The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales

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Bestseller Kindle The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales published 2020 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 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 ThousandsAn 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 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 won t 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.. Bestseller Kindle The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales Chris Van Allsburg has always been the Rod Serling of the children’s literary world. Of that there can be no question. With no other author, not Gorey, not Snicket, not even R.L. Stine himself, will kids encounter that eerie feeling that can only be best associated with classic Twilight Zone episodes. All his picture books (even nonfiction ones like Queen of the Falls) suggest to the reader that ours is a world not far removed from the ones featured in his books. Maybe coloring books really do have lives of their own before children get to them. Perhaps strangers with amnesia really do have a special relationship with the seasons. And that board game you find one day? Fuggetaboutit. Of all his books, mind, the one that really touched this eerie quality best was The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. I can think of no other picture book that has covered such ground. Back in 1984, Burdick dared to simply imply stories rather than tell them. Its mysterious pictures, each with a single line beneath, hinted at whole worlds. Now fourteen writers for children have been tapped to interpret these stories themselves, to varying degrees of success. Whether you love all the stories, some of the stories, or just a few of the stories, this is one of the better short story collections for kids out there. Its success, however, hinges entirely on its authors’ ability to understand Van Allsburg and his tone.Fourteen authors. Thirteen stories. One introduction by Lemony Snicket. Each author takes an image from Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harries Burdick and writes a short story about that image. The results are as varied as can be. Jon Scieszka seemingly channels Roald Dahl with his satisfyingly short “Under the Rug”. Stephen King, in contrast, presents the longest story with “The House on Maple Street”, though it is no less satisfying. Kids reading this book will find droll writing from Linda Sue Park, a Truman Show-esque tale of caution from M.T. Anderson, and a true epic fantasy from Cory Doctorow. By the end some authors have successfully plugged into the Van Allsburg mindset while others have struggled, but while the stories might be touch and go, they are never, ever dull.Short story collections for kids can be such a mixed bag, particularly when different authors write them. You’d actually find a lot more consistency in a collection by a single author (like Strange Happenings by Avi, say) than one with fourteen different people. In the case of this particular book, I found myself judging the stories on two entirely different levels. First, there were the tales themselves. Were they adequately interesting? Well-written? Something a kid would be compelled to read? Second, how closely did the authors actually look at the images they were supposed to interpret? In short story writing there can be no “wrong” storytelling, yet I often felt far more compelled to give credit to the writers that knew how to use a picture as inspiration rather than as a mere starting point.Let us consider the quality of the tales, first and foremost. Some writers wrote tales that were whole and complete stories. Stephen King’s consideration of a space-bound house, say, or Jules Feiffer’s tale of an elderly children’s author. Other authors sort of took their tales and used them to tell the beginning of a story. Cory Doctorow’s fascinating look at alternate realities did that, as did Sherman Alexie’s tale (which, along with M.T. Anderson’s, ambles the closest to Van Allsburg’s own penchant for the dark and mysterious). But those authors that wrote what felt like the first chapter in a book actually became the most interesting of the lot. They hearken back to the original Harris Burdick and its role in classrooms around the country. For years creative writing teachers have used the picture book and its illustrations to inspire kids to continue the tales. So stories like Doctorow’s or Alexie’s sort of end up doing the same thing. A kid could read their tales and be inspired to continue along the same lines. That said, some of the stories just didn’t do it for me storywise. Tabitha King who, to the best of my knowledge, has never written for children before, is a strange inclusion in this collection. Her story “Archie Smith, Boy Wonder” promises much with its title and image. Sadly, it doesn’t deliver (making me suspect that hers is the first story in the collection for a reason). And interestingly, looking back at the book I found myself forgetting Van Allsburg’s own story (a fact I find relatively ironic). It’s perfectly nice, but I couldn’t conjure you up the details if you asked. Then there was how well and author interpreted their picture. There was a great deal of variation in this. Some authors were shockingly faithful. Gregory Maguire’s tale “Missing in Venice” really does manage to come up with a reason why an ocean liner might be traversing the too small canals of that great city. “The Third-Floor Bedroom” by Kate DiCamillo starts out by sounding like it might go in a different direction, then justifies everything by its story’s end. Other authors were vaguely faithful. Lois Lowry’s “The Seven Chairs” uses the line that accompanies its image (“The fifth one ended up in France”) though not with the scene that we see of a nun floating high above two priests. That’s okay. It’s cheating a little, but it isn’t too bad. Then there are the authors who clearly just glanced at the image and quote and didn’t feel the need to really pair their stories to the images. I’m torn on the Walter Dean Myers story “Mr. Linden’s Library” since the storyline feels very Van Allsburg, even while it has little to do with the accompanying picture of a woman asleep in front of a vine-spewing book. Louis Sachar, however, may have paid the least amount of attention to his image. In his picture a captain signals a boat with a boy by his side. Look closely at the picture, however, and you’ll see that the captain has a firm grip on the boy’s upper arm, so as to keep him from escaping. Sachar latched on to the boy and captain idea in “Captain Tory” but the drama of the scene has completely escaped him. Ah well. I told someone I know about this book recently and they responded with sadness. “Oh, what a pity. The whole point of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick was that kids could make the stories out to be whatever they wanted.” True, I suppose, but I don’t see this book as being anything but a natural extension of the original. There’s nothing to say that teachers can’t continue to use the first book for assignments, then show the kids this book as a follow-up. And who knows? Maybe the kids will read these stories on their own, think to themselves “I can do better than that!”, and be inspired to write their own versions as well. Hey, stranger things have happened. Above and beyond all of that, however, this is just a really good collection of stories for kids. Eerie and wonderful. Strange and unpredictable. You may not love every story in here, but the ones you do care for will burn strong and bright in your memory, long after the weaker ones have faded. If I were to recommend to you one short story collection to kids published in the last ten years, this would be the one I’d hand over.For ages 9-12.
The Chronicle of Higher Education The Chronicle has been tracking coronavirus spikes in counties with big college campuses On three of those campuses, leaders worry that students could infect the community. The Chronicles of Narnia The Chronicles of Now Short fiction torn from today s The Chronicles of Now uses fiction to offer a new way of understanding the headlines, stories, and people shaping our world. The Chronicles of Narnia Movies Four kids travel to the magical land of Narnia where they must battle an evil queen with the direction of the lion, Aslan Stars Richard Dempsey, Sophie Cook, Jonathan R Scott, Sophie Wilcox Votes , Books of Chronicles Chronicles definition of Chronicles by The Free Dictionary Most numerous of all the prose works, perhaps, were the Chronicles, which were produced generally in the monasteries and chiefly in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the greater part in Latin, some in French, and a few in rude English verse.

