Van Allsburg attended the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Michigan which at that time included the art school. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick a collection of images on one side and one sentence on the other (meant to be 'recovered pages' of longer books) continues the themes of darker undertones and was the inspiration for the short story "The House on Maple Street" by author Stephen King in his collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes (as his author's note expands upon). He appears in many of the books and even on his website sometimes as a real dog or a toy or other things as a tribute to the dog's life.
He received the Caldecott Honor Medal in 1980 for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. He twice won the Caldecott Medal for Jumanji (1981) and The Polar Express (1985) both of which he wrote and illustrated and both of which were later adapted into successful motion pictures. Chris Van Allsburg (born June 18 1949) is an American author and illustrator of children's books.