"Even the most reluctant imagination, when confronted by these drawings will not be able to resist solving . . . "
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick
This book is an outstanding way to promote writing because it is in itself, a mystery. The story goes like this:
Thirty (or more) years ago a man calling himself Harris Burdick walked into the office of Peter Wender, a children's book publisher. Harris explains that he has written fourteen short stories and had drawn pictures for each one. However, he only brought one from each story to see if Wender liked them.
After looking at the pictures, Wender became fascinated by the pictures and wanted Harris to bring in the stories that went with the pictures as soon as possible. Harris agreed to bring the stories in the next day and left the fourteen drawings with Wender.
The next day came and went, as did the next day and the next and still no Harris Burdick! Over the years, Wender kept trying to find out what had happened to Harris Burdick but discovered nothing- it was a complete mystery.
Now, Wender was left with only the mysteries of these drawings and kept wondering what was going on within each story. Harris Burdick had left some clues, for on the back of each picture was a small caption.
Many years later, after these pictures were made into a book, these pictures continue to inspire readers to create their own version of what is happening in each picture. So here's your chance. Listed below are just some of Harris Burdick's pictures with his cryptic captions. Try to explain what these stories are all about, try reading them to a friend or a teacher. But beware- some of these drawings are haunting, strange and even scary!
See if you can solve the mystery!
UNDER THE RUG
"Two weeks passed and it happened again."
THE HOUSE ON MAPLE STREET
"It was a perfect lift-off!"
MR. LINDEN'S LIBRARY
"He had warned her about the book. Now it was too late."
"She lowered the knife and it grew even brighter."
"His heart was pounding. He was sure he saw the doorknob turn."
ARCHIE SMITH, BOY WONDER
"A tiny voice asked, 'Is he the one?'"
A STRANGE DAY IN JULY
He threw it with all of his might, but the third stone came skipping back."
If you'd like to purchase your own copy of "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" by Chris Van Allsburg it is available by Houghton Mifflin, and is available in stores. Every classroom should have one copy.