Chris Van Allsburg Quotes


A good picture book should have events that are visually arresting - the pictures should call attention to what is happening in the story.

Some artists claim praise is irrelevant in measuring the success of art but I think it's quite relevant. Besides it makes me feel great.

If you don't know where you're going stop racing to get there. -- from Just Desert by M. T. Anderson

The crudest thing I've done as a teacher was to require students to write a national anthem for their country and sing it themselves.

I've heard stories about authors filled with this kind of Lotto-winner hubris. I'm a Dutch boy from the Midwest. We don't have hubris.

An award does not change the quality of a book.

I think most people agree there is a component of skill in art making; you have to learn grammar before you learn how to write.

I've always thought of the book as a visual art form and it should represent a single artistic idea which it does if you write your own material.

It seems to me that not only the writing in most children's books condescends to kids but so does the art. I don't want to do that.

There must be something to think about at the end.

Growing up in the 1950s in Grand Rapids Michigan boys were supposed to be athletic.

I don't know if what kids really want is a hamster. What they want is a dog. So the hamster ends up being a substitute: 'Well would you accept this?'

It did occur to me that certainly African-Americans are not underserved in picture books but those books are almost all about specifically black experiences.

As the years went by I became a writer and illustrator although exclusively of fantasies.

As long as I can remember I've always loved to draw. But my interest in drawing wasn't encouraged very much.

I have very positive memories of reading biographies of unusual Americans as a child.

I sculpted for four or five years. Mostly for my own amusement I decided to do a picture book and that was kind of a turning point.

I think parents generally know what's best for their children. But I suppose it's possible to be overprotective.

The Dick Jane and Spot primers have gone to that bookshelf in the sky. I have in some ways a tender feeling toward them so I think it's for the best.

I pore over every word on the cereal box at breakfast often more than once. You can ask me anything about shredded wheat.

The idea of the extraordinary happening in the context of the ordinary is what's fascinating to me

There's definitely a value in being literate.

its not bad to be different. Sometimes it's the mark of being very very talented.

Though Iâ??ve grown old the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe.

Santa is our culture's only mythic figure truly believed in by a large percentage of the population. It's a fact that most of the true believers are under eight years old and that's a pity.

As much as I'd like to meet the tooth fairy on an evening walk I don't really believe it can happen.

Following my muse has worked out pretty well so far. I can't see any reason to change the formula now.

Certain peer pressures encourage little fingers to learn how to hold a football instead of a crayon. I confess to having yielded to these pressures.

They don't send people from large corporations to hire people to make sculptures.

The opportunity to create a small world between two pieces of cardboard where time exists yet stands still where people talk and I tell them what to say is exciting and rewarding.

I don't like to travel. Yet all my books seem to involve a journey.

My ideas are not meant to suggest dreams or reality but a surreal quality.

I think it's difficult to forget things that are unresolved.

Your house is all about routine not the unexpected events of your life.

What kids are exposed to on television is more frightening and horrifying than what they see in my books.

I take my ideas from my experiences.

I write for what's left of the eight-year-old still rattling around inside my head

There was a great deal of peer recognition to be gained in elementary school by being able to draw well. One girl could draw horses so well she was looked upon as a kind of sorceress.

I like the gizmos that transport people.

The theory of isolation of certain tasks in certain hemispheres of the brain suggests I shouldn't even be able to speak never mind write.

I don't think ordinary things are very interesting so I try to imagine a world that is less ordinary.

I have lots of ideas. The problem for me has always been which one to do.

My stories are often a little mysterious.

In the same way that a mundane object can have a personality somehow I try to suggest that a mundane setting can have some menace behind it.

I'm not a perfectionist. I'm just very observant.

It was the case for a number of years that I was doing a book a year but that was back when I was part-time teaching - and since 1991 I've been a parent so that cuts into the time!

The Polar Express began with the idea of a train standing alone in the woods. I asked myself What if a boy gets on that train? Where does he go?