Note--I wrote this a over a week ago, and forgot to post...
This weekend I went with my friend and colleague Laura from LibLaura 5 Loves Books to the Fitgerald theater to see the MPR authors Harris Burdick Event. Authors Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Allsburg discussed The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.
It is always fun and interesting to hear authors and illustrators discuss their work. Van Allsburg discussed the story "Oscar and Alphonse"that he wrote for The Chronicles, and I like it even more now that I see it at an deeper level. Van Allsburg never let up the hoax that he himself is not the actual illustrator of the book. Throughout the the entire presentation he talks of Harris Burdick as if he were a real person (which was a bit confusing to the youngest members of the audience). He mentioned Burdick's perception that he was not a good enough artist to publish--and then he discussed how the girl in the story does not believe in herself and her ability to do physics, and needs the caterpillars to share her ideas. I got the feeling--that Chris Van Allsburg is very much the same as the little girl in the story.
Before the Burdick event, Laura and I swung by the Minnesota Children's Museum. I had been there with my kids last weekend and their Story Land traveling display is amazing. Since we were next door, and we had memberships to the museum, Laura and I swung through so she could see the displays too. It felt a little funny to be there without kids....but even as an adult, I can't resist that coconut tree that has actual letters that climb it. The interactive display lets children and parents read books (In English and Spanish), and then interact with scenes from the book. It also gives adults tips on improving literacy skills at home. It is fabulous. If you are in the St. Paul are it is a must see.