Happy Birthday Chris Van Allsburg!

Happy Birthday to Chris Van Allsburg who was born on this day in 1949. Chris is an American author and illustrator of children’s books including Jumanji and The Polar Express, both of which won him the Caldecott Medal, and Zathura.

“His books often depict fantastic, uncontrolled events and utilize sometimes brutal irony. Van Allsburg breaks out of the comfortable world of children literature to explore the darker side of human nature. For example, his book The Sweetest Fig is about a selfish man who is suddenly given the opportunity to make his wildest dreams come true. His greed is eventually his downfall. This is not an unusual moral for a story in children books, but Van Allsburg’s chilling characterization of the man brings a frightening tone to the narrative.

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, a collection of images on one side, and one sentence on the other (meant to be ‘recovered pages’ of longer books) continues the themes of darker undertones and was the inspiration for the short story “The House on Maple Street” by author Stephen King, in his collection: Nightmares & Dreamscapes.

The Wretched Stone, in which a ship’s crew is mesmerized and corrupted by the titular rock, is an allegorical tale about the negative impact of television” Source: Wikipedia.


Published by Jill London

Hi, I’m Jill, a writer and teacher living in the UK, usually behind a desk but sometimes on a sofa with a book or a film. I began writing at around age three, legibly by five, although I didn’t write any stories until I was older. Aged eleven, I began writing children’s fiction, mostly middle-grade fantasy and I’m still doing it to this day. I have had stories published online and in My Weekly magazine. The best bit about writing is when ideas pop into your head (from the writing fairy presumably?) and everything starts clipping together like a jigsaw puzzle. The worst bit? When you start to get the feeling there's a piece missing from the box...

11 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Chris Van Allsburg!

  1. Absolutely fell in love with VanAllberg as a student teacher years ago. When his stories were made into movies~Heaven! Enjoy your blog and so appreciate the follow of With Heart Wide Open. Blessings, Shandra


    1. No, it’s a new one on me but it looks gorgeous, and good fun too! Hope you’re keeping well Adrienne in your little patch of heaven, it always looks like a lot of fun there in the land of milk and honey (and goats). Busy here, as you can tell by my late reply, gotta keep on trying as Freddie says. Love, from a cloudy corner of GB xx


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