  1. Chris Van Allsburg Lois Lowry Kate DiCamillo M.T. Anderson Louis Sachar Stephen King Tabitha King Jon Scieszka says:
    Chris was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on June 18, 1949, the second child of Doris Christiansen Van Allsburg and Richard Van Allsburg His sister Karen was born in 1947 Chris s paternal grandfather, Peter, owned and operated a creamery, a place where milk was turned into butter, cream, cottage cheese, and ice cream It was named East End Creamery and after they bottled the milk and made the other products they delivered it to homes all around Grand Rapids in yellow and blue trucks When Chris was born, his family lived in an old farm house next door to the large brick creamery building It was a very old house that, like the little house in Virginia Lee Burton s story, had once looked over farmland But by 1949, the house was surrounded by buildings and other houses Chris s father ran the dairy with Chris s three uncles after his grandfather Peter retired When Chris was three years old, his family moved to a new house at the edge of Grand Rapids that was part of a development a kind of planned neighborhood, that was still being built There remained many open fields and streams and ponds where a boy could catch minnows and frogs, or see a firefly at night It was about a mile and a half to Breton Downs School, which Chris walked to every day and attended until 6th grade, when the Van Allsburg family moved again The next house they lived in was an old brick Tudor Style house in East Grand Rapids It was a street that looked like the street on the cover of The Polar Express The houses were all set back the same distance from the street Between the street and the sidewalk grew enormous Elm trees whose branches reached up and touched the branches of the trees on the other side of the street Chris moved to this street with his mom, dad, sister, and two Siamese cats One named Fafner and the other name Eloise Chris went to junior and senior high school in East Grand Rapids He didn t take art classes during this time His interests and talents seemed to be in the area of math and science.

