Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Who doesn't love a good mystery?

My English friends, do you know Mr. Harris Burdick?

If the answer is "No," as it was for me my first year of teaching, you are in for a fabulous treat.

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is a collection of black-and-white drawings with a fantastic story. According to Chris Van Allsburg (who you might know as the author of Jumanjii or Polar Express) and his introduction to the portfolio of work, a man calling himself Harris Burdick arrived in the office of Peter Wenders, a children's book publisher, in 1954. He brought with him a collection of fourteen drawings he had done for fourteen different tales, one picture for each story. Each picture was accompanied by a title and caption; Peter Wenders, like anyone who sees these drawings, was captivated and agreed that he would love to see the fourteen stories (and other drawings) that accompanied his art. Burdick left the original fourteen with Wenders...and was never seen again.


They have since all been published as the collection known as The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, and I think you'll agree that the pictures evoke a strong sense of curiosity. Burdick (if he in fact existed in any form) chose these pictures wisely in trying to sell his tales. They are perfect for yarn-spinning.

I encourage you to Google this Harris Burdick and see what you can find of the images online, then return here and let's talk about the possibilities.

p.s. if your answer to my question was "yes," please pass along my admiration to Mr. Burdick. I'd ask to hear his original stories, but then again...I think it's best left undone, eh?

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