Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick

October 25th, 2011
Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, Lemony Snicket (introduction), and Chris Van Allsburg.

Very very rarely, I will swoon over a book. Swoon-worthy books must not just be well-written, they have to be beautifully packed, or have exquisite illustration, mostly, all three. Four stories into The Chronicles of Harris Burdick I was already swooning. Mind you, this is the ARC, too, not the gorgeous hardcover that will be the best holiday gift when it hits shelves.

What strikes me as I read- one story at a time, with space between each to savor- is the inventiveness of the writers. Van Allsburg's illustrations are surrealistically magical drawings, but they are snap shots. The ability to see the past, future, and alternative presents hinted at in these illustrations is an amazing imaginative feat.

Strangely enough, they now have my mind turning to Lev Grossman's The Magicians. There is a kinship here, I think. Both loved, enjoyed, and familiar, yet strange, surreal delights. Not matter how many times one sees a Van Allsburg drawing or reads a Lev Grossman novel, they will be strange and mysterious, even if you feel, as I do, that you somehow know them, even during the first reading.

From a darkly humorous story by Jon Scieszka to the fearful hint of magical oddness in Stephen King's, The Chroicles of Harris Burdick will leave readers spellbound. Adults who remember writing their own Harris Burdick stories and readers ages 10 and up will enjoy the strange magic of the tales. In a collection featuring such incredible authors as this, it will be difficult to choose a favorite.

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