Read The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg Online


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 mFourteen 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 manuscripts if the editor chose to buy the books. Burdick was never seen again, and the samples are all that remain of his supposed books. Readers are challenged to imagine their own stories based on the images in the book....

Title : The Mysteries of Harris Burdick
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780395827840
Format Type : Unknown Binding
Number of Pages : 16 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick Reviews

  • Alexis Ayala
    2018-10-01 17:13

    Me encantó. Este es un libro con micro cuentos increíbles, acompañados de ilustraciones asombrosas. Todo me dejó perplejo, las 14 historias y los 14 dibujos. Todo es maravilloso. Me fascinó como con esto tu imaginación trabaja el doble y empiezas a pensar el por qué de casa situación ocurrida en el libro. De como se llegó a ese punto y de que es lo qué está pasando en realidad. Desde los títulos de las historias hasta los cuidados en los detalles de las ilustraciones. Un libro encantador que tanto un niño como un adulto pueden leer y quedar maravillados. Corran a comprarlo.

  • J.K. Grice
    2018-10-23 19:22

    I discovered this book a few years after it was published. It's just absolutely amazing, especially if the background story is really true about the "mystery" of Harris Burdick. For many years I used this book as a writing and illustration prompt for my art students in upper elementary. I made slides of the entire book in 1988, and my kids and I would dissect the possibilities for every illustration and caption. Each student would then choose one of the 14 drawings to write their own tale, create an additional illustration, and finally design a "book cover" to staple everything together. We even had a HARRIS BURDICK party to celebrate our accomplishments. The students loved it!

  • GoldGato
    2018-10-08 22:04

    Chris Van Allsburg is one of my must-collect illustrators, as I just love his work. He combines detail with imagination and he has never let me down. While I still rank Queen Of The Falls as his best, this mysterious book of wordless stories comes very close.The premise of this book is explained by a fictional backstory about drawings from a puzzling artist who never provides the stories for each illustration. Therefore, it's up to each reader to provide the possibilities and each of us could certainly come up with our own explanations. There is even a website devoted to the endless combinations. However, I'm just there for the artwork as Van Allsburg never fails to fascinate me.Book Season = Autumn (disappearing stones)

  • Charlie Fan
    2018-10-09 13:59

    14 illustrations. 14 captions. A picture book, then? Yes, but each scene is a loaded gun and you are the trigger. 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 Burdick procured these drawings and promised to return the following day with the stories. He never did. He simply disappeared, never to resurface again.In viewing the illustrations of the book, one wonders what the original stories might have been. I see something like a Rorschach, the stories that the viewers might come up with might reveal the structure of their inner mind. Therefore, it is quite conceivable that one might spend hours just staring at a single picture, composing his own story, getting lost, and then come face to face with a fiercer fear, a deeper love, or maybe disappear altogether into a stranger unknown.

  • Kathryn
    2018-10-11 20:18

    Beautifully illustrative and wonderfully imaginative, not only in the execution but in the way it will inspire readers to think of "the rest of the story." Each illustration is accompanied by just a few words of text--they are supposedly taken from manuscripts by "Harris Burdick" and are only one piece to the whole story... so it is left to the readers to imagine the rest. Almost like visual "story starters." The illustrations contain a variety of themes, from mysteries to joys to sorrows to mysteries to a tad of spookiness. Though younger readers may find the black and white illustrations a lack of narrative flow a bit frustrating/boring, I think most older children would love this and it would make a fun group read as everyone could discuss their own versions of the stories/illustrations.

  • Shawn
    2018-10-09 18:24

    Initially I was going to just mark this as "read" without giving it a rating, but I figure, why not?I don't know if the story about how this book came to be (included by Van Allsburg at the beginning) is true or not, but the images inside speak for themselves--or, rather, they invite viewers to speak for them. Some of the pictures are fantastical, some are strange, some are downright creepy, but all of them could be any of these things depending on who is looking at them.This would make an awesome coffee-table book, and I think it could be a tool for teachers to get kids thinking creatively, inventing and writing down stories based on these pictures. Hell, the book even gave me a few story ideas.If you're expecting a picture book with a cohesive story, this won't be that, but if you're interested in something kind of cool and weird and quirky, then this is definitely worth checking out.

  • Klaudia Maniakowska
    2018-09-26 16:01

    I find this book totally amazing. The only word that comes to my mind after reading it is MYSTERY. Not only is the whole story of Mr. Burdick who never returns to Mr. Wender mysterious. In fact, every picture in this book is baffling. Due to the fact that the drawings are black and white, the author skillfully plays with light making the illustrations appear uncanny. The captions are so puzzling that they allow the readers to come up with a multitude of possible stories. I enjoyed the fact that the readers are left to create the story for each picture themselves, because it is very engaging. My favorite captions from this book: “He had warned her about the book. Now it was too late”. Yeah, it is definitely too late, because it is yet another book I must have in my home library :) .

  • Victor Casas
    2018-10-23 21:56

    Me recordó lo mágicas que pueden ser las formas y las palabras cuando de usan correctamente o en conjunto.Para tener tan poco texto, me hizo pensar demasiado. Lo quiero en mi librero.

  • Sara
    2018-10-20 16:20

    I bought this book for my niece for Christmas. I’m so excited to share it with her. This was one of my favorite books as a kid. It made me feel excited and a little bit scared.

  • Marta
    2018-10-01 18:55

    Loved it. The old-fashioned tradition of the past returns: the author purports to believe that the real author of the pictures has disappeared and the quest to unearth some details from his life still continues. That is an efficient method to capture the reader's attention and heighten a sense of mystery. The pictures are silent stories that have a chance to flourish in our imagination: we have no plot but a short caption. A splendid chance to stimulate our imagination. After all, we can spend minutes on just one picture, not actually studying it in detail, but delving into our own visualizations of the story the picture only introduces. I was surprised by how intrigued I was by this book.

  • Amanda Mic Perkins
    2018-09-30 14:07

    Beautiful art, and it's true- you can't help but fill in the blanks.

  • Neil Coulter
    2018-10-07 19:57

    I first encountered The Mysteries of Harris Burdick years ago, when my kids were much younger. It was at a time when we were enjoying Chris Van Allsburg's classics (I especially remember reading The Z Was Zapped many, many times; I still have it memorized). I loved Harris Burdick, but never got a copy for our home bookshelf. Yesterday at the Public Library, on the shelf in front with books for sale, there it was: $1.00 for a pristine hardcover copy. I brought it home and admired each story once again. It's all so beautifully eerie and just slightly, possibly, very disturbing. This copy will stay with us, and I'll gaze at it now and then, and smile.I think my favorite is "The fifth one ended up in France."I'm grateful to Peter Wenders, as well as to Van Allsburg and, of course, to Burdick himself. :)

  • Sarah -
    2018-09-28 21:06

    When I was in sixth grade, I had the most amazing teacher ever for English. One of our exercises was to write a story about one of several pictures he had placed around the classroom. As a sixth grader, I chose to write a story about the little girl who was holding two caterpillars in her hand. My story involved this little girl finding these magic caterpillars that did tricks and she trained them and that helped her get a way from the turmoil within her family involving her mother and her mom's new boyfriend. The caterpillars were an escape for her and her little brother. The photo came from this book. After my teacher read the story he looked at me and said, "Sarah, you are a writer." Those words have never left me, and I am so thankful to still have the support of that teacher in my life now as I really am becoming a published author. I owe all of that to this book and Mr. Kevin Hanzlik.

  • Tom Malinowski
    2018-10-04 15:18

    Harris Burdick left behind 14 drawings, each with a title and a blurb about the picture. No one hasn't seen him since he dropped of his work... Now they're published, that will inspire all, give you the creeps, and make you scratch your head again and again. This book is for such a wide range of ages because creative mysteries should be explored no matter how young you are.

