27 September 2011
from the publisher:
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 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.
(This illustration is my assigned story, titled "The Seven Chairs")
from The Washington Post:
For young adults: ‘The Chronicles of Harris Burdick’ go bump in the night
By Mary Quattlebaum, Published: October 4
THE CHRONICLES OF HARRIS BURDICK
14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales
Illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $24.99.
Stories of zombies and vampires may be the obvious choice for a Halloween read, but the 14 surreal tales in this book offer a far more subtle and nape-tingling experience. Each of the authors — Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow and even horror master Stephen King — has penned a story to accompany a given black-and-white illustration by Caldecott medalist Chris Van Allsburg. These detailed images and their cryptic captions were first published by Van Allsburg in “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” (1984), with an introduction that describes them as the work of the strangely vanished (and fictional) title character. Lemony Snicket (nom de plume of the creator of “A Series of Unfortunate Events”) extends that metafictional conceit in his clever introduction to this volume by musing on the “true” identity — Burdick, perhaps? — of these 14 authors. It’s all brain candy for bright middle-schoolers. The tales themselves are a mixed bag of tricks, treats and tones. Jon Scieszka turns in a fast-paced, macabre meditation on a menacing bump in a rug, while Sherman Alexie relays a harrowing account of an empty dress and the power of lies. Gregory Maguire works witty fairy-tale magic in a contemporary story set in Venice. All these tales are a pleasure to ponder. But Louis Sachar’s wistful connection between a ghostly sea captain and a fatherless boy along with Lois Lowry’s riff on a floating chair most gracefully mirror the spirit of Van Allsburg’s haunting pictures.