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.
"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.