Thursday, January 5, 2012

REVIEW: The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg

Rating: 5/5 Stars
Audience: Middle School/Ages 10 and up
Genre: Supernatural Short Stories

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.

Here is a book trailer:

Lucinda's Thoughts:  I have always been a Chris Van Allsburg fan and the Mysteries of Harris Burrdick has always intrigued me.  The mysterious drawings have always provoked many "What ifs?" and this collection of tales seems to be the answer to that question.   The stories are all well-written and made me think to myself "Would I have gotten this tale from that picture?"  Many of the stories are definitely "out of the box" and the characters are unexpected and original.  The stories will keep a reader's interest right up to the last page and leave them asking for more.  For example, M.T. Anderson's Just Dessert was so well constructed that after I read the story I wondered about the nature of reality and its malleability.  Stephen King's The house on Maple Street is very reminiscent of his early work and John Scieszka's Under the Rug could have been an Edgar Allen Poe work.  If you like dark mysteries and enjoy stories that are just a little bit west of sideways, this is the work for you.  I give it two thumbs up!

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