The text as a whole is very unique. It is a series of 14 highly evocative illustrations. Each illustration contains the seed for an exciting story and each illustration is paired with a title and caption. The captions are designed to provoke an imaginative response from the reader, and encourages them to consider many possible directions for the story.
The text begins with an introductory letter from the author about the origins of the Harris Burdick pictures. Van Allsburg explains that the illustrations were created by a man named Harris Burdick, who left the drawings and captions in the care of a children's book publisher, Peter Wenders. Burdick vanished and never returned to collect the images or to share the stories that were written for the images.
The images, ambiguous captions, and mysterious titles provided limitless observations and questions for our conversations. In addition, we discussed the types of emotions and ideas the author/illustrator was able to evoke through the illustration and text.
Looking for a way to engage your PA student in some additional creative writing at home? These mesmerizing illustrations can serve as excellent inspiration! ...Maybe they will be the first to complete the unfinished tales!
THE HOUSE ON
It was a perfect lift-off.
His heart was pounding.
He was sure he had seen the doorknob turn.
UNDER THE RUG
Two weeks had passed and
it happened again.