ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Collaborative Stories At Its Finest

Updated on June 23, 2013

"The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" is one of children's book illustrator Chris Van Allsburg's most mysterious picture books. Supposedly a collection of images, titles, and single lines from stories by the mysterious Harris Burdick, they are designed to cause the reader to try to speculate as to what the full story would be.

This book, "The Chronicles of Harris Burdick," gathers together the efforts of several highly acclaimed writers, including Louis Sachar, Sherman Alexie, Stephen and Tabitha King, and Van Allsburg himself, to tell these stories themselves. While by necessity it does undermine the purpose of the original picture book, I really enjoyed these stories, and it was great to see what these diverse talents would do with these strange pictures, titles, and lines.

As always with a short story collection, it is a mixed bag, although as I said before I generally liked everything. Stephen King's "The House on Maple Street" (originally written separately from this volume) was pretty good, taking the image of a house blasting off into space and turning it into an intriguing tale of children uniting against their cruel stepfather. "Missing in Venice" by Gregory Maguire was a neat little modern-day fairy tale, whilst "Just Desert" by M.T. Anderson is a paranoia-inducing little tale about a kid discovering that his world is not at all like he thought it was. I found Lois Lowry's "The Seven Chairs" to be a fun and interesting little tidpbit, although it wasn't really a complete story, with the same thing going for Louis Sachar's "Captain Tory" and Van Allsburg's own "Oscar and Alphonse". I liked the form of Kate DiCamillo's "The Third Floor Bedroom" (as a series of letters), although the actual story was somewhat slight. I liked elements of Linda Sue Park's "The Harp," although on the whole I found it somewhat disjointed.I didn't feel Sherman Alexie's "A Strange Day in July" or Jules Feiffer's "Uninvited Guests" really embraced the spirit of their pictures, but both (especially Alexie's story) were interesting and well written. Walter Dean Myers' "Mr. Linden's Library" was extremely well-written, although crueler to its protagonist than I would have liked.

All in all, the stories were well-written and I enjoyed them, even if many weren't the stories I would have written with those images. But I suppose that was the point, and I do hope that this collection won't stop others from creating their own stories to go with the mysterious Mr. Burdick's drawings. Definitely check this book out if you want a nice sampler plate of acclaimed authors' stories.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)