustrations are sure to let even the most serious child daydream and wonder--perhaps making it a rather dangerous book for those more inclined towards fantasies!  Great for children of all ages--it's sure to be a fascinating read! Review cross-listed here!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Reed

    Looking for an easy quick exercise to stoke the imagination? Check this book out. Comprised of 14 illustrations juxtaposed with a mystery sentence: eg. Archie Smith, Boy Wonder....A tiny voice asked, "Is he the one?" Under the Rug....Two weeks passed and it happened again. I might use this book or something similar in workshops to inspire creativity....especially with adults!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tom Malinowski

    Harris Burdick left behind 14 drawings, each with a title and a blurb about the picture. No one hasn't seen him since he dropped of his work... Now they're published, that will inspire all, give you the creeps, and make you scratch your head again and again. This book is for such a wide range of ages because creative mysteries should be explored no matter how young you are.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rosanne

    I found this book right before Halloween. Next year, I am going to have my students look at the incredible pictures by Chris Van Allsburg and finish the stories.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maxym

    I liked when a house lifted off like a rocket...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Henrichs

    My students have been writing short stories inspired from these illustrations for years. Personal favorites are The Seven Chairs and The House on Maple Street. Be sure to check out the edition of the book that includes stories from famous authors. Kate DiCamillo's The Third Floor Bedroom short story is fantastic!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Someday I might try my hand at writing. This is the only source of 'prompts' that I've ever seen that I can relate to. Which is odd, because generally I am underwhelmed by Van Allsburg's works.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Martinak

    The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is not like most stories with characters, setting and a plot that has a solution to a problem. Intead, the book has fourteen separate, non sequential pictures and the only words that accompany the pictures are a title and simple sentence. The story (more specifically the characters, setting and plot) of each picture is left to the imagination of the reader. The pictures vary from humorous, shocking, mysterious and frightening which elicit strong feelings from the The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is not like most stories with characters, setting and a plot that has a solution to a problem. Intead, the book has fourteen separate, non sequential pictures and the only words that accompany the pictures are a title and simple sentence. The story (more specifically the characters, setting and plot) of each picture is left to the imagination of the reader. The pictures vary from humorous, shocking, mysterious and frightening which elicit strong feelings from the reader. I would use this book to teach noting details, which can then be used to teach inferencing. In first grade, inferencing is a tough skill to acquire so introducing the skill through pictures levels the playing field for all levels of readers. I love the idea of also letting the students choose their favorite picture from the text and giving them a story map to create their own representation of what is happening in the illustration. Students can then use the map to create a writing.

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