The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsberg

Summary: This book is a collection of illustrations that resemble old photographs of surreal events and images. Each illustration has an accompanying title and quote that entice the reader to image a plot for the picture. The premise of the book is that a man named Harris Burdick dropped off a sample of his work to a publisher to consider publishing. The sample only includes illustrations with these enticing titles and quotes. The publisher discloses that the artist never returned again. The publisher finds this so compelling, he ends up making a book out of this mystery.

Classroom Implications: The book is set up with a long author's note to the reader, thereby creating a very "real" feeling for this fictitious book. I've used this book over and over when teaching short stories and have ALWAYS led on that the story is "real" with my middle schoolers. They instantly become intrigued with the mystery and look forward to writing stories that accompany the illustration and the quotes. This text is a fantastic wordless fantasy book that serves as inspiration for writing projects in the classroom!


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