By Chris Van Allsburg
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company
Copyright © 1986
It is nearly fall and a cold breeze is beginning to blow. Farmer Bailey feels that breeze as he is driving down the road in his old truck, and just then he hits something. At first he thinks he hit a deer, but when he gets out and looking he finds a strangely dressed man lying on the road. Farmer Bailey takes him home to recuperate with his family, but unfortunately the man has amnesia and can’t remember who he is. The stranger is pleasant and helps out around the farm, and the Bailey’s are happy to have him. Then one day as he is working in the field and looks out to the valley to the north and compares it with the Bailey’s farm he soon realizes who he is and that he must go.
Van Allsburg has written and illustrated a beautifully simple story that rides the line between reality and fantasy. He gives a charming appearance and personality to the bearer of the coming winter – you know his name. Van Allsburg accomplishes this without being overtly fantastical or magical. This is a great story to read with K-3 children with the change of season and the coming of fall. Adults who love the bucolic splendor of the northeast in the fall of the year will certainly enjoy this tale as well.