The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg was one of my favorite picture books when I began my teaching career. I immediately purchased a copy to use as a launch for both discussions and creative writing projects.
I was not alone in my interest. My students also found the drawings and accompanying statement fascinating. They were eager to use the illustrations and prompts as story starters.
Each of my students choose one of the illustrations as the basis of a story. I photocopied the pictures they selected so they could easily refer to it while writing. My students came up with some wonderfully creative stories! I honestly wish I had kept copies of a few of them.
I was so glad to see The Mysteries of Harris Burdick back in print and getting lots of activity in bookstores.
This is a wonderful book for older elementary students. It would also be fun for younger children to simply discuss the illustrations and make up stories without writing them down. Or, if younger children are very engaged with the experience, someone else could write the story as the child dictates.
However you choose to use this picture book, I know you will have fun doing this kind of creative writing. Enjoy!