226 Reply to “The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales”

  1. Chris Van Allsburg has always been the Rod Serling of the children s literary world Of that there can be no question With no other author, not Gorey, not Snicket, not even R.L Stine himself, will kids encounter that eerie feeling that can only be best associated with classic Twilight Zone episodes All his picture books even nonfiction ones like Queen of the Falls suggest to the reader that ours is a world not far removed from the ones featured in his books Maybe coloring books really do have liv [...]

  2. Actual rating 3.5 stars The best stories in this collection have a sense of possibility, of capturing a moment at the beginning or in the middle of a much larger tale, inviting the reader to continue off the page with their own imagination Those are also the stories that, for me, capture the spirit of the original Harris Burdick book which I inexplicably found in my house how did it get there the endless promise, and the strange and wonderful and dreadful directions in which each illustration ca [...]

  3. Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer Jordan B NielsenRecommended for Children ages 10 and up for independent reading, or 7 and up if being read to get ready to explain a lot of abstract metaphysical concepts to little Tommy , though I suspect this book will find its largest audience among those old enough to be lured in by the all star author line up guilty.One Word Summary Disappointing It was too good to be true A collection of children s short stories by fourteen of the most celebrated kidlit authors [...]

  4. One of my favorite children s books of all time is The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg I was so excited to find a story by Stephen King based on one of the illustrations in Nightmares and Dreamscapes, so I was 14x excited to find that a whole book of short stories based on the illustrations was coming out These are stories that would appeal to a wide range of children and teens, and probably many adults as well, just like the original book The stories are filled with magic and [...]

  5. When I was a young child, I wrote a letter to the publisher of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, offering my theories on what might have happened to the author I was such a cute, precocious little nerd Now as an adult I can obviously tell who really illustrated that book, but it s still much beloved by me I was super excited about this collection, but I felt like it was just OK There weren t a lot of standout stories for me I found it really interesting how many times sailors and sea voyages were [...]

  6. I CAN T WAIT to read this series of stories I have LOVED the Harris Burdick book for use to spawn creative writing from my elementary students I am intrigued to read what famous authors had to say Yippee It is about time So, in reading all of the different stories from each illustration, I found about 3 that I really liked and the rest were okay I think that because I have had so many students write so many creative stories to go along with the illustrations, it is hard to top some of them Overa [...]

  7. 2.5 out of 5I just HAD to read this short story collection after reading its source of inspiration, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.Eh, I guess my expectations were too high Hey, but look at the impressive author list It DOES sound too good to be true, hahaMy favorite piece was Lemony Snicket s introduction I also liked the stories by Jon Scieszka, Stephen King, M.T Anderson and Louis Sachar The others by Sherman Alexie, Gregory Maguire, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Linda Sue Park, Walter Dean [...]

  8. Allright One book and I get to pass judgement on fourteen writers Here goes Linda Sue Park 4.8 starsReally fantastic Intricate, interweaving of story lines with a great hook Hard to believe a story this nearly perfect was written as an excercise Amazing.M T Anderson 4.7 starsVery nearly my favourite story of the collection with a great twist ending sure to blow the minds of young readers A perfect match to the illustration.Kate DiCamaillo 4.6 starsShe makes cat nip out of most of her peers writi [...]

  9. More like 3.8 starsI d read the original book by Chris van Allsburg years ago, and was really excited to see that some of my favorite authors had written stories to go along with the fabulous illustrations Some of the stories were great Another Place, Another Time by Cory Doctorow about parallel universes Mr Linden s Library by Walter Dean Myers about the power of books Some were really good I particularly enjoyed the fantasies The Harp by Linda Sue Park about bickering sisters who fall under a [...]

