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I love when creators, be they authors, musicians or artists, take risks and push themselves. Thus it was with great delight that I read WONDERSTRUCK by Brian Selznick. While categorized as a book for ages 9 and up, I, who have many more years than that behind me, was completely captivated by this work. Let me back up a moment. For those who may not be aware, Selznick is the Caldecott Award-winning author of THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, where he first worked his magic pairing a narrative with detailed illustrations that stand alone to tell some of the story.
In WONDERSTRUCK, Selznick pushes his talent even further, pairing a story told in prose set in 1977 with one told in illustration set in 1927. In the more contemporary story, the young protagonist Ben, who grew up in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota, is struck deaf shortly after he learned some clues to his father’s identity; his mother has already passed away without revealing his father’s identity. Ben weaves his way to the Museum of Natural History, where readers quickly are moved to look at the scenes at the museum in a new way as they hear the story behind the exhibits. The research alone will have you look at this museum in a whole new way, no matter how many times you may have been there. Never been there? You will want to make plans to enjoy it soon.
Woven in here is Rose’s story, told entirely in detailed illustrations; she also has the museum as a key part of her past. The parallels dramatically build, and trust that when you close these more than 600 pages (do not be daunted; you will fly through them), you will realize you have read a story where a creator has completely delivered. Plus, it’s been a true experience. And the nice thing is you can share it with other members of your family of many ages. It’s a book that is destined to draw people together.
- Publication Date: September 13, 2011
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 608 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- ISBN-10: 0545027896
- ISBN-13: 9780545027892