Book Review: “The Chronicles of Harris Burdick”

“The Chronicles of Harris Burdick” by Chris Van Allsburg and others

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Short Stories, Fantasy

GoodreadsSource: Library

Summary from Goodreads:

An inspired collection of short stories by an all-star cast of best-selling storytellers based on the thought-provoking illustrations in Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

For more than twenty-five years, the illustrations in the extraordinary Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg have intrigued and entertained readers of all ages. Thousands of children have been inspired to weave their own stories to go with these enigmatic pictures. Now we’ve asked some of our very best storytellers to spin the tales. Enter The Chronicles of Harris Burdick to gather this incredible compendium of stories: mysterious, funny, creepy, poignant, these are tales you won’t soon forget.


I’ve always enjoyed Van Allsburg’s picture books. They have some amazing artwork. The stories are a bit quirky but enjoyable. I knew I needed to read this book as soon as I heard about it. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick has some really interesting art, title, and captions. It would be pretty awesome to read the stories that big time authors write to go along with those pictures.

Like all short story collections, there are some good and not so good stories. Sherman Alexie’s “A Strange Day In July” was delightfully creepy in that way children can be creepy. Linda Sue Park’s “The Harp” was really good. It was just a touch of magic with a heartfelt story. I would have loved to hear more of that story. M. T. Anderson’s “Just Desert” was an unexpected touch of science fiction that was great. It was another story I would have loved to see stretched out. Chris Van Allsburg’s “Oscar and Alphonse” worked really well as a short story. Those were probably my favorite of the collection.

Thankfully there weren’t any really bad stories in this collection. The other stories were enjoyable but they didn’t rock my world.

The bottom line? An enjoyable collection of stories. Definitely worth picking up if you want some fantastical short stories.


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