  10. When I was in grade 5 or 6 some time in the late 90s my teacher decided that we were going to do a literary unit on Chris Van Allsburg The weeks that followed had us reading Jumanji, The Z was Zapped, The Polar Express, and every other Van Allsburg book that we had available in our school library With each book we did a project and the one that went with The Mysteries of Harris Burdick was my favourite That s because the project that we did was this book.Ok, it wasn t this book exactly, but ever [...]

  11. I ve owned this book for years a gift from my awesome husband who knew I would be absolutely delighted to see the the illustrations of Harris Burdick come to life with stories by authors who I know and adore This summer I finally sat down to read this gem only to discover that the stories were Strange Fantastical Definitely for outside of the box thinkers.I honestly enjoyed probably one story in this collection Props to Sherman Alexie s A Strange Day in July for jussssst the right amount of cree [...]

  12. Short stories are often what stick in my head So reading this for the second time was like turning a light on in my mind Caterpillars that do math Metal that invades houses Ships in Venice Fake pumpkins These stories and pictures will randomly pop into my head, and often I have no idea where they are from Now I do My favourite stories are Missing in Venice by Gregory Maguire, Just Desert by M T Anderson, and The House in Maple Street by Stephen King But I also really love The Seven Chairs by Loi [...]

  13. I had never heard of the whole Harris Burdick concept until Katie picked this for her book club selection Which is strange to me, because I feel like I should have heard of this super creative and kind of really awesome concept of Chris Van Allsburg publishing illustrations with captions next to them, and encouraging the audience to tell their own stories Like I said, super creative I really approve The neat thing about this book is that it takes that concept and applies it on a pretty large sca [...]

  14. Who has not had Chris Van Allsburg s Mysteries of Harris Burdick used as a writing prompt besides Sean N and I were kicking around the idea of checking the book out from the library when I heard The Chronicles of Harris Burdick was coming out I told Natalya she still should write her own inspired piece, but there was no having The Chronicles in the house without her getting a hold of it It features some of her favorite authors 11 for a while now Natalya s response the experience She handed the b [...]

  15. When I taught middle school English, I used Chris Van Allburg s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick as short story prompts in my classroom Once I stopped teaching, I brought my collection of prints home and now several of them hang in my house I have Mr Linden s Library in my office bedroom, and Cami has Oscar and Alphonse in her room When I found out that some of my favorite YA authors were going to be writing short stories to accompany these drawings, I was so excited This collection, for the most [...]

  16. I came across this book while looking for a book club book for the adult literacy program I work for The reading level and book length are on spot I think this could be a good choice, although it would probably make a good book for October which has already passed This book is essentially a companion book to The Mysteries of Harris Burdick which is a book with pictures, their titles, and short captions, and the reader is left to imagine the stories that the pictures go with THIS book gives the r [...]

  17. Very very rarely, I will swoon over a book Swoon worthy books must not just be well written, they have to be beautifully packed, or have exquisite illustration, mostly, all three Four stories into The Chronicles of Harris Burdick I was already swooning Mind you, this is the ARC, too, not the gorgeous hardcover that will be the best holiday gift when it hits shelves.What strikes me as I read one story at a time, with space between each to savor is the inventiveness of the writers Van Allsburg s i [...]

  18. OMG, OMG, OMG I tend to pass on reviewing a lot of children s literature because I don t want to hurt feelings of people who may, if I ever publish another work of fiction, be in a position to review my work But sometimes I read something that is so great that I have to tell the world I have always adored The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg a collection of incredible artwork with captions only They are so inspiring Now, some brilliant person decided to ask authors to write stor [...]

  19. Who is Harris Burdick In his intro, Lemony Snicket tells us that Burdick dropped off fourteen beautiful illustrations, each with their own title and caption, to a stranger, promising he d return with illustrations and stories to match But he never returned, and so fourteen writers have done their best to put a story behind each picture or perhaps, as Snicket theorizes, these fourteen were contacted by Burdick in secret and given the stories to match, or had them hidden in their homes for safe k [...]

