CHRIS VAN ALLSBURG reading levels

Love, love, love Chris Van Allsburg.  He's a favorite of ours, for ourselves, and for young readers.  These are great read-alouds, and great books to read by one's self.  Boy- and Guy-friendly.

This list is presented in order of publication. And there are sample pages for all books available at Amazon.  Teachers and homeschoolers should note that there are many lessons plans available for these books.


**Caldecott Honor Book**

Our review

Sometimes that very thin line between illusion and reality is not as clearly defined as we would like it to be. It certainly wasn't the day that Alan Mitz stumbled into the garden of Abdul Gasazi. For in this bizarre and eerie place -- where strange topiary trees loomed -- the evil visage of Gasazi casts its shadow. And even after Alan escaped, the spell of Gasazi still seemed to penetrate into his everyday world. In this extraordinary, unusual, and unique picture book.

excerpt from THE GARDEN OF ABDUL GASAZI by Chris Van Allsburg

Reading Information:
Word Count: 1,117
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level: 4.0 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 53942
Lexile: AD580L

bookcover of JUMANJI

**Caldecott Medal Book**
** Caldecott Medal winner 1982**
**New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year** **Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award**
**School Library Journal, Best Books of the Year** 
 **ALA Notable Book for Children**
Booklist Editors' Choice

When Judy and Peter find a board game in the park they take it home, hoping to alleviate their boredom. One live lion, an erupting volcano, and a dozen destructive monkeys later, the children are no longer bored. Their jungle adventure game has come to life!

Word Count: 1,054
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading level: 3.8 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 5240
Lexile: 520L

bookcover of BEN'S DREAM by Van Allsburg BEN'S DREAM

On a terrifically rainy day, Ben has a dream in which he and his house float by the monuments of the world, half submerged in flood-water.

Word Count: 278
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading level: 2.4 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 69055
Lexile: 370L


A boy's ambition to be the greatest sailor in the world brings him to ruin when he misuses his new ability to sail his boat in the air.

Word Count: 1,319
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level: 3.7 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 6250
Lexile: 500L


14 black-and-white drawings are introduced by a fictional editor's note which introduces Harris Burdick as the author and illustrator.  The reader is told that Burdick left with a promise to deliver the complete manuscripts if the editor chose to buy the books.   However Burdick was never seen again, and the reader is left to interpret what the pictures mean.

Word Count: 192
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading level: 2.2 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 53587
Lexile: AD760L

bookcover of  POLAR EXPRESS  by Van AllsburgTHE POLAR EXPRESS

**Caldecott Medal**
**New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year**
**New York Times Bestseller**

Truly a magical book. A boy on the brink of loosing his sense of Christmas wonder, gets to ride a train to the North Pole where he meets Santa.

Word Count: 1,054
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level: 3.8 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 5240
Lexile: 520L

bookcover of The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg

Our reviews

Farmer Bailey thinks he's hit a deer while driving his truck, but in the middle of the road lies a man, an enigmatic stranger. He goes home with Farmer Bailey, his memory apparently gone. Weeks pass at the Bailey farm; the stranger seems happy to be around them, and helps with the harvest. Oddly, while trees to the north of the farm turn red and gold with the arrival of fall, Bailey's land seems to be in a state of perpetual summer. One day, the stranger sees geese flying south and knows that he, too, must leave. Not long after that, the leaves at the farm change color and the air turns cool.... What can this all mean.

Word Count: 927
 Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level: 3.7 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 69065
Lexile: 640L

bookcover of Z WAS ZAPPED by Van AllsburgTHE Z WAS ZAPPED

A dramatic black-and-white presentation of the alphabet in which the three-time Caldecott medalist depicts a mysterious transformation of each letter.

Lexile: BR

excerpt from Z WAS ZAPPED by Chris Van Allsburg
The C was Cut to ribbons

bookcover of TWO BAD ANTS by Van AllsburgTWO BAD ANTS

The tale of two adventurous ants who decide to leave the safety of the others to venture out into the danger of the kitchen.

Word Count: 1,232
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level: 4.7 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 5548
Lexile: 780L

bookcover of JUST A DREAM by Van AllsburgJUST A DREAM

Young Walter litters and refuses to sort trash for recycling, until he dreams of an overcrowded and polluted future which terrifies him into taking care of the earth.

