Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson


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 ...

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New York, NY 2004 Hard cover New. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. Picture book. With dust jacket. Contains: Illustrations. Intended for a juvenile audience. *****PLEASE NOTE: ... This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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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 the mysterious collection of Dr. David Harleyson!

When a world famous artist disappears, his nephew pieces together the clues found on the backs of a group of portraits, which feature characters from Mother Goose, Grimm, and Aesop, to decipher where the artist went and where to send the pictures.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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 woolly 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 Cassels's (Lonesome George the Giant Tortoise) 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. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Dr. David Harleyson, a pig who is a well known and eccentric artist, has painted a number of portraits of celebrities like Mother Goose, the Itsy Bitsy Spider, the tortoise and the hare, and the Billy Goats Gruff. But now the doctor has disappeared and it is up to his nephew to locate and solve the string of clues his uncle left behind, hidden among his famous portraits. Once his nephew has located and solved each clue he is led to the next, and eventually the reader and the nephew are able to uncover Dr. David Harleyson's surprise location. This picture book weaves a mystery and well-known nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters into a fun read. The illustrations are somewhat interactive as readers get to view each beautifully illustrated portrait, along with the notes and clues hidden behind them, helping them solve the mystery along with the main character. 2004, Walker & Company, Ages 4 to 8.
—Jennifer Chambliss
Kirkus Reviews
Clever gouache paintings and lovely, attractive design can't save this beckoning "mystery" from a fundamental problem: despite an invitation to help solve it, readers don't have much left to do after the characters do their work. 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. "That's exactly what we did, and so can you!"-but the paintings are already in order and the final answer unavoidably spelled out. Readers do get to identify the portraits with wonderfully sophisticated clues and details for the fairytale and fable characters that guarantee participation and satisfaction. However, the implication that readers can themselves solve the bulk of the mystery is misleading and may cause some disappointment. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802789167
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.12 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Cassels had illustrated more than fifty natural-history books for children before it came to light that she had a sideline of dressing up birds and beasts and bugs in formal clothes and selling their portraits in art galleries around the country. Everyone loves pigs . . . but pigs in starched collars and velvet topcoats—who could ask for anything more?!

The mother of two grown sons, she lives with her husband, Dr. Craig Hood, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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Read an Excerpt

The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson

By Jean Cassels

Walker & Company

Copyright © 2004 Jean Cassels
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8027-8916-1

Chapter One

My uncle is the famous artist Dr. David Harleyson. He travels the world painting portraits of the rich and famous. He's a great artist, but a bit eccentric! Months go by without a word from him. Then, suddenly, he's back home again, telling us amazing stories of his faraway adventures.

Late last night, he surprised us again, when this letter was mysteriously slipped under our front door.

Dear Brother and Nephew,

I must leave the country immediately. This will be my greatest adventure, and I want you to join me! But first there is something you must do. Go to the mansion. Inside my studio, find the twelve portraits I painted this last year. I have had them framed, and now they must be returned to their owners, please do this for me as quickly as possible. Look on the backs of the paintings. The twelve you are looking for have all the clues you will need to figure out who the owners are and where the paintings must be sent. When you put all twelve in the correct order, you'll know where I have been, and you will know where to find me. You must hurry! There is no time to waste. Thank your

Much love, David

We hurried to Uncle David's mansion, expecting to see twelve paintings. There must have been a hundred!

Dad sighed, "How will we ever unravel the mystery?"

I knew the answer! "Remember what Uncle's letter said, 'Look on the backs of the paintings!' Dad, that's where all the clues will be, the dates and the names and addresses! We can figure out whom the paintings belong to and where to send them, then find out what became of Uncle David."

That's exactly what we did, and so can you! You will see, once we found the first painting, Uncle's story began.

M. Goose 1697 Rue Perrault Paris, France

Dr. David Harleyson 38 Tamworth Lane Philadelphia, PA, USA

Saturday, 1 January

Dearest David,

Happy New Year!

I have been busy. Every morning I'm at my desk, writing down little rhymes about our friends. In the afternoons, I walk to the corner café for a sandwich and tea. The children come running to me, and sing, "Oh, please tell us a story!" They climb onto my lap, all smiles. It is so delightful. I love them all!

Your news is so exciting! I am so pleased you will be coming to Paris. Please tell me you will finally have the time to paint my portrait! So many of our friends want their portraits painted. Plan on being busy with your paints and brushes.

I'll meet you at the train station on January 12 at 3:00. I have the guest room all ready for you, and you are most welcome to stay as long as you please.

