The Chronicles of Harris Burdick

When illustrator and writer Chris Van Allsburg published The Mysteries of Harris Burdick in 1984, he stated in his introduction that he came upon the book’s 14 illustrations through a children’s book editor named Peter Wenders. Since then, Van Allsburg hasn’t deviated from his tale, and Harris Burdick’s identity has only grown MORE mysterious. The illustrations and their tantalizing captions (like “It all began when someone left the window open.”) have provided fodder for burgeoning storytellers of all ages. Horror master Stephen King fell under Burdick’s spell a few years back and wrote the short story “The House on Maple Street” to go with the illustration that reads, “It was a perfect lift-off.” King’s story, along with 13 other tales by Tabitha King, Jon Scieszka, Sherman Alexie, Gregory Maguire, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Linda Sue Park, Walter Dean Myers, Lois Lowry, Kate DiCamillo, M.T. Anderson, Louis Sachar, and finally Chris Van Allsburg are found in The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.

TITLE: Oscar and Alphonse CAPTION: “She knew it was time to send them back. The caterpillars softly wiggled in her hand, spelling out ‘goodbye’”.

TITLE: The Seven Chairs CAPTION: “The fifth one ended up in France.”

Click here to submit your own story to The New Yorker’s Harris Burdick competition. You could win various goodies including an e-reader.

And go to Chris Van Allsburg’s website to read more about his work.

Click here to learn more about the enigmatic Harris Burdick.