The Mysteries of Harris Burdick
Fourteen black-and-white drawings, each accompanied by a title and a caption, entice readers to make up his or her own story. A fictional editor's note tells of an encounter with an author and illustrator named Harris Burdick, who provided the images and captions as samples, each from a different picture book he had written. He left with a promise to deliver the complete m...more
The brilliance of anything someone recommends is that there is the slim chance you might just have that little connection when you both love it as much as one another. It’s something that is surprisingly rare but when it happens, it’s a joy. Not only do you get the experience of the recommended item but also the shared connection. When this happens with a book it is all the more rewarding for all the reasons that lead us as adults to love book...more
Critical analysis: This is a collection of images produced by a mysterious man named Harris Burdick. Mr. Wenders, though he is retired now, once worked for a children’s book publisher. About 30 years ago, Mr. Burdick came to Mr. Wenders office to offer 14 written stories for which he had drawn many pictures for, and had brought one for each story to see if Mr. Wenders liked them. Mr. Wenders did like them, and requested to see the stories as soon as possible. However,...more
The premise of this is that Harris Burdick dropped off 14 drawings to a children's book publisher back in the 1950s. Each had a title and a caption. Burdick promised to return with the stories that accompanied each drawing. He never returned.
So what we are left with are 14 highly interesting illustrations with captions that act as story starters. I used to have each image in poster size for my...more
For example, one of the photos includes a room with a window open and the curtain blowing in the breeze. The wall...more
This beautifully illustrated nearly wordless book is a perfect addition to a unit on mystery. Beginning with the introduction of how the pictures were obtained from the mysterious Mr. Burdick to the title and only excerpt from each accompanying story for each of the fourteen illustrations, this book has been an inspiration to many authors young and old. Chris Van Allsburg magically captures the reader’s attention with his detailed images in gray, black and white. Each ima...more
Each page has an illustration with a title and a caption. Each illustration is from a different story, but we never learn what the stories are. It is impossible to read this book and not think about what those stories could be. This would be a very fun book for bedtime stories.
I actually had seen two of these drawings before, but I did not know...more
ETA: I just saw the new version of this book at Powell's, wherein many beloved children's authors tell their own tales behind the mysterious images of Van Allsburg's. I didn't know this book existed until then, and I have to say I pretty much hate the whole idea of it, no matter how much I love most of the authors that are included. I'm sure many of the stories are really wonderful s...more
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg is a truly unique book. The preface to the story is that the drawings that followed were a part of a book that was lost. Unfortunately, no one...more
It's introduction is somewhat apocryphal: the author is not the actual author but merely a messenger of sorts. Chris Van Allsburg discovered the set of drawings whilst visiting the home of Peter Wenders. Thirty years ago (as of 1984), these drawings were presented to Peter Wenders by a man named Harris Burdick with the intent of publishing 14 stories for a children's book. Harris Bur...more
Now that i have once again decided to take another look at this book, i have set a goal for my self. I wil...more
The premise is that years ago Harris Burdick went to see a children's book publisher, dropped off the pictures with a caption each to see if the publisher liked them and promised to bring the stories that went with them the next morning. He never returned and attempts to find him, failed.
The art work is stunning, black and white, and over a range of subjects. One is of a man holding a chair rea...more
Theoretically, a book has an author, a plot, characters, an ending. In the case of these Mysteries, you are the author. The plot is both numinously vague and personal to you, like religion. The characters are present in the softly shaded black and white illustrations, but their motivations, backstories, and personalities are yours to fabricate. The...more
I have never seen another book like this one. This book is really inter...more
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...more