My slant on the world…

Can You Solve the Mystery of Harris Burdick?

Harris Burdick

Author Chris VanAllsburg, famous for The Polar Express and Jumanji, wrote another book called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. He said that he was speaking with his publisher to tells about a mysterious children’s book author/illustrator named Harris Burdick. Years ago, Burdick brought a sampling of his work to the publisher in hopes of getting published. Unfortunately, he was never seen again; leaving behind a variety of strange imagination-provoking drawings.

My students once again wowed me with their creativity. Below are a few stories and links to other creations inspired by the illustrations. I invite you read the stories and add your own story/creations in the comments section.

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Under the Rug By Katie R.

“The night was black, the moon being the only light in Perri.” Grandpa, or as I call him, Papi, stopped for a moment to clear his throat. I loved coming to visit him on rainy days, like today and since it rains a lot here in Maine, I see him quite often. Every time, he’d get my name wrong and then tell me a story. ” Well, Jason,” ” It’s Joey.” I said through gritted teeth. “That’s what I said. Now, two weeks ago I was at home, alone as always and then it appeared under the night stand rug. I hit it with my slipper and it limply crawled out the window.” Once again, Papi sub-sided and picked at the warts on his head. Although I had heard this tale a thousand times, I was eager for my eighty-five year old grandfather to get on with the story. “It took me an hour to figuer out what I had just seen, Billy. It was an enormous monster with razor sharp claws and frizzy fur.” Obviously, Grandpa had never been in the woods and didn’t know a raccoon when he saw one, but I put that aside, chuckled, and attended to the story. “Just yesterday it came back, Matthew!” I just sat, silent as a stone, giving patience to my forgetful grandfather. ” This time I picked up a dining room chair and whapped the thing out of my home and shut the door. Afterwards, I had my heart attack and now I’m here with Lorelei, the whack job, across the hall yelling,” Arthur, where are my pills?” I smiled and gave Papi a pat on the back. We sat for a while untill his nurse, Bertha, came to change his clothes. After she left I said, “Grandpa, do you know what the monster was?” He just stupidly stared at me like I was the birthday clown and said in a raspy voice, “I can’t say I know of the creature but Joey, that thing was as big as Gozilla, himself!” The next day, Papi was allowed to leave the nursing home and vivst his own manly palace. It was close to five o’clock when Grandpa and I heard something coming from the living room. We noiselessly tiptoed into the entertainment area and saw something round and bulky under the rug. Armed with shotguns, we lifted the turquiose colored fabric and there ws the head of Grandma Muriel, Papi’s deceaced wife. Then, a blood-curdling scream raced through the darkness swallowing up all the hope left in the world, doom awaiting anyone in its way. – The End(or so we think)

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Just Dessert

By Nick W.

May 2008

Meaning of just deserts: the punishment a person deserves

Anna was up by 6 o’clock because she knew it would be a busy day at the old North Platte bakery. First she took a long steaming hot shower, then put on her warm comfortable clothes since the fall weather was a bit chilly. After that, she went into the kitchen and ate a nice hot breakfast. She was now ready to go to the pumpkin farm to buy lots of perfect pumpkins. This was a normal task when it was near Thanksgiving because she usually has a lot of people come in to her famous bakery to buy pumpkin pie. Anna would always look for the plumpest pumpkins. She also liked the ones that were vibrant orange because that usually means they will have a more savory flavor. Once Anna had her pumpkins picked out she lugged them to the front to pay. On the desk she saw a sign that said, “No refunds! These pumpkins are not returnable.” After she saw that sign she was a little hesitant to pay but thought it was probably just a policy for the business. Plus she couldn’t imagine why she would want to return such beautiful pumpkins.

On the way to the bakery Anna realized that one of the pumpkins starting to glow! At first she didn’t think much of it she just thought it was just a glare from the window. However, when she got to the bakery and walked into the building the lights were off yet it was glowing brightly because of this unusual pumpkin! Anna’s heart started to pound like a raging thunderstorm! It was as if her heart was going to jump out of her stomach. She wondered what she should do! Her first thought was to take it back to the pumpkin farm but then she remembered the sign on the checkout desk. After much thought she decided she would just cut it open and see what was inside. As she lowered the knife to cut the pumpkin, it grew brighter and brighter. After hesitating for awhile she decided she couldn’t cut it open and instead she was going to sell it. At first no one would buy the pumpkin because it was glowing. Finally she got tired of people not buying it so she started to tell them it was just a light in the pumpkin. Amazingly, that seemed to work because the first person she told about the light inside, bought it.

