Synopses & Reviews
An inspired collection of short stories by an all-star cast of best-selling storytellers based on the thought-provoking illustrations in Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick
For more than twenty-five years, the illustrations in the extraordinary Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg have intrigued and entertained readers of all ages. Thousands of children have been inspired to weave their own stories to go with these enigmatic pictures. Now we've asked some of our very best storytellers to spin the tales. Enter The Chronicles of Harris Burdick to gather this incredible compendium of stories: mysterious, funny, creepy, poignant, these are tales you wont soon forget.
This inspired collection of short stories features many remarkable, best-selling authors in the worlds of both adult and children's literature: Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, Lemony Snicket, and Chris Van Allsburg himself.
Van Allsburg's Harris Burdick illustrations have evoked such wonderment and imagination since Harris Burdick's original publication in 1984; many have speculated or have woven their own stories to go with his images. More than ever, the illustrations send off their eerie call for text and continue to compel and pick at the reader's brain for a backstory -- a threaded tale behind the image. In this book, we've collected some of the best storytellers to spin them.
"Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, published in 1984, paired foreboding sentences with cryptic, highly detailed charcoal-pencil illustrations. With mostly stimulating, sometimes conventional results, seasoned authors (and Van Allsburg himself) play the game children have for decades, incorporating the sentences and visual cues into new stories (and one old one, Stephen King's 'The House on Maple Street') that expand on the original's enigmas. The liveliest entries pick up on Van Allsburg's haunting ambiguity: Jon Scieszka ends with a cliffhanger, Gregory Maguire weaves a complex tale of magic, and M.T. Anderson concocts a chilling Halloween offering. For a lakeside picture of two children, Sherman Alexie writes a sinister narrative about exasperating twins who pretend to have a third sibling, until their creepy prank backfires. In quieter examples, Walter Dean Myers describes an dying man's library and a girl's love of books, while Kate DiCamillo finds a wartime story of longing in an image of wallpaper missing one bird ('It all began when someone left the window open'). This star-studded exercise in creative writing tests the wits of favorite authors and shows readers how even the big shots hone their craft. Ages 10 14. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Mr. Van Allsburg's illustrations have a beautiful simplicity of design, balance, texture, and a subtle intelligence beyond the call of illustration." The New York Times
"Layered in mystery, this extraordinary book will stun imaginative readers of all ages." School Library Journal (Starred Review)
"This is without question one of the best -- and most original -- picture books in years." The New York Times
'\'\\\"Van Allsburg reaches a new pinnacle of excellence in both illustration and storytelling . . . His fable builds to an urgent plea for action as it sends a rousing message of hope.\\\" Publishers Weekly\''
Since its publication in 1984, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick has stimulated the minds of readers of all ages and backgrounds. Now the original fourteen drawings are available in a large portfolio edition of loose sheets. In addition, a newly discovered fifteenth drawing, titled The Youngest Magician, has been added, as well as an updated introduction by the author. The puzzles of these mysterious drawings will be even more provocative because of the larger size and the exceptional printing quality. For the first time, the drawings can be shared with groups or displayed singly. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 1984."Layered in mystery, this extraordinary book will stun imaginative readers of all ages." School Library Journal, Starred
On a terrifically rainy day, Ben has a dream in which he and his house float by the monuments of the world, half submerged in flood-water."The story idea, so economically carried out in the text, is illustrated in the artist's meticulous drawings, marvels of symbolism, reality, imagination, and perspective." Publishers Weekly
In a story recounted through the daily log of Captain Allan Hope, the sailors aboard the Rita Anne become mesmerized and transformed by a mysterious glowing rock, and only music and books can restore them to normal."As always, Van Allsburg's paintings are magnificent. Cool, clear colors, boldly executed, and unusual perspective accentuate the story's mystery." Booklist, ALA
For his birthday, Calvinand#8217;s mother gives him two tickets to see Lomax the Magnificent (magician and hypnotist extraordinaire!). Even though Mama hints that his little sister, Trudy, would love to go, Calvin doesnand#8217;t hesitate to invite his friend Rodney instead.
