Monday, January 10, 2011

A Variety of Van Allsburgs!

Recently in our reading text books, we read The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Chris Van Allsburg's first children's book. It is a clever and mysterious story about a dog named Fritz who runs into Mr. Gasazi's garden. Fritz is possibly turned into a duck by Mr. Gasazi, but the reader never really knows for sure. Mr. Van Allsburg leaves that up to the reader to decide.

Because Mr. Van Allsburg is such a talented writer and has written so many wonderful books, Mrs. Ranney read three more to us.

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The first one we listened to was called Two Bad Ants. Through their experiences in the jar of crystals, which turn out to be sugar, these ants learn that they are better off staying with their colony rather than venturing out on their own.

* * * * * * * *

The second book we enjoyed was Bad Day at River Bend. The story seems to take place in an old western town. Everything and everyone in town is being covered by a colorful greasy slime. However, at the end it is revealed that all the characters are in a young boy's coloring book!

* * * * * * * *

Finally, Mrs. Ranney read The Widow's Broom to us. It was an eerie tale in which a witch's broom comes to be owned by a widow. The neighbors are very upset about this enchanted broom who does all the widow's chores and want to do away with it. However, the widow comes up with an extremely clever plan to trick the neighbors and keep her broom!

* * * * * * * *

Which of these stories did you like best and why?

What other books by Chris Van Allsburg have you enjoyed?

Please leave a comment and give us your opinions.


  1. Dear mrs. Ranney,
    My favorite book by Chris Van Allsburg is Zathura, although I havent read the book I watched the
    movie. My FAVORITE part is when the robot attacks them! :) I did read Probuditi!, though. It was funny when his sister tricked the brother.

    From Keiran in Mrs. Webb-Scheers Class

  2. I liked the story "A Bad Day At Riverbed" best because the pages had alot of cool artwork to look at. I also think it's cool that he puts Fritz in all his stories.

    Another story by Chris Van Allsburg I enjoy is "The Widows Broom".


  3. Dear Mrs.Ranney and class,

    My favorite book was Bad Day at River Bend, because I thought the scribble scrabble was funny.

    I also enjoyed Two Bad Ants. The two ants stayed in a house and ate sugar and the story was interesting.

    @ Class - How many of you have read The Polar Express?

    All the best,

  4. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    All of the Chris Van Allsburg book’s that you have read were fun. It was hard to choose but I will have to say that the one I like the most was The Widow’s Broom because it is like a mystery.
    I like fiction books also they are fascinating.

    The book I really enjoyed reading by Chris Van Allsburg is The Polar Express.

    I have a question for you Mrs. Ranney.
    What book do you enjoy the most by Chris Van Allsburg?

    Your Student,

  5. Dear Mrs.Ranney,
    One of my favorite books by Chris Van Allsburg is Bad Day At Riverbend. I like that book because I actually got surprised at the end when I saw that the book was pictures of the coloring book that the child colored!

    Another one of my favorite books by Chris Van Allsburg is The Polar Express. I like that book because I like how the boy goes to the North Pole on the Polar Express and sees Santa Claus.

    What are your opinions about these two books?

    All The Best,

  6. Dear Mrs.Ranney,

    I liked The Widow's Broom. What I liked about it was that the widow tricked the people to leave the broom alone. I read The Sweetest Fig. I read it in Mrs.Clebenoff's class.I liked it because it teaches the man, You have to work to get money. I have 2 questions for you...

    Do you have a Chris Van Allsburg favorite? If you do what is it?


  7. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    My favorite Chris Van Allsburg book The Widow's Broom. I like The Widow's Broom because it's a mystery and I usually enjoy mysteries. I think that the widow is extremely clever to paint the broom white ad scare the neighbors.

    I also like A Bad Day at Riverbend. I enjoy it because the story ended differently than I thought it would.

    Another Chris Van Allsburg book I have enjoyed was The Polar Express. I have also seen the movie for The Polar Express.

    Has anybody else seen The Polar Express movie?

    Jamie :)

  8. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    My favorite Chris Van Allsburg book is The Widow's Broom. I liked The Widow's Broom because the widow was very clever. Another reason that I like the book is because it is fantasy, and fantasy is one of my favorite genres.

    I think that it is a great idea to have Fritz hidden in all of his phenomenally written books. I think that it was really hard to find Fritz in the book A Bad Day At River Bend. I wonder if it is really hard to find Fritz in some of Chris Van Allsburg's other books.

