The Mysteries of Harris Burdick Book Poster Image

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

(i)

 

Kids will be eager to complete unfinished tales.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence

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.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

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?

QUALITY

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. 

Families can talk 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

Author:Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrator:Chris Van Allsburg
Genre:Mystery
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Children's Books
Publication date:January 1, 1984
Number of pages:29
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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 the pictures and he agreed he will p ublish them but the next morning he never came so the publisher wanted to fiind out more sbout him but he was just a mystery

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?