Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wonderstruck - Brian Selznick

I was first introduced to Brian Selznick's work when I read "The Invention of Hugo Cabret"...a part graphic novel, part written story about an orphan living in 1930's Paris, exploring the magic of old movies and an automaton.  Even though the book was written for 9 year olds, it captured my imagination and made me feel like a kid.  That is the beauty of Selznick...he brings a child-like delight to his work.

When I heard he had a new book coming out in the same type of format, I really didn't care what it was about.  I knew I had to have it.  Never mind that Scholastic protected copies of this book at SIBA like the freaking Crown Jewels.  I discovered a tiny little indie bookstore in the small town of Apalachicola, FL over Thanksgiving, and begged my husband to buy this book for me.  I read it that very night.

Synopsis:  Born deaf in one ear, Ben has always wondered about his father.  His mother won't talk about him, and becomes sad when Ben approaches the subject.  When Ben's mother dies, Ben finds a clue about his missing father, and is immediately struck deaf in his other ear by a lightning strike.  Despite his disability, he sets out for New York City to find him.

In a separate storyline 50 years earlier, we meet Rose, who is a deaf girl obsessed with scrapbooking pictures of a glamorous actress, and sets off into New York City to find her.

Across the decades, Ben and Rose are pulled together by their deafness, and the hidden treasures in the American Museum of Natural History.  As Ben and Rose navigate through a hearing world, they discover secrets about the museum, themselves, and each other.

 



My thoughts:  Selznick has done it once again.  With a childish wonder, he stumbles onto topics or places, in this case the Deaf and the American Museum of Natural History, and he weaves that into a magical story that will entrance people of all ages. 

I'm not an art critic, so it is hard for me to verbalize how his illustrations mesmerize.  I think it is the facial expressions that do it.  He captures the glint of an eye, the lift of an eyebrow, or the hint of a smile that tells a story all on its own. 


Like Hugo, when you see this book, you will probably gasp at its phone book-ish size.  Don't let that bother you...I read this book in three or four hours, all the while smiling at how it made me feel. 

I never thought Selznick would be able to match Hugo, but he has.  Just like its title, "Wonderstruck" is indeed a wonder.

5 out of 5 stars


19 comments:

Beth F said...

Stopping by to wish you happy holidays and safe, happy new year. (I had to skip your review because I hope to read this one soon)

Beachreader said...

I had never heard of Selznick's work until the day before Christmas break when one of my students was reading "Wonderstruck" I asked him what it was about and that began a 15 minute rave about the book and author. My student loved his work and I have been promised that I get to read his copy when we return to school and he's finished the book.
I'm glad you liked it ,too.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree as you know - he's just amazing!

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

Selznik's books are just amazing! It must take him a long time to write/draw a story with all the detail he puts into each and every illustration! I'm glad to see you enjoyed this as much as I did!

Zibilee said...

I have this one and HUgo just waiting for me for the new year, and after reading your rave review, and Jill's as well, I am really excited about these books. I might have to read them back to back. I did start to flip through Hugo, and thought that it was just such a wonderful read, and those illustrations were amazing!

Great review today!

bermudaonion said...

I loved this book too! I've heard Hugo is even better so I'm anxious to get my hands on a copy of it.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I can't wait to get my hands on this one. It's one of those books that you just know you're going to love.

Trisha said...

I bought this one the very day I first saw it, but I haven't picked it up yet. To tell the truth, I've been saving it for the hospital. It seems like the type of book that would raise one's spirits with its awesomeness.

heidenkind said...

I got this book from the library last week! There's also a video online where he talks about his inspiration for the book and gives a "tour" of The Museum of Natural History in NYC that you might be interested in.

Kathleen said...

I need to read this and Hugo!

Marie said...

looks wonderful. i just saw HUGO tonight and want the book so bad now, and i think I want this one too!

Nymeth said...

As good as Hugo? Wow! I must read it.

Ti said...

Selznick has touched gold with this one.

How have you been? I am just now coming up for air. No relaxing here. Spending my entire vacation shuttling kids here and there.

Amy said...

This is a wonderful and engaging review, Sandy. Brian Selznick is completely new, unfamiliar author for me and I'm very excited to check out and read both books you gushed over...his illustrations look amazing, I can't wait to see them all!
Thank you!

reviewsbylola said...

I have both this one and Hugo Cabret on my wish list!

Gavin said...

Thanks for another great review, Sandy! This one is on my hold list at the library.

Alyce said...

I loved this one too! Both of this and Hugo were so good that I'll snap up anything else he writes for sure (especially if it's in the same style). I was lucky enough to win an ARC from someone's blog and did a happy dance all over my house when I received it. Then it took me months to convince my son to read it because, you know - I'm mom, so what could I possibly know about cool books? He is so funny because he's loved every book I've recommended but it takes him forever to give in. Makes me look forward to the teen years. ;)

Julie P. said...

I still need to read HUGO! Almost bought it for the kids but I think they are right in between the ideal age.

wordsandpeace.com said...

I also enjoyed it very much: http://wordsandpeace.com/2011/10/14/74-review-wonderstruck/
And isn't Hugo's movie spectacular, great adaptation of the book, enriched with all the material coming form archives movies of Melies?