Sunday, September 28, 2008
The Stranger (written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, 1986) didn't immediately grab me, but still I liked it because it gave me something to think about and puzzle on. In the book, Farmer Bailey was driving along in his pickup truck. Suddenly, he heard a thump! He thought he had hit a deer. But it wasn't a deer, it was a man. A man who had lost his memory, or so they thought. The doctor took his temperature, and said he would remember his name and where he lived. When he left, he had forgotten his thermometer. Farmer Bailey's wife said," You've forgotten your thermometer!"
"It's broken," said the doctor, "All the mercury is stuck at the bottom." This is the first clue to the stranger's identity. The author never tells us anything about him, only that he is a stranger. There are other clues. When he was helping in the fields gathering hay, unlike Mr. Bailey, who had to rest, he never stopped, never sweated, and never rested. A couple of weeks later he was staring at the trees. He thought the trees at the farm were green and ugly, but all the other trees were regular fall trees. He picked a leaf, and blew on it. He was amazed when it turned red. That evening, they saw him in his old leather clothes and he ran away. When they went out, all the green trees had changed color.
So who is this mysterious stranger? Try and guess!