Chris Van Allsburg is a masterful author and illustrator. He’s known for a diverse collection of works, including The Polar Express and Jumanji. His work is creative, entertaining, mysterious, and just a little bit creepy. It’s also inspiring, which is evident in his latest work that was just named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2011.
The book is titled The Chronicles of Harris Burdick and is based on Van Allsburg’s book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, which was published in 1984. The original book was a compilation of drawings, each with a title and caption, originally created by the mysterious Harris Burdick. Burdick gave the material to a publisher and promised to return with stories, but disappeared and has never been heard from again. Van Allsburg recreated the drawings and published them, hoping to encourage imaginative readers to create stories for the illustrations.
His wish has come true with Chronicles, which includes the illustrations and new stories written by some incredible authors, including YA award winners Sherman Alexie, Kate DiCamillo, Jon Scieszka, Gregory Maguire, and Walter Dean Myers.
Van Allsburg is from my hometown of East Grand Rapids, Michigan. He and my mom went to high school together, and his mother owned an ice cream shop next door to my grandmother’s needlepoint shop. I am a lifelong fan, but I am sure I am not the only one impatiently waiting for my copy to come in from the public library. I can’t wait to read the stories these authors have created from a drawing, title, and caption!
— Casey O’Leary, currently reading One Day It’ll All Make Sense by Common and enjoying it!