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Bad Day at Riverbend
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Bad Day at Riverbend

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  472 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Riverbend was a quiet little town, the kind of place where one day was just like all the rest and nothing ever happened. Occasionally the stagecoach rolled through, but it never stopped, because no one ever came to Riverbend and no one ever left. The day the stagecoach stood motionless in the center of town, Sheriff Ned Hardy knew something was terribly wrong. What was the ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 30th 1995 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

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Van Allsburg demonstrates his genius with this book. He broke out of his comfort zone artistically by abandoning his sculpture-like illustrations (until the end) and crafted a pen and ink style coloring book. Of course, the beauty is in the tale as we see scribbles all over. What a unique perspective! This is so different.

A must read for any Van Allsburg fan!

I had not read this before, but I was aware of the coloring that is in the book. The librarian at the public library was not. She was conce
Ashley Ott
•Summary: In this story a small town exists peacefully until one day some kind of slime starts to cover things. The local sheriff travels to find out what is going on. All to soon though the sheriff is covered himself and the mystery is solved.
•Evaluation: The pictures are the key to this story. Readers can tell that the mystery is that the town is a coloring book page that is being colored in. This would be a good book for a second or third grade class to learn about making predict
Theresa Womack
I choose to read Bad Day at Riverbend by Chris Van Allsburg, because I have read other Chris Van Allsburg books before and have enjoyed them and felt like I probably would with this one as well. It did not disappoint me. The cover of the book has a cowboy who has no color drawn on him and he looks petrified. Behind the cowboy it looks like someone has scribbled on the white space with crayons. The begining end pages of the book are white and then one black one right before the title page. This p ...more
Samantha Friedman
Just looking at the cover of the book it looks like it is almost a coloring book and a child just scribbled on it. I love seeing who the authors dedicate their books to for some reason and Chis Van Allsburg dedicated this book to Sophia, his little buckaroo, who I am guessing is his daughter. The text seems to enhance the illustrations. As you read you can see what is happening in the first sentence by the drawings but the text gets more in depth with what is really happening. His illustrations ...more
Jeff Fortney
Bad Day At Riverbend is a very bizarre take on an old western tale. It starts with dust jacket hinting at the frightening devastation to come. The back cover of the dust jacket give a hint at the 'interesting' coloring within, as does the dedication on the title page. The first few pages are illustrated like a coloring book. Then the 'coloring' begins. What it looks like is some little kid grabbed a bunch of crayons and scribbled all over the pages.
The scribbling becomes an integral part of the
Jenna Smith
Truth be told, I picked this book off the bookshelf without much thought. After taking a second look at the cover and the first few pages, I assumed a child had a field day with a pack of Crayola crayons. Only after making my way through the first five pages did I realize the sort of surrealistic visual experience Chris Van Allsburg was setting the reader up for, and it did not disappoint. Simplistic black and white images of cowboys in a sleepy little town become a child's personal artwork as c ...more
I love the idea behind this book although it isn't one of my favorites by this talented author/illustrator. The quietness of the little town of Riverbend is disrupted by a strange substance that covers first the horses and the stagecoach and then the townspeople themselves. Sheriff Ned Hardy investigates, leaving readers surprised when they find out just what's going on. The opening pages are simple and plain, which makes sense once they reach the end of the book. I won't spoil it here, but suff ...more
Haley Gawel
Since I'm drawn to Chris Van Allsburg books, I thought to give this read a try and love it. The story circulates around the town of Riverbend, where something odd is happening and cover the whole town. The sheriff in the book decides to crack down on what is going on, especially because its affecting everyones behaviors. The creativity in this book is obvious and the story plot is extremely intriguing. Overall, its one of my favorites of Chris Van Allsburg, and I think students would really enjo ...more
Cindy Sa
This is a good picture book for children to read. Sheriff Ned Hardy is the main timeline of this book, although there are many people inside this book.
I am so interesting that the pictures are very full of imaginative and creative. Because they are in black and white, and there are many color pencils painted in these pictures. In the end of this paper, there is a child painted the picture by the color pencils. The scene is very cute and the warm. That's the main reason I love this book.
The plo
Stefani Sloma
I really enjoyed the idea behind this book, but overall, I wasn’t a huge fan. Basically, the people of Riverbend are surprised when a strange substance begins to cover their horses, then the stagecoach and town. Sherriff Ned Hardy decides to investigate. I’m sure other readers, and kids, will be surprised when they find out the reason behind the substance. I do want to say that I thought the idea was really quite clever, and it makes sense why the illustrations are so simple once you reach the e ...more
Choosing this book from the library shelf, I flipped through it quickly and saw that it had been scribbled in. It was a library book; I was a little dismayed but not surprised that some kid with crayons had gotten a hold of it. I was also surprised at the drawings; Chris Van Allsburg is one of my favorite illustrators, so the simple (and poorly rendered) contour drawings were disappointing at first. But then I started reading, and began to understand the concept. Van Allsburg knew just what he w ...more
“Bad Day at Riverbend” is a unique book from Chris Van Allsburg about how Sheriff Ned Hardy discovers a mysterious light coming from the sky and causes mayhem in the town of Riverbend. “Bad Day at Riverbend” is a very unique book that children will take some interest in; however the story itself may bore many children since there are too many scenes that slow up the story.

Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations are highly creative as he draws the characters and the settings in a coloring book style,
Jordan Santoro
Chris Van Allsburg does something very different and unique with the illustrations in "Bad Day at Riverbend". This is one of the first things I noticed when I picked up the book, as the front cover shows a black-outlined drawing of a man in a cowboy hat, which seems to then be messily drawn on with crayon. The front end-page is solid black, which gives the reader minimal clues about what is to come. The town of Riverbend is sleepy and rather boring. That is until Sheriff Ned Hardy sees a red lig ...more
Germaine (Marie) Semodio
This book is portrait orientated because it depicts a community of people. The color in this book is something to be discussed. I think it was excellently used through the scribbling - which enhances its appeal to a child when being read out loud. It uses bright colors of red, purple, green, blue and yellow - all typical colors that a child would use when coloring. The art technique that is used is something I am very familiar with because it's the only art technique that I can do - scribbling/c ...more
Bad Day at Riverbend is a hilarious story of an old western town. One day something strange happens, the stage coach stops in town. The stage coach is also covered in crazy colored greasy squiggles. The town is in a panic as the greasy squiggles spread.

Chris Van Allsburg never ceases to amaze me at his creativity. The pictures are my favorite. They look as if a child has scribbled all over them. It isn't until the end of the book when you find out the town is really in a coloring book and a chi
Bad Day at the Riverbend is more about the artwork than you would ever guess when you pick it up. I think this is a very creative story by Chris Van Allsburg. The town of Riverbend is slowly being devastated by this crazy greasy slime. The town sheriff is determined to figure out what it is.
The artwork in this book starts out with just white with thick black lines. Soon we get to see the greasy slime that is entering the town. The greasy slime looks very similar to a type of artwork that is don
Shannon Wasgatt
Bad Day At Riverbend is the story of a quiet little western town. One day something confusing starts to happen in their town Sheriff Hardy has to figure out what it is.

On the cover, Sheriff Hardy is outlined in black. Behind him is what looks like the colorful scribbles of a child drawing. Sheriff Hardy has a scared look on his face as he stares at something outside of the frame. From the image and the title you can tell there is something bad in the story, but you are not sure what it is yet. O
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karina Macias
Chris Van Allsburg's Bad Day at Riverbend was an interesting read. I really enjoyed the illustrations. Before getting to the end of the book, I thought that children who read this book will want to try to color in the pictures because they look like they are from a coloring book, but it never occurred to me that it would actually be a coloring book within the story.

I'm not sure of what the significance of the book is, all I could think of is the concept of an expanding imagination. Children use
Brad Boyd
Bad Day at Riverbend, published in 1995, is another picture book written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. The book has a portrait layout, but the illustrations cover both pages, giving the book, essentially, a landscape orientation. When the book begins, it appears to be a coloring book. The lines of the pictures are bold, but there is no color at all. A few pages into the story, the first bit of color is seen, but it appears that the pictures have been scribbled on by a child, which we fi ...more
The concept behind this book could hardly have been created by a mind other than that of the brilliant Chris Van Allsburg. Bad Day At Riverbend packs many ingenious little twists into such a brief story, leaving the reader guessing as to what is really going on and on the edge of his or her seat to see how it will all end.