  • Rosanne
    2018-10-22 16:54

    I found this book right before Halloween. Next year, I am going to have my students look at the incredible pictures by Chris Van Allsburg and finish the stories.

  • Maxym
    2018-10-11 20:15

    I liked when a house lifted off like a rocket...

  • haley
    2018-10-12 16:20

    Have you ever read a book when you were really young and then forgot about it to the point that you thought you imagined the whole thing? Yeah, that's this book for me.I read it when I was 9 or 10 years old for a school project. I remember being really creeped out by the pictures, but also really fascinated. I recently discovered it again, and it's just as eerie as I remember it to be. Each one is creepy and strange and there's so much ambiguity and ah. So cool. So much imagination. I love it.(I must say that Under the Rug is the one that unnerves me the most. What is under the rug??? We will never know, hahaha).Anyways. Really interesting drawings and the story is eerie and fascinating. would definitely recommend you check this out.

  • Stuart Willy
    2018-09-27 17:20

    The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van AllsburgThe 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 books. That is exactly what happened with this book for me. Not only do I get the book but I also get the little background story to go with it and life is all about the stories.The actual content of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is marvellously simple. There is a fictional editor’s note at the beginning of the book, presented as fact, which creates a sense of the unknown. Following that are fourteen grainy, black and white illustrations, each accompanied by a short caption. Within each drawing is something unusual, teasing, dark or mystifying for which no answer is provided.The fact the illustrations have inspired successful authors to pen their own versions of stories which were later published in a follow up book, The, attests to the possibilities opened up by what is contained within this book’s pages. There is something simply magical about the drawings as if from a time just passed but still reachable. The fictional editor’s note sets the scene for mysterious world where the imagination is fired, stoked and burns bright. Needless to say I will be recommending this book for a very long time to anyone that will listen to me. Everything about it is fantastic.As a resource in the classroom The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is relevant across year groups. There is little in terms of text and the illustrations are in no way aimed specifically at children, meaning anybody can pick this book up and be fascinated or inspired by it. There are a range of options for how this book could be used in the classroom and some of my suggestions are below:• Carry out an investigation into the differing responses to Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations dependent of viewers’ ages, ranging from young children, to peers and then adults within the school• Using the book as the start point Investigate how text adds to a picture or overall by first just providing an illustration and then the caption to see how children respond differently or change their perceptions• Write new captions to go with the illustrations. How do the new captions change your interpretation of the pictures?• Invite students to create their mysterious drawings and captions by providing a caption for them to create their own drawing • Alternatively, ask students to create their own drawing and caption• How does the letter Chris Van Allsburg writes to readers affect the way we read the book? How would our experience of reading the book be different if we skipped reading the letter?• Each of the pages creates an evocative mood, but we might all interpret the moods differently because not everything is spelled out for us. Some of us might think, for example, that the picture of the man and the lump under the rug is frightening, and some of us might think it is funny. What do you think? Why?• Write an answer to the mystery of Harris Burdick himself• Give different pairs/groups an illustration or caption from the book (or both) and ask them to collectively write a story.• Give different pairs/groups an illustration or caption from the book (or both) and ask them create and act out a dramatic scene from a story they make up.• Give individuals an illustration or caption from the book (or both) and ask them to write a story using that as their start point or that as the end point for their story.

