The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

Book review by
Mark Nichol, Common Sense Media
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick Book Poster Image
Kids will be eager to complete unfinished tales.

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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

A man threatens to strike a hidden form that may be a living thing. Some drawings have an air of vague menace. People--often children--are depicted as participants in strange occurrences.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that only a mysterious title and an ambiguous caption accompany each mesmerizing illustration, leaving readers to complete the unfinished tales.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byhitting 90s December 5, 2019


Actualy the worst
Kid, 11 years old December 7, 2008

harris burdick review

harris burdick came to a publisher one morning only bringing 14 pictures from every book he had wrote the publisher( peters wenders) told him to come back with... Continue reading

What's the story?

Floating bubbles of light hover over a sleeping boy. A strange lump reappears under the carpet in a man's room. A skipping stone acts like a boomerang. These are just the first few of fourteen exceedingly odd images conjured by children's illustrator Chris Van Allsburg. Children--and adults--can exercise their fancy by wrapping their own story around each one.


Is it any good?

This gorgeously illustrated volume is a must-have for Van Allsburg's fans, for young writers, and for any child who enjoys the fantastical. Chris Van Allsburg is known for his often unsettling tales, from the benign but dreamlike Christmas fable The Polar Express to the eerie Jumanji. But here, readers are left with only hints about the stories that surround these graphite-gray images -- it's up to readers to craft the tales these puzzling pictures imply. And what enchanting hints they are! Imaginative children (and their parents) can't resist the urge to script their own interpretations of what happens next.

Each dreamlike illustration is drawn with a slightly fuzzy quality that nevertheless makes magical use of light and shadow to convey a palpable sense of mystery, and period clothing and other artifacts enhance the classic style of the colorless but lush and subtly shaded drawings. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the seeds of stories. Think of a few possible stories for one of the pictures, exploring different genres.

Book details

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