Chris Van Allsburg is probably best known as the author/illustrator of the Caldecott award-winning books Jumanji and The Polar Express, both of which have been made into blockbuster movies. Another of Van Allsburg's lesser known books, but one of his most intriguing, is The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. This picture book consists of a series of unusual drawings featuring only a title and a caption to give clues to their meaning. The stories behind these puzzling images are left to the imagination of the reader.
Through the years since the book's first publication in 1984, many children and adults have created their own stories behind the pictures in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. The author has created a website where fans of the book can submit their own stories. New stories are posted monthly. There are tips for aspiring young writers, plus you can read some of the best stories submitted by other kids. Click here to visit the website.
In October of this year a new book entitled The Chronicles of Harris Burdick is scheduled to be released. This book will feature stories inspired by the original Harris Burdick drawings by fourteen well-known authors, including such children's favorites as Kate DiCamillo, Lois Lowry, Louis Sachar, Lemony Snicket, and more. I know I am looking forward to reading these stories from the imaginations of some of my favorite authors.
So why not check out The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and see how this book sparks your own imagination? Write a story, create a drawing, or just share this mysterious book together with a friend or loved one.