  • Ronyell
    2018-10-04 18:00

    “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” is a brilliantly surreal book from Chris Van Allsburg and it is full of various stories that a mysterious man named Harris Burdick leaves behind for Chris Van Allsburg’s friend Peter Wenders to read over and the stories that the mysterious man leaves are only drawings that have titles and small captions under the titles. “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” is a beautifully surreal book that will enchant children for many years.Chris Van Allsburg had done a magnificent job at reviving this lost collection of stories from Harris Burdick. The stories are beautifully surreal as the audience only sees an image on the right of the page along while there is only a title with a small caption underneath it is on the left and the title and the captions are the only clues on how the story should be, such as the story “The House on Maple Street” the audience could only indicate that the house was a rocket and it was set for lift off. Also, each image portrays a dark or tranquil story, such as in “Mr. Linden’s Library,” there are vines growing out of the girl’s book indicating that she will be tied up by the vines. Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations are both haunting and beautiful at the same time as there are various images of people being either sad or frightened by whatever supernatural situation befalls them. Also, the images are all in black and white colors which give the book an ominous feel to the stories being portrayed here.Parents should know that this book may be a bit too confusing for smaller children since the only evidence of a story for each image portrayed in this book is the title of the story and a small caption giving a brief dialogue from the story. Small children might have a hard time trying to understand what each story is about since there is no clear evidence of an actual story going on for each image.“The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” is a brilliant book for children who love to read about mysteries. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since smaller children might not be able to understand the stories.

  • Julie
    2018-10-17 16:24

    I love the concept and the background story to this book, it is a reflection of Van Allsburg's genius once more. However, I feel that this book will either be a hit or a miss with readers. I feel that kids would enjoy this book because they like mysteries; the disappearance of Harris Burdick is nothing short of a mystery. Readers who enjoy using their imaginations will also love trying to invent stories to go along with each page; it is almost a childhood instinct to see a vague statement and a peculiar image and subsequently try and put two and two together. However, when I first opened this book, the adult in me didn't know what to do with it. For readers who simply want a straightforward plot with predetermined characters, and a beginning, middle, and end to the story, this is probably not the best book, and it is understandable for one to not want to stretch their creative limits at all times. I think that more kids are likely to lean towards the more unfortunate scenario as our culture becomes less about using your imagination and more about pressing the buttons on your video game controller, but I can see how this book could be used by teachers as a writing prompt that would make kids exercise their imaginations (whether they would like doing it is the debate). However, I think all readers can appreciate the greatness of Van Allsburg's recreation of Burdick's images; even if you don't want to make up a story, you are still inclined to notice the care that went into creating each illustration, which may ultimately make you wonder about the depicted scenario. In general, this is a very unique reading experience, which is why I think it is worth a try with any type of child, whether they are typically imaginative or not; it forces readers to do most of the work, but at least this means that no matter how many times you pick this book up, you will never read the same story twice.

  • Jennica
    2018-09-27 15:56

    Jennica MundenPicture BooksCritical 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, while Mr. Burdick left to bring the stories the next morning, he was never seen or heard from again, and his disappearance remains a mystery unto this day. Mr. Wenders kept the pictures, and when Mr. Allisburg came to view these drawings in a book at Mr. Wenders home, Mr. Wenders showed him dozens of stories that his children and their friends had written over the years based on imagination, the pictures, and the titles and captions that went to each one.Opinions: This is wonderful and mesmerizing! One cannot help but want to know what happened to the original author and as to what the original stories really were. However, the pictures are so well done, and with a little nudge from the titles and captions, it is hard not to look at these images for any length of time without imagining how the story might have played out.Summary: The book presents a series of loosely related drawings, each accompanied by a title and a caption, which the reader may use to make up his or her own story.

  • Kristin
    2018-10-17 16:58

    Each year at my school we host a visiting author. As a part of that author visit, teachers create workshops that focus on different aspects of writing. Over the years, I've tried a variety of workshops -- none of them particularly interesting or well attended. This year, I decided to try something new!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 has been able to track down the originator of the drawings or find the text. Each picture does have an interesting caption. But, the caption isn't enough to truly explain all that is going on in the picture. And, with that idea, a workshop is born!My workshop idea isn't unique at all. It's been done before, but Van Allsburg stunning picture book provides a wonderful opportunity to help get students writing. In fact his pictures have inspired the likes of Stephen King! A short story based on one of the Burdick illustrations was included in one of King's short story compilations.The portfolio edition is fabulous to use with students! The drawings are poster sized, so students can see the illustrations in closer detail. Using the details, student created some of the most phenomenal short stories. I was truly impressed. This book will surely get anyone's imagination going!

