The children’s artist and author was born in Michigan on this day in 1949. His family operated a creamery in Grand Rapids.
Van Allsburg’s biography has a swell story about how he lied to an admissions counselor about Norman Rockwell in order to get into art school at the University of Michigan.
2009 is also the 25th anniversary of Van Allsburg’s wonderful 1984 story book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick — his real masterwork, if you ask me.
His 1985 book The Polar Express is better known. It was lovely and sentimental and won the Caldecott Medal (and was made into a big-budget movie to boot). But Harris Burdick was something entirely new, mysterious and lovely in the world.