The boys and I have a favorite book. A book that challenges them and even myself to think outside of the box. To reach deep down into our imaginations in the hopes of creating something new and exciting.

It’s called

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg

If Chris Van Allsburg sounds familiar it’s because he has written such inventive stories as The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Probuditi, Jumanji, The Polar Express and Zathura. Out of that list Jumanji and The Polar Express both received Caldecott Medals. Needless to say the man’s talented.

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is an intriguing book of 14 inspired drawings.  In the introduction is where the book takes a perplexing turn. Supplying you with a few small facts about Harris Burdick’s identity and the story behind how his drawings were published. As you browse through the pages you’re teased with only a title and a short sentence for each picture…that’s all, really.

You’re encouraged to run with the prompts and create your own fanciful story. Some well-known writers have also been inspired by these clever mysteries. Such as M2’s favorite drawing The House on Maple Street, that Stephen King penned into a short story found in Nightmares and Dreamscapes



It was a perfect lift-off.

The concept of this book has given me an idea for the kazillion random photos that I seem to have accumulated. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out how best to share some of my favorites with you all.  So from time to time I’ll post a photo with a title and a sentence. Then you my creative, brilliant friends get to come up with anything that pops into your mind. Be it a  short story, paragraph, poem, haiku or even your own title. You name it, just be creative and surprise me. I only have one rule. Please keep it clean since the monkeys like to read the comments from time to time.

Seeing as how this is the first time we are giving this a try, you can choose between The House on Maple Street or my creation below.



He knew the possibilities.

Have fun. I can’t wait to see what y’all come up with!

Love ya,

Tickled Red

By the way Chris Van Allburg’s website has a fun interactive area for kids of various ages, as well as a place where they can submit their own stories drawn from the mysterious 14 pictures. My guys had a blast with it tonight and are on a mission to submit one of their own stories.