Mysterious Collection of
Dr. David Harleyson

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Adventures in Children's Literature and

Beloved children's characters come to life
through a puzzle in paintings.
The eccentric traveler and world-renowned painter,
Dr.   David Harleyson, has disappeared, and it is up to his young nephew to find him! By unraveling the clues on the backs of Dr. David's most recent paintings, his nephew is able to piece together his uncle's incredible around-the-world journey.
What do the most popular creatures from Mother Goose, Grimm, and Aesop—immortalized in Dr. David's breathtakingly lifelike portraits—have to do with his year-long adventure? Where has Dr. David been, and what will become of him? The mystery awaits, and only by following the clues can you discover the tale behind
mysterious collection of Dr. David Harleyson!

 The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators  (SCBWI) has awarded the Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson the  2004 Golden Kite Award  for Best Illustrated Picture Book of the year!   Visit their  website to  learn more about SCBWI and past recipients of this major children's book award --



John D. investigating         Portrait of Miss Lill Pigg              Clues on the back of
                                                                                                                          Miss Lill Pigg's portrait



               Mother Goose                            Paintings in his studio                  Owl & Pussycat

Reviews of The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson

"In this volume sure to captivate storybook lovers, a collection of nursery characters' portraits provides clues to a puzzle. David Harleyson, a world-traveling pig who paints, has left home without explanation other than instructions to his brother and young nephew: 'Inside my studio, find the twelve portraits I painted this last year . . . When you put all twelve in the correct order, you'll know . . . where to find me.' Readers must look at each painting, then turn the page to see what ephemera David has tucked into the frame. Behind a portrait of 'M. Goose,' shown scribbling with a quill pen, is her letter to David and an invitation to see a play by Sir Wolfe (who is the subject of the next portrait, clad in a gray suit and wooly white cape (souvenirs include a flyer for A Walk in the Woods , a newspaper clipping, and a train ticket). The evidence reveals David's itinerary and friendships. He paints Itsy Bitsy Spider in Bremen ('Every day it has rained!') and meets the Owl and the Pussycat in Amsterdam ('You gave me your nose ring for my wedding day,' Owl reminds him). Along the way, David falls for an opera star, Miss Lill Pigg, and coy allusions to the porcine diva imply his recent whereabouts. Readers will appreciate the keen visual detail of Cassel 's upper-crusty gouaches, the wry inside jokes and the thoughtfulness of the familiar menagerie, as when Baa Baa (a black sheep) knits David a sweater and the Grasshopper fiddles at the climactic event." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Dr. David Harleyson, a nineteenth-century portraitist of some prestige (and, for the record, a pig), is traveling abroad and requires a favor: Will his nephew collect 10 recently completed paintings and ship them to their respective subjects? Unfortunately the paintings, each a full-page, framed gouache portrait of an animal in resplendent Victorian attire, are unlabeled. Turning the page, however, reveals a hodgepodge of trompe l'oeil mementos, appearing as if they've been affixed to each portrait's reverse side. By piecing together clues provided in the snippets (a gossip-column clipping about a prince appalling dinner-party guests by eating a fly; a note from a portrait-sitter named Baa Baa that mentions her habit of giving away wool), children will quickly discover that each subject hails from a familiar story, nursery rhyme, or fable. . . . Kids will enjoy poring over the artfully cluttered pages, and will welcome the opportunity to showcase their storybook expertise." — Booklist

"A young pig receives a letter from his artist uncle asking him and his father to peruse some portraits, identify the subjects, and—based on clues stuck to the back of them (travel tickets, playbills, etc.)—put them in order to reconstruct the artist's yearlong travels and current plans. . . . Readers get to identify the portraits with wonderfully sophisticated clues and details for the fairytale and fable characters that guarantee participation and satisfaction." — Kirkus Reviews

"In this intricate, picture-book mystery, Dr. David Harleyson (a pig), an eccentric, world-renowned portrait painter, writes to his brother and nephew inviting them to come with him on a great adventure. But first they must put 12 portraits he recently completed in order. Richly tones gouache paintings feature a formal portrait on one page, and, on the verso, faux letters, notes, train tickets, playbills, etc., that serve to expand the story and give clues to the sequence of the next picture. Beginning with a likeness of M. Goose in
Paris , this is a whirlwind tour of European fairy-tale notables, including the Frog Prince in Copenhagen , the three Gruff brothers in Oslo , and Baa Baa Black Sheep in Wales . The final portrait leads the nephew and brother back to their famous uncle and a satisfyingly romantic conclusion. The formal tone of the correspondence and clues harkens back to the ambiance of a grand continental tour by ship and rail, but this sophisticated treatment may be lost on a young audience. . . . Alert listeners will recognize phrases from well-known rhymes and stories in the clues: every time Dr. Harleyson tries to paint Miss Spider's portrait, 'the rain comes down and washes the portrait out.' Young sleuths who are fans of Jane Yolen's Piggins (Harcourt, 1987) may enjoy moving up to this more challenging mystery." — School Library Journal