Fond regards, M. Goose

P.S. Sir Wolfe has a new play opening in Brussels, February 12. He's expecting you to be there.


New York Harbor to Le Havre, France Departs: Dock A January 5 6:00 A.M.



Dr. Foster near Gloucester

Continental Railroad

Le Havre, France to Paris, France



Sleeper Car # S42

A Walk in the Woods

* * *

A Play in Three Acts

* * *

Written Acted, and Directed by Sir Harry Le Wolfe *Starring* Betsy Lambkin, as Little Red Riding Hood Opening - Saturday, 12 February eight o'clock


A Walk in the Woods

Dr. David Harleyson

Opening night * 8:00 Front row * center seat


Continental Railroad

Brussels, Belgium, to Copenhagen, Denmark


ARRIVES: 30 FEBRUARY 12:00 P.M. Frog Prince's Party!

Sir Harry Le Wolfe 55 Aesop Street Brussels, Belgium

2 February

Dear David,

Thank you for offering to paint my portrait! I know you will see me for the intelligent, generous, kindhearted, handsome, and modest being that I am-nothing like the big, bad wolf in my plays.

I am already writing my next play. It will be entitled THREE PIGS or THREE LITTLE PIGS. Please consider taking the lead role! You would be perfect!

In friendship, Harry

Miss Lill Pigg

Table 3

Star light, Star bright, First star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.

By Order of the King You presence is requested

4 March Half past five in the evening * Very Dress-Up * No Bare Feet *

* Hans C. Andersen Drive * * Copenhagen * Denmark *

I. B. Spider 4 Warp Weft Lane Bremen, Germany

Dr. David Harleyson c/o The Frog Prince Copenhagen, Denmark

Dear David,

It will be a delight to see you again. I am certain your painting of me will be perfect. And I do promise to sit still.

Love, itsy bitsy

April 1


Every day it has rained! The roof leaks from the waterspout! Every morning I paint Miss Spider's portrait. Every afternoon, down comes the rain and washes the portrait out. THEN out comes the sun, dries up all the rain, and Miss Spider and I start up to paint again.


M. Goose 1697 Rue Perrault Paris, France

Dr. David Harleyson c/o I. B. Spider 4 Warp Weft Lane Bremen, Germany

19 April, Tuesday

Dearest David,

A dear American friend has come to stay with me. She is in rehearsal with The Opera Company. I am having a big gala dinner party for her.

* Sunday, May 1, at 6:00 *

You are invited! Wear your tuxedo!

M. Goose

Gretel's Art Shop

1 April

One ... teensy-weensy canvas

One ... small brush

One ... very small brush

One ... itsy-bitsy brush!

One, two, "I'd like some glue," Three, four, "It's by the door." Five, six, "And pastel sticks." Seven, eight, "They must be straight!"

Nine, ten, "Come back again!"

I.B. Spider 4 Weft Wrap Lane Bremen, Germany

Dearest David,

Thank You! My painting is ever so beautiful. You were so kind and patient to be able to finish it under such difficulties. Your stories of the prince eating the fly were so very funny, but really, they did make me hungry!

Please send the painting to me as quickly as you are able, I want all my friends to see it.

Much love, itsy bitsy

Continental Railroad

Bremen, Germany, to Paris, France



Sleeper Car # A31 Dining Car

2 May, Monday

Dearest David, So you didn't mind my little party after all. I wish you could have seen your face when Miss Lill walked in! What a surprise!

You should know, she has talked of no one but you since the royal supper, and she still giggles about the prince swallowing that silly fly!

I am so pleased you have decided to paint her portrait. It means you two will be here in Paris for a while

Fondly, M. Goose

Café Amèricain Paris 20 May

2 Coffees with cream & sugar 2 Pancake specials with [Illegible]

Café Les Bon Temps

Lunch - 11:00-2:00

1 Watercress sandwich 2 Tomato, cucumber sandwiches 2 Iced teas 4 Chocolate-chip cookies 2 Chocolate ice creams

For 100c

May 30

Dearest David,

I very much enjoyed all those hours we spent walking together +through the park, talking and laughing. It was really quite lovely. I wondered how you managed to have enough time to paint, but my portrait is beautiful!

Now that rehearsals are beginning, I will be busy every minute. Still, I will miss you when you leave for Switzerland. Please give my regards to dear Ant and Grasshopper.