  20. This follow up to Van Allsburg s infamous picture book is, like most collections composed of a sampling of different writers, a mixed bag Happily, most of the stories are enjoyable, and some are excellent Tabitha King s stands out as the least impressive per usual with Mrs King, one wonders if she d have any career were she not married to Stephen King , and for my money the best is Sherman Alexie s wicked tale of two twins whose nasty pranks come back to haunt them The rest of the stories run th [...]

  21. A weird book, as weird in its way as the original picture book Every story is well crafted, some are standouts, and none really pander to the children who will be reading them The short stories are interesting and challenging, and most look for the reader to find meaning between the lines Most of the tales veer into sci fi and fantasy, as you d expect, and many remind me of the stories from the old science fiction magazines I used to read in my early teens that led me into the genre of science f [...]

  22. The idea behind this book is that a group of prints were found with no back story, only one drawing per page with a title or caption In the past many children and adults developed their own story, based on these Chris Van Allsburg drawings.Were they random prints or did they all go to the same story No one knew It was up to each readers imagination This book picks up from those original prints and asks famous writers to develop an essay to go with each print While the prints themselves are still [...]

  23. First of all, I must confess that The Mysteries of Harris Burdick has long been a mainstay in my writing toolkit For several years, I have used the illustrations and their captions as story starters for my students at all levels, from middle grades to graduate students There is something compelling about the captions and the artwork that simply begs writers to tell a story or two The combination somehow makes writers out of the most reluctant ones In this book, something of a tribute to the orig [...]

  24. I think any fan of children s books would be familiar with the works of Chris Van Allsburg After all, he s written Jumanji, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, The Polar Express and many others One of which was a beguiling collection of strange pictures with tantalizing captions called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick In that book you were left to wonder what the stories were surrounding these unconnected pictures Now 14 authors are trying their hand at it and the result is this handsome book I decided t [...]

  25. We borrowed this book along with The Mysteries of Harris Burdick from our local library We read that book first, coming up with our own short stories to go along with the fourteen pictures Then, we embarked on a journey to see what other authors came up with From the moment we saw that the introduction was by Lemony Snicket, we were hooked Our girls loved the stories and I was excited to see so many of our favorite authors pitch in to contribute tales I m not sure what took us so long to finish [...]

  26. Finding this book was a fannish dream come true for me Chris Van Allsberg is one of my favourite contemporary illustrators, and the list of contributing authors blew my childrens YA lit lovin mind Kate diCamillo, Jon Scieszka, Lois Lowry, Cory Doctorow I also loved the Twilight Zoney Mid Twentieth Century vibe, which is right up other fannish alleys of mine.Some of the stories are fairly dark and or trying too hard to be deep and literary, I think, which would make them challenging for younger r [...]

  27. This book was doomed to disappoint me I loved the original book and imagined the stories many of the pictures illustrated I even wrote my own story for the picture Mr Linden s Library, which, obviously, was nothing like the one in the book I can t imagine that any set of stories written about these pictures could ever be good enough because they wouldn t be the ones I imagine.So, what did I think of the book then I liked it Several of the stories were a disappointment because either I didn t fee [...]

  28. I was blown away by this book, mostly because I have used The Mysteries of Harris Burdick in class I had anticipated using this book in conjunction, first having the students write their own story as I have done in the past, then reading the published story, but I believe that this book is a bit dark for elementary students I will, however, pass the idea on to my high school English teacher sister I enjoyed reading the different stories one per picture written by well known authors It would have [...]

  29. I had to return this to the library before I read all the stories but as you might expect the stories mostly weren t as good as whatever I might have imagined when I first saw the pictures in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.Still, I liked Sherman Alexie s disturbing children, and Stephen King s house being taken over by a rocket ship, and especially MT Anderson s suburban idyll with a secret.

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