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Featured books by Chris Van Allsburg

Reading Rockets recommends the following books by Chris Van Allsburg.

Ben's Dream

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ben's geography lesson comes to life when he falls asleep and dreams of traveling to famous monuments worldwide. Realistic black and white line drawings combine fantasy and authenticity in this extraordinary adventure.

El Expreso Polar

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Un paseo mágico en tren durante la Nochebuena lleva a un niño al Polo Norte para recibir un regalo especial de Papá Noel. Ganador de la medalla Caldecott.

Garden of Abdul Gasazi

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Alan chases the dog he is caring for into a mysterious garden in this intricately illustrated, perhaps magical tale. Van Allsburg's rich language is matched by monochromatic illustrations through which readers or listeners could take a picture walk.

Jumanji

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

While their parents are out, Judy and Peter play a board game called Jumanji. The remarkable game creates a threatening, animal-filled jungle in their suburban house until at last the game is complete. Highly realistic illustrations juxtapose the familiar with the unexpected in this book that won the Caldecott Medal.

The Garden of Abdul Gasazi

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Miss Hester’s disagreeable dog, Fritz, escapes young Alan’s care and runs into the forbidden garden of Abdul Gasazi. When the boy unsuccessfully tries to find the dog in the mysterious garden, he meets the stern magician himself. Stunning black and white illustrations magnify the magic of Van Allsburg’s first book.

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrated by: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This book of mysterious and haunting pictures are paired with equally mysterious captions. They are supposedly from the collection of one Harris Burdick. What could they mean? Ordinary scenes become startling and astounding in these black and white illustrations.

The Polar Express

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrated by: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A magical train ride on Christmas Eve takes a boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa Claus. This holiday classic earned a Caldecott Medal.

The Stranger

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrated by: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Who is the stranger that Farmer Bailey accidentally bumped in his pickup truck? The young man recovers but can't remember who he is until one day it becomes clear that autumn has arrived everywhere except the Bailey farm. Richly colored, highly realistic illustrations convey the story's mystery and beauty.

The Widow's Broom

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The story gets under way when the lonely widow Minna Shaw finds a wounded, sky-fallen witch in her vegetable garden. The witch disappears before dawn, but leaves her old, presumably defunct broom behind. Minna begins to use it around the house and finds that "it was no better or worse than brooms she'd used before." However, one morning, Minna sees the broom sweeping by itself! Opportunistically, she trains it to chop wood and fetch water.

The Wreck of the Zephyr

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A sailboat far from the water is intriguing; how could it have gotten there? In haunting text and luminous full color illustrations, a story of uncontrolled ambition unfolds as a story within a story.

The Z Was Zapped: A Play in Twenty Six Acts

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The letters of the alphabet become the players on a stage in this action-packed thriller. A was in an avalanche and B was badly bitten. Of course, at the end, Z was zapped! This large picture book presents the unusual stage production in highly realistic, black and white illustrations.

Two Bad Ants 

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Separated from the colony, readers join two adventurous ants and see the world from a very different perspective.

Zathura

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

On the last page of the Caldecott-winning book Jumanji, young Danny Budwing is seen running after his brother, Walter, with a game tucked under his arm. Twenty years later, Chris Van Allsburg is ready to reveal what happens when Danny and Walter roll the dice. This time the name of the game is Zathura and the battling Budwing boys are in for the ride of their lives.

Books illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrated by: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This book of mysterious and haunting pictures are paired with equally mysterious captions. They are supposedly from the collection of one Harris Burdick. What could they mean? Ordinary scenes become startling and astounding in these black and white illustrations.

The Polar Express

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrated by: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A magical train ride on Christmas Eve takes a boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa Claus. This holiday classic earned a Caldecott Medal.

The Stranger

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrated by: Chris Van Allsburg
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Who is the stranger that Farmer Bailey accidentally bumped in his pickup truck? The young man recovers but can't remember who he is until one day it becomes clear that autumn has arrived everywhere except the Bailey farm. Richly colored, highly realistic illustrations convey the story's mystery and beauty.

Interested in wonderful interviews with tween and teen authors? Hop on over to our sister site, AdLit.org, and browse the library.

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"I'm wondering what to read next." — Matilda, Roald Dahl