The "Solved" Mysteries of Harris Burdick
by Chris Van Allsburg
Chris Van Allsburg came across the pictures of Harris Burdick through a friend, Peter Wenders. Apparently, Burdick presented the pictures with their titles and captions to Wenders in hopes that Wenders would be interested in purchasing the stories that accompanied the illustrations. Wenders was intrigued by the pictures and asked Burdick to submit the corresponding stories the next day. However, Wenders never heard from Harris Burdick again, so the "true" stories behind the pictures were never revealed.
Students have been asked to consider one of the images, its title and its
caption and then to propose a possible story that tells what happened before and
after the corresponding image.
Source: Van Allsburg, Chris, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston: Massachusetts (1984)
Archie Smith, Boy Wonder
UNDER THE RUG
Two weeks passed and it happened again.
A STRANGE DAY IN JULY
He threw with all his might, but the
third stone came skipping back.
MISSING IN VENICE
Even with her mighty engines in reverse,
the ocean liner was pulled further and
further into the canal.
ANOTHER PLACE, ANOTHER TIME
If there was an answer, he'd find it there.
His heart was pounding.
He was sure he had seen the doorknob turn.
So it's true he thought, it's really true.
MR. LINDEN'S LIBRARY
He had warned her about the book.
Now it was too late.
THE SEVEN CHAIRS
The fifth one ended up in France.
THE THIRD-FLOOR BEDROOM
It all began when someone left
the window open.
She lowered the knife and
it grew even brighter.
OSCAR AND ALPHONSE
She knew it was time to send them back.
The caterpillars softly wiggled in her hand,
spelling out "goodbye".
THE HOUSE ON MAPLE STREET
It was a perfect lift-off.
He swung his lantern
three times and slowly the schooner appeared.