|"The House on Maple Street"|
I wish the images were available online in better quality scans. These just don't do them justice; they really are breathtaking.
|My favorite one. "Under the Rug"|
Before writing this blog entry today, I looked up some articles on the book and the illustrations and I found this one: from Oregon Live that pointed out the obvious... the illustrations are in Chris Van Allsburg's definitive style, and he almost admits to being the artist behind them. In Lemony Snicket-Daniel Handler style, he avoids coming right out and saying it, but... duh.
So... I feel a little foolish.
In the book's introduction, by the aforementioned Lemony Snicket, the story of the mysterious disappearing illustrator is recounted, with never a clue (to me) that it's phony. That should have been my first clue.
I'll never trust again.
As for the book itself, the illustrations are intriguing, and beautiful and mysterious and enchanting. Van Allsburg's use of contrasting light and dark is stunning.
|A Strange Day in July|
"Chronicles" is also, as originally intended in "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" (released in the '90s), a fantastic collection of writing prompts. It's very tempting to buy "Mysteries" so I will have the illustrations without the other pesky authors getting in the way, and I can write my own stories to go with the pictures. Something to do when you get writer's block, at least, right?
This is definitely worth picking up, and don't be turned off that the first story in the book is the weakest. Keep going. There are some gems in here.