The family’s last name that purchased the pumpkin was Jackson and they were a family of four. There was a dad named Arnold and a mom named Allison. The teenage boy was Greg and the young girl was named Gina. They were out shopping for Thanksgiving dinner because they had relatives coming to celebrate on Thanksgiving. The Jacksons were so happy to have found a perfect pumpkin because their daughter had become frightened of them. In the past Gina had hated going to pumpkin farms because she was afraid they would come alive and kill her. She also had the fear that if she ate one she would turn into a pumpkin herself. Greg would always laugh at her when said this because he did not think it was possible for that to happen.

When the Jacksons got home they started to cut the pumpkin right away because they were so excited. Once they cut into it and got to the middle they found there was no light in the pumpkin. The only thing is it looked just like a normal pumpkin, except for the fact that it was glowing like crazy. They knew the baker would not take the unusual pumpkin back so they just made it into a pumpkin pie. The weird thing is that after it was made into pumpkin pie it stopped glowing and it looked delicious. It looked so delicious that Greg could not resist. Greg was a little bit chubby so it made sense that he could not resist. He grabbed a spoon out of the draw, walked over to the pie and examined it for a second. Once he found the perfect spot he took a bite, it was like a slice of Heaven. At first nothing happened but after five minutes he started to get more plump and orange splotches all over his body. After another twenty minutes his teeth began to sharpen, and he began to loose his mind. All of these things continued to worsen about every five minutes.

While this was happening the rest of the family was at the grocery store buying a turkey. Greg alone and terrified did not know what to do so he slowly wobbled up the stairs petrified by what was happening to him. He was shivering so much he struggled to lay down and cover himself with his quilt. Within seconds Greg was fast asleep not knowing what was happening to his body. When his parents got home they went up to Greg’s room. They saw a bump in his bed so they figured he was sleeping.

When Greg awoke his teeth were sharper than the Rocky Mountains and he was as orange as a tangerine. Being sarcastic, he resembled a giant inflated fun jump. It was about one o’clock in the morning when Greg’s deformed body took off down the stairs and out the front door.

On Thanksgiving morning the baker, the cashier at the farm, the Jackson family, and the teenage boy named Greg were all missing. The baker, the cashier at the farm, and Greg, had finally gotten their just deserts. When the police arrived at the house the pie was gone. Rumor has it that the boy took it but that is not proven with evidence and the mystery remains unsolved.

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Drew C.’s movie

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Under the Rug

by Jarrett S.


There once was a happy family of a mother, father, and there straight A’s student Oscar. It was summer break and Oscar wanted to go to Hawaii with his parents. His mom said “that he couldn’t go because he would be unsupervised half the time.” Oscar’s Dad said that he would be in Ireland with his Grandpa.

That’s where he is now, on a plane to Ireland. Oscar walked into the airport when his Grandpa bolted up to him. On the way home his Grandpa stopped at the town’s library. Oscar got to pick out his own book. He chose a book called “The book of Mysterious Creatures.” Oscar could hardly wait to read the book the next day.

Oscar was having a great time reading when all of the sudden he heard a crash. He and his Grandpa ran down the stairs. But when they reached the bottom they stepped on the rug and it moved. Grandpa grabbed a chair and through it down on the rug. Two weeks later it happened again. This time Oscar new that the creature came from the book. He ran to his room and got the book. The moment he started reading every thing was still. Oscar and his Grandpa waited two more weeks but nothing happened. Two weeks passed and it happened again. This time Oscar new what to do, he read the creature back into the book. But that was not the end of there problems.

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Strange Day in July by Austin Z.

“Here we are!” shouted Joan, Tony’s mom. “Lake Superior!” Tony and his friend Tammy had a race down to the beach, which was beside the crystal clear, high tide, Lake Superior. There was a breeze strong enough to create waves a few inches high, around noon.

Of course it was a great day to skip rocks because of the tide. Which is exactly what Tony and Tammy both thought. So with the sun blazing down on them they grabbed some rocks, out of the crisp cool water. That had been worn down to a nice, thin, smooth feeling, from the waves. Then they started to skip the smooth rocks across the water.

After Tony threw the third one as hard as he could. Then something extraordinary happened. All of a sudden it happened again!

The kids where in complete shock when it happened for a third time. “Come on kids get in the Ford Mini-van. Time to leave.” Joan said. “It’s a long drive back to Burlington, Wisconsin.”

Do you want to know why the kids were in shock? The rocks that they threw came back to them. The reason why is because there was a male college scuba diver, in the water. Right were the rocks were landing. Well, of course he was fed up with the rocks hitting him. I mean who wouldn’t. So he threw the rocks back, right when Tony and Tammy were picking up the rocks. That’s why the rocks were coming back. Also why the kids were in shock and why they came back a year later.

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33 responses

  1. Jaeli F. Period 8

    HEYY WHATS UPPP!!!!! i luv this website

    December 9, 2008 at 8:59 pm

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