The boys return home greatly impressed by the magicianand#8217;s performance. When Calvinand#8217;s mother goes out, she leaves him in charge of Trudy. Itand#8217;s a job Calvin dislikes because his sister does not want to be left out of anything. So Calvin and Rodney include herand#151;by making her the first subject for their own hypnotizing machine.
Much to the boysand#8217; surprise, the machine works. But unfortunately they cannot undo what they have done. Trudy is stuck in her trance, convinced she is a dogand#151;panting, drooling, and barking at squirrels. The only problem is, Calvin canand#8217;t remember Lomaxand#8217;s magic wordand#151;Probuditi!and#151;so Trudy wonand#8217;t snap out of it!
The boys are worried and decide to take Trudy to the one man they know can solve their problemand#151;but will Lomax help them? Mama is on her way home . . . Who will have the last laugh?Masterful compositions display the depth, varied viewpoints, and marvelous mixture of patterns and surfaces that readers have come to expect.
School Library Journal, Starred
Classic Van Allsburg air, like something out of a dream...hinting at mysteries lurking behind the here and now.
The Washington Post
Magnificent sepia-toned art...works magic with people, place and predicament. A delicious tale about just desserts.
The San Francisco Chronicle
A Van Allsburg book is always worth waiting for.
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Imagine how tempting it might be to be able to hypnotize your little sister.
The Chicago Tribune
A rare outing from Van Allsburg, featuring as smooth a case of payback as ever was.
The nostalgic...sepia-tone artwork is eye-catching...it will draw kids into the story with angled, theatrical images.
Enough of a spooky edge to the hypnotic proceedings to make the plot...intriguing even before the final twist.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
The story of Probuditi!...[is] about the lure of magic.
Van Allsburg works his magic.
Kansas City Star
Chris Van Allsburg, a master of surprise endings, wraps a captivating story in lush, warm full-page illustrations in pencil over pastels in burnt sienna that ooze the heat of a summer day in the early 1940s.
The Chicago Sun-Times
This story of magic and gullibility will keep readers guessing until the very end...sepia-tone drawings match the mid-20th century setting.
Library Media Connection
Riverbend was a quiet little town, the kind of place where one day was just like all the rest and nothing ever happened. Occasionally the stagecoach rolled through, but it never stopped, because no one ever came to Riverbend and no one ever left. The day the stagecoach stood motionless in the center of town, Sheriff Ned Hardy knew something was terribly wrong. What was the mysterious substance on both coach and horses? It would not come off. Soon it was everywhere in the tidy little village. Something had to be done, and Sheriff Hardy aimed to do it."It's a book that starts with one point of view and steps into another. The average bildungsroman acoomplishes this kind of transition in several hundred pages: Van Allsburg does it in thirty-two." Kirkus Reviews with Pointers
The three-time Caldecott medalist tells the tale of two ants who decide to leave the safety of the others to venture into a danger-laden kitchen."Children will be fascinated by the ant-eye view that Van Allsburg provides of common everyday items." Booklist, ALA
On the last page of the Caldecott-winning book Jumanji, young Danny Budwing is seen running after his brother, Walter, with a game tucked under his arm. Now after twenty years, Chris Van Allsburg is ready to reveal what happens when Danny and Walter roll the dice. This time the name of the game is Zathura and the battling Budwing boys are in for the ride of their lives.
Zathura unleashes intergalactic challenges that require even the quarreling Budwing brothers to work as a team.
Zathura hit bestseller lists when it was first published in 2002 and it's sure to visit them again this fall, along with an exciting selection of six movie tie-in editions when Zathura blasts into movie theatres nationwide!On the twentieth anniversary of Jumanji, Van Allsburg picks up right where his Caldecott Medal book left off, with similarly terrifying adventure set this time in outer space.
Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"Van Allsburg illustrates the surreal events in a grainy charcoal-black that seems to shimmer on a rough, cream-colored ground...Zathura, like Jumanji, is a satisfying enigma." Publishers Weekly
and#8220;Van Allsburg is a terrific illustrator, and his images here, including one where the boys open their front door and are greeted with a breathtaking views of the cosmos, are memorable.and#8221; The New York Times Book Review
and#8220;The angles of view, are, as always, wonderfully dramaticand#8230;and#8221; Kirkus Reviews
and#8220;The shadowy black-and-white tones of Van Allsburgand#8217;s illustration recall 1950and#8217;s science-fiction filmsand#8230;and#8221; The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
and#8220;One canand#8217;t help but anticipating the encore.and#8221; School Library Journal
"These figs are very special," the woman whispered. "They can make your dreams come true." -- Thus Monsieur Bibot, the cold-hearted dentist, was given two ordinary-looking figs as payment for extracting a tooth from an old woman's mouth. Monsieur Bibot refused to believe such nonsense and proceeded to eat one of the figs for a bedtime snack. Although it was possibly the finest, sweetest fig he had ever tasted, it wasn't until the next morning that Monsieur Bibot realized it indeed had the power to make his dreams come true. While dragging his poor dog, Marcel, out for his walk, he discovered that his strange dream from the night before was becoming all too real. Determined to make good use of the second fig, Monsieur Bibot learns to control is dreams. But can he control Marcel? Once again Chris Van Allsburg explores the mysterious territory between fantasy and reality in an uncanny tale that will intrigue readers of all ages."Van Allsburg swings back into his most mystifying mode with this enigmatic, visually sophisticated tale . . . A significant achievement." Publishers Weekly, Starred
A dramatic black- and- white presentation of the alphabet in which the three-time Caldecott medalist depicts a mysterious transformation of each letter."The most succinctly nutty alphabet book in the history of mankind." The New York Times
"Whimsical, sophisticated, this should appeal to a wide audience, from those amused by mayhem in an unusual context to the many fans of this uniquely creative artist." Kirkus Reviews with Pointers
A widow finds herself in possession of an extraordinary broom left by a witch who fell into the widow's garden."Van Allsburg explores the nature of good and evil in this unearthly tale of a witch's broom that has fallen from the sky with its witch still on it . . . Enchanting." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"...you won't be able to put this broom away any more than Minna Shaw could. It will sweep the boards twelve months of the year." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"...will evoke pleasurable shudders..." Publishers Weekly
"...Althought not strictly for Halloween, may turn out to be as much a part of that holiday as Polar Express is of Christmas." School Library Journal
At the edge of a cliff lies the wreck of a small sailboat. How did it get there? "Waves carried it up in a storm," says an old sailor. But is it possible that waves could ever get that high? There is another story -- the story of a boy and his obsessive desire to be the greatest sailor, the story of a storm that carried the boy and his boat to a place where boats glide like gulls high above the water and not upon it. Chris Van Allsburg tells that story of the boy and his boat, the Zephyr, in words and haunting, full-color pastel paintings. His sailboats sail the night sky with the stars in pictures so vivid that the reader can almost hear the wind in the sails. Here is a work of unusual artistry that will enchant readers of all ages for many years to come."The full-color pastel drawings are the work of a master: stunning, luminescent, and conveying a sense of the mystical and magical." Publishers Weekly
“Engaging, with strokes of brilliance”—Kirkus
“This star-studded exercise in creative writing tests the wits of favorite authors and shows readers how even the big shots hone their craft.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The stories embrace a range of styles and subjects, but, like their enigmatic and mysterious inspirations, each touches on the strange, the odd, and the fantastic.”—The Horn Book Magazine
“While the stories are distinct—by turns funny, sinister, and touching—they have much in common, sharing an arch tone, a curious metaphysicality, and some familiar folk-tale tropes, and the authors commitment to the original conceit gives the volume additional cohesion.”—Booklist
"Engaging, with strokes of brilliance." Kirkus
"The stories embrace a range of styles and subjects, but, like their enigmatic and mysterious inspirations, each touches on the strange, the odd, and the fantastic." The Horn Book Magazine
Fourteen black-and-white drawings, each accompanied by a title and a caption, entice readers to make up his or her own story.
