Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Stranger

Those of you in northern climes are going to laugh at this but I thought it was very exciting.

Yesterday when we departed the homestead for our appointed rounds, there was a light sheen of frost on all the roof tops and the grass sparkled as tiny ice crystals caught and reflected the morning sunlight. The temperature had brushed down to the low thirties the night before and the air had that fresh cold sense that winter was actually a possibility here on the Gulf coast.

I had just noticed on Sunday that some trees were finally displaying orange, red and deep purple leaves. I immediately thought of Chris VanAllsburg's The Stranger. What a morning to read that book with kids!

Poor Farmer Bailey is horrified when he realizes that his truck has hit something. A dazed man lies in the road so Farmer Bailey takes him home to be cared for. The doctor cannot discover anything wrong with him (he cannot even get a temperature reading because his thermometer seems to be stuck at the bottom) but the poor man has lost his memory. He is a gentle spirit though and settles in to life on the farm. Fall has arrived in the surrounding countryside but summer seems without end on the Bailey farm. Despite his contentment with the Baileys, wisps of memory are tugging at the stranger's mind. This is a delightful mystery that will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg, Houghton Mifflin, 1986


fusenumber8 said...

I always feel that The Stranger doesn't get enough play. Jumanji gets all the attention, but The Stranger is, to my mind, Van Allsburg at his colorized best. It's always great when we put out the fall books and I see it get snapped up immediately.

Camille said...

I love that the book is so low key. The mystery is so subtle even though there are so many clues in the illustrations.

I agree with you about it being one of his colorful best. It has the perfect mix of interesting characters and nature.

Brad said...

Who is the stranger? What clues do we have? This books asks the reader (young or old) to really put on their thinking caps and puzzle it through.

Just a delightful book to stimulate higher order thinking and to really get the immagination pumping.