There's not a whole lot more that can be said without giving away something, but you'll notice right from the beginning that the artwork isn't exactly up to the stratospheric
Marjorie Estavillo
Bad Day at Riverbend by Chris Van Allsburg is such a great children's book. I read it for the first time this past week and I had to read it many times. It is now one of my favorite books I have every read. As I was reading the book, I analyzed each picture very carefully. In each of the pages something in the picture was scribbled on. I wasn't too sure on what was the author trying to do, or why he was doing it. The story was really cute about a little town named Riverbend who came upon some un ...more
At first, I couldn't understand the story behind the story until I came to the end of the book. With that, I don't know if a kid would get it. Maybe I am over thinking it, maybe not. It didn't rock my socks off. I don't know if I would have grabbed this for my son. More than likely...No.
Carlie Engels
Bad Day at Riverbend was written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. The book has a portrait shape and the illustrations inside are double page spreads. The illustrations are black and white and resemble pictures found in a coloring book. As you read through the story different colored crayon appears on the pages representing shiny, greasy slime. The illustrations are full bleed and there are no boarders. The pictures are one dimensional until you reach the last few pages of the story where t ...more
Samantha Jones
It's hard to say what meaning there may be to this book, except perhaps to keep your imagination open to unseen possibilities. The illustrations are striking. It seems almost that the story was built around the images. The illustrations are mostly all full-bleed (so to speak). The background is all in black and white outlines, like in a coloring book. Then, crayon-like scribble marks fill certain parts of the images. The main colors are fiery (red, dark pink, and a yellow-orange), but blue, gree ...more
The pictures in this book are nothing short of interesting. Instead of great amounts of detail and bright colors, the pictures look pencil drawn and are colored with scribbles in primary colors like red, yellow, and blue. The book definitely appeals to kids in this way, because it looks like a child colored in the pictures. I also think this is a book that really opens up the imagination. The story itself mixes with the pictures and makes the reader feel like there is something a little off. I t ...more
Ryan Gray
Chris Van Allsburg's Bad Day at Riverbend was a great book for children, boys and girls. The story was set in a quiet little town in the 1800’s. All of the sudden one day strange appearances begin to happen. A stagecoach roles into town and stops. Little squiggles of some substance begin beaming off of the stage coach. These squiggles continue to spread, this is when Sheriff Ned Hardy decides to take matters into his own hands. In the end of the book you come to find that this quiet little town ...more
Dean Anderson
I hope I'm not giving too much away when I say this book is about the interaction between a child and a book. One of the reasons I really loved this book is because it reminded me of an incident that took place when my son Bret was two.
My wife Mindy put him down for a nap with a library book about castles and knights. Outside the closed door, Mindy could hear him happily playing, crying out, "There's a battle in the city! There's a battle in the city!"
When Mindy checked on him, she found that in
Bad Day at Riverbend by Chris Van Allsburg

Riverbend was a quiet little town, the kind of place where one day was just like another, and nothing ever happened. No one ever came to Riverbend, and no one ever left. So, the day the stagecoach stood motionless in the center of town, Sheriff Ned Hardy knew something was terribly wrong.

In yet another creative presentation, Chris Van Allsburg stretches the reader's/listener's imagination in presenting a mysterious danger that ends in a twist at the end
Taylor Allen
“Bad day at Riverbend” by Chris Van Allsburg is about, a town that never changes. Everyday the stagecoach goes through the town of Riverbend but never stops because no one gets on or off. One day when Sheriff Ned went out side he saw a bright light in the sky. When he heard a weird ruckus, he went out side to see the stagecoach was stopped and the horses had weird sticky lines all over them. As the sheriff continues to investigate, he finds that the light and the stickiness kept spreading. In th ...more
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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 ot
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