  • Katie
    2018-10-03 17:02

    Picking up this book, I was drawn in by the mysteriousness of it all. Is the introduction about the author and illustrator, Harris Burdick, true or was it created to set the mood of the book? It is up to the reader to decide what they believe. I choose to believe the story of Burdick is true because I think it gives the illustrations a deeper and more mysterious meaning. It makes you wonder: what really were his stories behind these illustrations? Each of the dark and ominous fourteen illustrations, all found on the right side of the double page spread, are black and white filled in with shades of gray. The images seem to have soft edges that are blurred to create a sense of calmness until the reader studies the illustration and finds a small and bizarre detail that causes ideas to flow and their interpretation of a story to form. The titles and captions of each illustration, all found on the left side of the double page spread, are black text on a white background with a simple black border. The text gives the reader a clue about each illustration that can sends anyone’s imagination into overdrive. This book is a work of art that can inspire and encourage anyone, at any age, to sit down and write a story about one of Burdick’s drawings.

  • Jigar Brahmbhatt
    2018-09-29 19:10

    With an idea per page, this tiny book reminds me of Calvino's If on a winter's night... because both comprise only of beginnings. While Calvino has exhausted his ideas with words, the daring of Harris Burdick is remarkable, for it can induce the most dangerous of dreams or inspire a wonderful, wonderful story in the reader's mind. This is not the kind of book you skim in 14 seconds and are done with. You open a page and keep looking at it, mediate on the mysterious sketch, and turn the page only when you have a fluid story in your head, even if it takes hours to do so. Don't look down upon the economy of its construction, the very sparseness is a gift from its maker.This is a story book without a story. In here, dear reader, in just 14 pages, are packed infinite stories, if only you know how to read them. This is something Borges could have conceived. In fact, this is the "Book of Sand" he talked about.

  • Courtney
    2018-09-24 19:10

    This is an intriguing picture book. There are no words but it has well-crafted pictures that capture a moment of mystery. This book could be used from 3rd grade through high school to trigger the imagination. Students could work on there own storytelling/writing skills through a response to this book.

  • Cynthia
    2018-10-19 18:06

    For the illustrations alone I give 5 stars and this wonderful book really opens your imagination without effort. This book really brings out the kid in me. The excitement I felt imaging what could possibly come next and knowing that I can come up with my own ending is just priceless. I forget sometimes how fun it is to read great children's books.

  • Neva
    2018-10-18 22:08

    Много съм впечатлена: мистификация, приключение, прозорец към зрача на фантастичното. Свободно реещо се въображение в няколко миниатюрни объркващи изречения, придружени с още по-объркващи картини. Не съобщава, а отключва. Ако трябва да извадя имена от най-личната си практика, до които да го наредя, веднага го слагам между Будзати и Шон Тан.

  • Peter
    2018-10-21 17:24

    Beautiful evocative drawings, each with a caption that implies a mysterious 'lost' narrative. A bit like the hand drawn children's picture book version of a bunch of Gregory Crewdson photographs. It is such a great concept and, as the book suggest, probably great for an inspiring children's or fantastical creative writing. I only wish the book was twice as long.

  • Diana
    2018-10-07 16:01

    This book is 14 individual drawings with a caption and it is up to you to write the story. This books could be used in the classroom as journal prompts. Chris Van Allsburg's drawings are great. He is a fantastic artist.

  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    2018-10-12 14:15

    I love this book! It would be a great book to use in a creative writing exercise, where students would have to write a story to explain the pictures. I always wanted to try that... I read it again in 1990, and enjoyed it all over again.