I love reading The Stranger and The Sweetest Fig by Van Allsburg. with children, but I have never used The Mysteries of Harris Burdick before. Some Van Allsburg books take some time to "get". I didn't like The Stranger the first time I read it, but now it is one of my favorite books. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is just a group of unconnected pencil drawings, each with a title and an introductory sentence.Here is an example:
It all started when someone left the window open....
The reader is left to wonder what happens next. Its a great book to use with young writers who have great imaginations. Questions instantly come to mind: Who left the window open? Why? Is that bird on the wallpaper coming to life?
The Chronicles of Harris Burdick was recently published. It is like an answer key for those pencil drawings. A short story was written for each of the drawings by famous authors like Louis Sachar and Stephen King. I couldn't wait to read it and share it with some of my young writers with great imaginations. Here is a website to explore more if you are interested: