Mysteries are a classic genre of literature whose stories guide readers to uncover the circumstances behind puzzling situations, such as a missing person or object. Fourth graders tried their hand at this style of writing inspired by a series of illustrations that are part of a mystery of their own.
In “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick,” author Chris Van Allsburg presents the story of a man who delivered an intriguing set of illustrations to a children's book publisher over 60 years ago. Promising to return the next day with the accompanying stories, the illustrator disappeared - forever. The book invites readers to use their imaginations to record stories for the 14 black-and-white drawings.
Up to the task, Graland writers used details of the drawings to develop their own mysteries.
Bennett Buese’s tale titled “Under the Rug” begins with vivid detail, “A small, wretched farmhouse with shattered shingles, a decrepit door, and cracked casements stands out like a sore thumb in a neighborhood of nicely manicured lawns with no room for weeds. It is so unkept that one may have thought the owner dead. But the house is occupied. Down a dim, dark hallway, past a cluttered kitchen, up the creaky staircase, there is a room with the rug. That is the room where the man is hiding.”
Molly Lowe wrote “The Missing Girl” about two amateur sleuths and including dialogue such as, “‘I wonder where that cry came from,’ Julia said quietly. ‘I think it came from upstairs,’ Ruby replied."
Carson Schaub wrote a chapter book titled “The Mystery Story.” In it, the main characters, Aaron and Bill, investigate a missing gem: “Aaron went downstairs and looked around. It looked like a regular basement to him. There was an ice skate hung from the roof, a bunch of old paint cans on a shelf, and some random junk piled in the corner. He went outside and saw a footprint. He looked closer. The footprint had the Boots! Boots! Boots! logo on it. Then he looked to the left and saw a hat with the Banana Shipping Co. logo on it. Could Boots! Boots! Boots! or Banana Shipping be behind this or was the person that stole it just wearing the hat and boots? There was only one way to find out: Investigate!”
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.