About the Author
Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children's literature. In 1982, Jumanji won the National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.
Sherman Alexie is the author of several novels and collections of short fiction including the National Book Award Winner The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007) and War Dances, winner of the 2010 PEN / Faulkner Award for Fiction. Alexie lives with his wife and two sons in Seattle, and has published 14 books of poetry and short stories about life on a contemporary Indian reservation, and Indian-white relationships.
M. T. Anderson is the author of The Game of Sunken Places, Burger Wuss, Thirsty, and Feed, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Fiction. Anderson also received the Printz Honor and the National Book Award for Octavian Nothing. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Kate DiCamillo is the author of The Magician's Elephant, a New York Times bestseller; The Tale of Despereaux, which was awarded the Newbery Medal; Because of Winn-Dixie, a Newbery Honor book; and six books starring Mercy Watson, including the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride. She lives in Minneapolis.
Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger -- the co-editor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net) and the author of the bestselling Tor Teens/HarperCollins UK novel Little Brother. He is the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in London.
Jules Feiffer's artistic sensibility permeates a wide range of creative work, from his Pulitzer-winning comic strip in the Village Voice, to his Obie Award-winning play Little Murders, to his Oscar-winning anti-military short subject animation, Munro, to his beloved illustrations for The Phantom Tollbooth. Feiffers cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Playboy, and The Nation, and he has recently reinvented himself as a childrens book author. His first book, The Man in the Ceiling, was selected by Publishers Weekly and the New York Public Library as one of the years best childrens books.
Stephen King has since published over 40 books and has become one of the world's most successful writers. Stephen lives in Maine and Florida with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. They are regular contributors to a number of charities including many libraries and have been honored locally for their philanthropic activities.
Tabitha King has published eight novels (the eighth in 2006 with Michael McDowell as co-author), all of which were released in hardcover and paperback by Macmillan and New American Library. She has also published two works of non-fiction, one of which was published in paperback by Dendrite.
Lois Lowry is the author of more than thirty books for children. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader's Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, Number the Stars and The Giver. Her first novel, A Summer to Die, was awarded the International Reading Association's Children's Book Award.
Gregory Maguire is the author of five novels for adults, including the best seller Wicked, and more than a dozen novels for children. Mr. Maguire has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships. He lives in Massachusetts.
Walter Dean Myers is the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of more than 80 books for children and young adults. His award-winning body of work includesunrise Over Fallujah, Fallen Angels, Monster, Somewhere in the Darkness, SLAM!, Jazz and Harlem. Mr. Myers has received two Newbery Honors and five Coretta Scott King Awards. In addition, he is the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award. Mr. Myers lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Linda Sue Park is the author of Newbery Medal title A Single Shard as well as numerous other novels, picture books, and poetry. She lives in Rochester, NY, with her family Newbery Award-winning author Louis Sachar is the creator of the entertaining Marvin Redpost books as well as the much-loved There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, winner of 17 child-voted state awards. His book Holes, winner of the 1999 Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, is also an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an ALA Quick Pick, an ALA Notable Book, and was made into a major motion picture.
Jon Scieszka was appointed the first National Ambassador for Young Peoples Literature in January 2008. He is the author of several bestselling children's titles, including The Stinky Cheese Man, which won a Caldecott Honor medal, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and the Time Warp Trio, a chapter book series. Scieszka is the founder of Guys Read, a nonprofit literacy organization.
Lemony Snicket is the author of several other unpleasant stories, including those in the bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Lump of Coal.