    I have some questions:

    Has anybody read all of Chris Van Allsburg's legendary books?

    Is anybody else's favorite book by Chris Van Allsburg The Widow's Broom?

    I really enjoyed Chris Van Allsburg's first book that we read in class.

    I think that Chris Van Allsburg is a great author. I think that The Widow's Broom really stood out from all of his other books.

    Happy New Year!

    Warm Regards,

  9. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    All the stories were spectacular but my favorite is The Widow's Broom because it is mysterious yet hilarious. My favorite part is when the widow teaches the broom to do different things.

    I'm not sure, but I think I have read The Polar Express.

    I also enjoyed Bad Day At Riverbend.

    Do you have a favorite Chris Van Allsburg book?

    Your Student,

  10. Dear Mrs.Ranney,

    My favorite Chris Van Allsburg book is Bad Day At River Bend . I like it because a boy is coloring in a coloring book and the people think it is slime. At the end the people say "the light is gone".

    All the best,

  11. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    My favorite book that you have read to us is The Two Bad Ants. I love his book The Polar Express that you have not read to us, but I have read the book and seen the movie. I love both books because The Two Bad Antsis funny and and
    The Polar Express
    is a very interesting story that I would spend all day reading it. He is an amazing writer.

    Your Student,

  12. Dear Mrs.Ranney,
    My favorite book by Chris Van Allsburg is Two Bad Ants because I like that the ants think that the sugar is a crystal.The best part was when the man almost drank them in his coffee!


  13. Dear Mrs.Ranney,
    My favorite story is Two Bad Ants. My favorite part was that the queen wanted more food, and then the ants found more food. After when they found more food the two bad ants stayed there.

    My second favorite book is,
    Bad Day At Riverbend.
    My favorite part of the book is the the end because the little boy was drawing on the people in the story. The people in the story did not know what happened to the people and the horses,because all of the people and the horses were with red strings. The people tried to pull the strings off but they couldn't. The end was so funny when we saw The little boy was drawing on the people and all of the horses with red strings.


  14. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    My favorite book by Chris Van Allsburg isTwo Bad Ants.My favorite part is when the two ants got in the sugar cup.


  15. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    I like the story ,The Two Bad Ants, because I learned that sugar is little crystals, and that is amazing!

    I thought that the two bad ants
    could not survive the electricity plug.

    I also like Bad Day At Riverbend because I thought that it was funny when a boy was coloring the people.


  16. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    Out of all the books you read to us my favorite is Widow's Broom. I like it because the book is very clever.

    Also, one of my favorites is Polar Express.

    Warmest Regards,

  17. Dear Mrs Ranney,
    I like the story. My favorite stories was Two Bad Ants and the Polar Express.
    I wish those two ants never went in the plug. They got shot out of the of the plug.I thought they would not survive the shock out of the plug



  18. Dear Mrs.Ranney,
    My favorite book by Chris Van Allsburg is Two Bad Ants.My favorite part is when the two ants get shot out of the plug.

    Another one of my favorite books is Bad Day at Riverbed.My favorite part is when we found out the little boy was coloring the town.


  19. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    I thought all the books were great, but if I had to pick the best book it was The Widow's Broom.I thought it was funny that when the widow put the broom in the closet, the broom would just knock and then the widow took the broom out of the closet!

    My second favorite book is The Two Bad Ants. Since the ants are so little everything for us in real life was small but for them it was big.

    Like everyone, I like the The Polar Express. I love the illustrations!

  20. Dear Mrs.Ranney,
    I love The Widow's Broom because I have heard this story before and it a wonderful story to hear. It makes me feel amazing inside.

    I also like Bad Day at River Bend because Chris Van Allsburg used his son's coloring skills to make this book.

    Best Wishes,

  21. Dear Mrs Ranney,
    I liked the book Bad Day At Riverbend because when you read it you just want to read more.
    I also liked Two Bad Ants because it was funny and exciting to read. I liked it because I thought the crystal was salt, but it was sugar.


  22. Dear Class,

    I thought that reading this post would be difficult for me because I didn't recognize Chris Van Allsburg as an author or any of the titles you read. However, because you are all becoming such fantastic writers and are using such phenomenal descriptive words, I have learned a little bit about each book. I am excited to read all of the stories that you've discussed. Does anyone know if I can check them out of the school library?

    Thanks for the inspiration,

    Ellen (Jamie's mom)


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