Fondly, Lill

Café de al Tour Eiffel

2 Onion Soups 2 Truffle Omelets 2 Asparagus Soufflés 2 Turnip Salads & Rolls 2 Coffees with Cream 2 Chocolate Cakes with lots of fudge sauce

Total Fr 250c May 30


31 May

Two dozen red roses

Deliver to: Miss Lill Pigg c/o M. Goose 1697 Rue Perrault Paris


1 June, Wednesday 9:00 a.m. One passenger

First class All the way

Reservations by: HEIDI TRAVEL

Wednesday, June 29 Hinzel, Switzerland

What a pair!

Ant works nonstop gathering seeds and [Illegible] them away for the winter. Grasshopper just play and plays. When Ant complains, Grasshopper says, "It's the middle of summer, the day is beautiful, don't worry, be happy!"

Ant laughs, "I am happy, but I think this winter you will be dancing for your supper!" I love them both!

Their painting is finished, and in the morning I'm off to Amsterdam and Miss Lill.


August special on picnic baskets Prepared especially for you Red & white tablecloth included


1827 Spyri Lane, Hinzel, Switzerland


1828 Spyri Lane, Hinzel, Switzerland

Owl, Esq. 1812 Amstel Amsterdam, Netherlands


June 15 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dear Friend David,

Pussycat and I are so excited to have you staying with us in July!

It's been many years since you and I met in the Bong Tree Woods, where you gave me your nose ring for my wedding day. Now you will be painting our portrait! Wonderful! Our guest room is yours. Please plan on staying with us.

We look forward to meeting your friend Miss Lill Pigg. How exciting that the opening night of the opera will be here! We have our front-row tickets, thank you! We will be bringing red roses for Miss Lill.

Your friend, Owl

Amsterdam July 30

Dear David,

You, Owl, and Pussycat have made this a wonderful July!

This Lill Pigg went to market /we always bought flowers/ This Lill Pigg stayed home /we four played cards/ This Lill Pigg ate baked apples /we celebrated at Rembrandt's/ This Lill Pigg had none /thank you, but no sliced quince for me!/

And now, this Lill Pigg will be thinking of we, we all the way home! I'm writing this on the morning train, off with The Opera Company to Paris. M. Goose has asked me to please stay with her again. I had a wonderful time, David. Thank you.

Love, Lill


Sunday, July 31 Amsterdam, Netherlands

My Dear David, Please send me the cleaning bill your suit and Miss Lill's dress. Pussycat tells me I looked pretty funny with both feet in the air, and my small guitar in hand, as the boat flipped over. My beautiful pea-green boat! Standing and singing seemed like such a good idea. At least the water was warm, and we were all laughing!

Our portrait is wonderful and ever so elegant. As soon as it has been framed please send it quickly! Thank you! It was so pleasant having you here and meeting your friend Miss Lill. I hope your trip to Norway goes well. Please give our best to the Gruff Brothers.

Your friend, Owl






August 27, Saturday

Dear David,

I'm terribly sorry I can't join you. The Opera Company is in the middle of a disaster! Our next show is opening soon. We must practice! Together! But now the entire chorus of twenty-four blackbirds have quit! Gone! Flown off! They are going to sing for the king! We are all furious! I hope they all get baked into a pie! I miss you. Please write

Fondly, Lill


Oslo, Norway, to Southampton, England



Mr. Thomas E. Hare 158 Hopping Lane London, England

Mr. Harry S. Tortoise 21 Steadfast Street London, England

British Rail

London, England, to Cardiff, Wales






Dear Uncle David,

We all enjoyed your company. I think the painting is just right! Thank you for my storybook!

Love, Little Grizell

Dearest David,

I hope you can fix the painting.

I look much to BJG!

Thank you, dear.

Love Ursula M. Goose 1697 Rue Perrault Paris, France

Monday, 24 October

Dearest David,

You thank-you letter arrived. You are most welcome! It was a pleasure to have you here. I hope you are not imposing on the three bears too much, eating all their porridge, etc. And now you are on your way to Scotland to see dear Baa Baa, then home to America. I will miss you.

Did you know D. Diddle will be performing 30 December, in your hometown, Philadelphia? Her fiddle playing is magical. I am sending you a ticket. It will be waiting for you when you get home. I'm certain you will enjoy the evening!

Much love, M. Goose

British Rail

Cardiff, Wales, to Glasgow, Scotland


ARRIVES: 1 NOVEMBER 10:00 A.M. Sleeper Car # A22 First Class

24 November, Thursday

Baa Baa 72 Upthelane Glasgow, Scotland

My Dear David,

It will be cold on your voyage home! Please take this wool sweater to keep you warm.


Excerpted from The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson by Jean Cassels Copyright © 2004 by Jean Cassels. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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