The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg Analysis

The Stranger (1986) is the seventh picture book written and illustrated by popular American storyteller Chris Van Allsburg. This picture book provokes as many questions as it answers, and reminds me of the Australian picture book written and illustrated by Shaun Tan in which a tiny ‘exchange student’ arrives in an Australian home, he admires …

Short Story Study For Writers

In the 1880s Brander Matthews said that short stories should be spelt with a hyphen to distinguish between two different forms, which reminds me of the picture book vs picturebook debate. A short story is a story that is short. A short-story proper derives from the Romantic tradition and has its beginnings in myths and legends. …

Symbolism of Green

What does green symbolise in art and storytelling? Unripe (and by extension, naïve) Vital and vigorous (because Greek ‘chloros’ may have mostly meant ‘having sap’, independent of colour). By extension, green can symbolise youth. Young things tend to be moist (sorry) whereas old things tend to be dry (also sorry, blame those Ancient Greeks). Latin …

Three by the Sea by Mini Grey Picture Book Analysis

Three By The Sea is a 2010 picture book by British writer-illustrator Mini Grey. This storyteller comes from South Wales, which is somewhat evident in the setting. The most widely borrowed picture book from Mini Grey is the wonderfully metafictional Traction Man series. This one has metafictional elements also, and offers plenty of picture book …

Open House on Haunted Hill by John Wiswell Short Story Analysis

“Open House on Haunted Hill” is a Nebula Award winning short (ghost?) story by John Wiswell, published in 2020. I’ve recently immersed myself in ghost stories from the 18- and 1900s. But how does one go about writing a contemporary ghost story? Can modern writers still write an original and surprising ghost story? I mean, …