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The Mysteries of Harris Burdick Hardcover – September 24, 1984


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The Mysteries of Harris Burdick + The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales / With an Introduction by Lemony Snicket + The Garden of Abdul Gasazi
Price for all three: $44.07

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; 1st edition (September 24, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395353939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395353936
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.1 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A new portfolio edition offers the artwork from Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, originally published in 1984, in loose oversized sheets. The enigmatic black-and-white drawings are each accompanied by a title and brief caption: for example, a picture of a nun placidly sitting in a chair floating in a cathedral is labeled "THE SEVEN CHAIRS: The fifth one ended up in France." The portfolio also includes a 15th drawing, discovered under circumstances as mysterious as the original set. A new Internet site, set to launch on October 28, will encourage the use of the pictures to seed creative writing assignments.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Layered in mystery, this extraordinary book will stun imaginative readers of all ages." School Library Journal, Starred

More About the Author

Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children's literature. In 1982, Jumanji won the National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

My sixth grade teacher used this book for a creative writing assignment.
Nicole Alger
This book is a great way to prompt students to create their own interpretations of the pictures and write stories based on the illustrations and the sentence.
Tarra Scott
The book is excellent and I recommend it for anyone who has that creative spark.
LordEvilhead

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 86 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Picture books have a wide range of purposes in this world. They can teach and inform. They can amuse and entertain. Sometimes, though, I think that the most impressive picture books are the ones that inspire. And not in a gosh-doesn't-that-drawing-of-a-sunset-make-you-want-to-draw-a-sunset-too type mentality. I mean true inspiration. The kind you might find, for example, in Chris Van Allsburg's incredibly entertaining and mysterious picture book, "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick". I can think of no other source in this world better able to inspire children to write their own highly interesting stories. "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" has been used for years as a uniquely original source for stirring up potential tales in the minds of kids everywhere. More importantly, though, it's just a darn good book. Darn good!

Few books for small children actively encourage you to read a long wordy Introduction to them first. This is one of the few. Before we see any of the pictures we are told a tale of one Mr. Wenders and one Mr. Burdick. Mr. Wenders was once a children's book publisher. As he was sitting in his office one day a Mr. Harris Burdick arrived with fourteen illustrations. It seems that Mr. Burdick had written fourteen stories and he had brought an illustration from each of these for the perusal of Mr. Wenders. After dropping off the pictures (each with its own title and line from the book it belonged to) he left and was never seen again. This book is a presentation of those mysterious images, all suggesting that they belong to magical stories of their own. The introductory story, I should probably point out, is utterly false. But it gives some nice context to the images that follow and hopefully kids will still dig them.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Alger VINE VOICE on December 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My sixth grade teacher used this book for a creative writing assignment. We were supposed to pick one of the pages and write a story based on Chris Van Allsburg's wonderful illustrations.
Chris Van Allsburg, known to me as the author/illustrator of Jumanji and The Polar Express, outdoes himself in this book. It is a book to get the mind thinking, especially for children. Each illustration has a caption that is supposed to get the mind thinking. A child cannot read this book without formulating a story, perhaps unconsciously, in his mind.
Chris Van Allsburg is a wonderful artist. Each illustration, done in only simple black and white, is so breathtaking that I could stare at them time and again and be amazed at the detail, the realness. The sentence-long captions that go along with each picture even today cause me to dream up a story. It is a terrific book to get a child interested in writing. :)
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
For accelerating the imagination of a child, this book works like a magic potion. I am 18 now, and love it as much as I did the first time I read it, at about age 7. Its drawings are magical, and I think the real draw in VanAllsburg's work is that it's a little eerie, too. There are mysteries here (hence the title), and my favorite thing about these fragments is that they are presented as just that-- fragments of a story. They make for excellent creative exercises for children, making up the stories around the pictures and bits of narrative. If you are a parent looking for books for your children, BUY THIS. And even if you are looking for books for yourself, take a look. Relive the magic of your childhood, because this book is begging you to.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Colorado Dreamin' on May 31, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A colleague introduced me to the portfolio edition, and it is one of the best finds I have added to my writing program. What makes this edition better than the traditionally-bound book is that you can post each of the 12" x 16" drawings around the classroom and use them as picture prompts for writing. I have my students use the captions as the first line of their stories. So far, this collection has been a hit with every class I've taught. You won't be disappointed!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I am seventeen years old and a regular reader of high literature, i.e. Beloved, Of Human Bondage, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Stories of John Cheever, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. My interests rarely travel off the beaten literary path, but one of my favorite books of all time, to this day, is The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. It is a magical book, and its rich drawings impress themselves on your memory, so theat the first time you read it, it becomes an eternal testament to creativity and the power of the imagination. I will never forget this book as long as I live, and I also rest assured in the fact that it can never be disgraced by being adapted to the big screen. Just as George Orwell's Animal Farm should never have been animated, neither should this. It is too brilliant, and too lasting aleady as a book. Every child in the world should be issued a copy of Chris Van Allsbvurg's poetic masterpiece at birth. It's as simple as that. So, parents, if you are taking this book into consideration for your child, don't hesitate. BUY IT NOW. It is well worth the 20.00 for a lifetime of imagination.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Shanshad VINE VOICE on October 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is the book that got me started writing. About 16 years ago, my English teacher gave us an assignment and this book to base the assignment on. The unique pictures, the sparkling captions and the fascinating titles all served to get me thinking and writing. Two hundred notebooks and countless computer files later, I'm still at it. This is the cure for writer's block, and the answer to dreary days that need some storytelling. The only folks I can see this book not helping are the ones who would prefer NOT to use their imaginations. For them, perhaps television is better. But any person, any age can see countless possibilities from the teasing details present here. This is the book to leave out on the coffee table, to take into the classroom, to keep by the word processor. If you haven't seen it, check it out. And have fun with your stories!
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