A strange book by Chris Van Allsburg
written through a frame
. The artist claims to have found the fourteen drawing
s through a retired publisher
. One day, a man claiming to be Harris Burdick
came in interested in publishing fourteen stories along with illustrations. He gave fourteen samples, one from each story, along with a title
The pictures are well done illustrations in soft black and white. Chris Allsburg certainly has an interesting style. But the important thing about this book is the stimulation it provides to the imagination. Each illustration looks like a panel out of a story, and when one flips through the book you start to come up with background, depth, characters and plot for each one.
As an example, the illustration on the cover is of a land with dark clouds in the sky and a calm sea stretching to the horizon. Land is visible in the far background, and a small castle rises on the right. A thin bank has been created through piled rocks, and a railroad track goes down the middle into the fog. A sail-driven cart hurtles down the tracks, carrying three boys and a girl dressed in various styles. The one with a sailor's cap guides the cart while the one in a beret stares at the castle in the distance. The title is Another Place, Another Time with a caption of "If there was an answer, he'd find it there."
Hundreds of plot lines immediately suggest themselves, simply from this one image, and the images range from science fiction to horror to fantasy. In the introduction the publisher claims to have many stories written by children and inspired by the drawings, and I know several schools who have used this book as a source for endless stories by young children. It is perhaps one of the best proofs of how Creativity is absolutely dependent on boundaries.