Word Count: 1,670
Page Count:  48
Accelerated Reading level: 3.6 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 6075
Lexile: 550L


In a story recounted through the daily log of Captain Allan Hope, the sailors aboard the Rita Anne become mesmerized and transformed by a mysterious glowing rock, and only music and books can restore them to normal.

Word Count: 955
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level: 4.3 / points: 0.5
AR quiz:
Lexile: AD580L

bookcover of WIDOW'S BROOM by Van AllsburgTHE WIDOW'S BROOM

A widow finds herself in possession of an extraordinary broom left by a witch who fell into the widow's garden.

Word Count: 1,624
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level: 4.7 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 6348
Lexile: 810L

bookcover of THE SWEETIST FIG by Van AllsburgTHE SWEETIST FIG

Our review

Monsieur Bibot, the cold-hearted dentist, was given two ordinary-looking figs as payment for extracting a tooth from an old woman's mouth. Monsieur Bibot refused to believe such nonsense and proceeded to eat one of the figs for a bedtime snack. Although it was possibly the finest, sweetest fig he had ever tasted, it wasn't until the next morning that Monsieur Bibot realized it indeed had the power to make his dreams come true. While dragging his poor dog, Marcel, out for his walk, he discovered that his strange dream from the night before was becoming all too real. Determined to make good use of the second fig, Monsieur Bibot learns to control is dreams. But can he control Marcel? 

Word Count: 856
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level:  3.7 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 8679
Lexile: AD530L 


Riverbend was a quiet little town, the kind of place where one day was just like all the rest and nothing ever happened. Occasionally the stagecoach rolled through, but it never stopped, because no one ever came to Riverbend and no one ever left. The day the stagecoach stood motionless in the center of town, Sheriff Ned Hardy knew something was terribly wrong. What was the mysterious substance on both coach and horses? It would not come off. Soon it was everywhere in the tidy little village. Something had to be done, and Sheriff Hardy aimed to do it.

Word Count: 1,029
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level:  4.2 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 13788
Lexile: AD680L

bookcover of ZATHURA

**A New York Times Bestseller**

On the last page of the Caldecott-winning book Jumanji, young Danny Budwing is seen running after his brother, Walter, with a game tucked under his arm. Now after twenty years, Chris Van Allsburg is ready to reveal what happens when Danny and Walter roll the dice. This time the name of the game is Zathura and the battling Budwing boys are in for the ride of their lives.

The first book in seven years by Chris Van Allsburg, Zathura is a dramatic adventure that promises a breathtaking and unforgettable experience. At the story"s end which becomes, miraculously, the beginning, we find that Walter"s feelings for his little brother are greatly altered.

Word Count: 2,273
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level:  3.8 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 64293
Lexile: 540L

bookcover of PROBUDITI!

For his birthday, Calvin’s mother gives him two tickets to see Lomax the Magnificent (magician and hypnotist extraordinaire!). Even though Mama hints that his little sister, Trudy, would love to go, Calvin doesn’t hesitate to invite his friend Rodney instead.

The boys return home greatly impressed by the magician’s performance. When Calvin’s mother goes out, she leaves him in charge of Trudy. It’s a job Calvin dislikes because his sister does not want to be left out of anything. So Calvin and Rodney include her—by making her the first subject for their own hypnotizing machine.

Much to the boys’ surprise, the machine works. But unfortunately they cannot undo what they have done. Trudy is stuck in her trance, convinced she is a dog—panting, drooling, and barking at squirrels. The only problem is, Calvin can’t remember Lomax’s magic word—Probuditi!—so Trudy won’t snap out of it!

The boys are worried and decide to take Trudy to the one man they know can solve their problem—but will Lomax help them? Mama is on her way home . . . Who will have the last laugh?

Word Count: 2,082
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level:  3.4 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 110649
Lexile: AD710L

bookcover of QUEEN OF THE FALLS

At the turn of the nineteenth century, a retired sixty-two-year-old charm school instructor named Annie Edson Taylor, seeking fame and fortune, decided to do something that no one in the world had ever done before—she would go over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel.
Come meet the Queen of the Falls and witness with your own eyes her daring ride!

Word Count: 3,471
Page Count:  40
Accelerated Reading level: 5.7 / points: 1.0
AR quiz: 143316
Lexile: 1060L 


An inspired collection of short stories by the likes of... Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, Lemony Snicket, and Chris Van Allsburg himself.

Word Count: 48,722
Page Count:  40
Accelerated Reading level: 5.4 / points: 8.0
AR quiz: 146840
Lexile: 840L

compiled by Pam