Sunday, 1 April 2012

Marvellous Middle Grade Monday: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, hosted by Shannon Messenger.  If you click on the link, you can go to her blog and check out the list of other bloggers who are participating and read their reviews, interviews, contests, etc, all to do with middle grade books.   

Book:  Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, September 2011, Scholastic Inc., 640 pages. 

Synopsis from Goodreads:
From Brian Selznick, the creator of the Caldecott Medal winner THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, comes another breathtaking tour de force.

Playing with the form he created in his trailblazing debut novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick once again sails into uncharted territory and takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey.

Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.

Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories--Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures--weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder. Rich, complex, affecting, and beautiful--with over 460 pages of original artwork--Wonderstruck is a stunning achievement from a uniquely gifted artist and visionary. 

My Thoughts:
This is the second book now that I've read by Brian Selznick and I have to say that he is brilliant! (You can read my review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret here.)  The way that he juxtaposes the text and the art, both of which move the story along, is amazing.

In Wonderstruck, he tells two stories:  one of Ben, a ten year old boy in Minnesota whose mother has just died, is told in the text; and the other of Rose, a deaf girl fifty years earlier, is told in the pictures.  These stories are weaved together beautifully to form a singular, beautiful story.

The characters and the emotion in the book are wonderful.  I found that I really felt for both Ben and Rose and their impossible situations.  Selznick uses both art and words to focus in on what is important and to help us sympathize with the characters.

Like the Invention of Hugo Cabret, this book appears to be long, but it is not.  It has so many wonderful illustrations, this book has over 460 pages of them, that it is actually a fast read.  However, I found myself lingering over the pictures, taking in the details and enjoying how well done they were.

I highly recommend this book for both kids and adults.  The book would be good for middle grade and up and for those who like a well told story with adventure and touching humanness.


  1. I adored this story and was fortunate enough to hear Brian speak while he was on his book tour last fall. His creative process is something to behold and I learned so much. What he does with words and pictures changes the way books are read, I think.

    1. I agree with you about changing the way books are read. It would be great to hear him speak. I think his brain must work so differently from mine!!

  2. I've seen the cover and been enticed. I loved Hugo so I should check this out too. Thanks for the review.

  3. Haven't read this one yet, but really enjoyed INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. Brian Selznick is a genius.

  4. I can't decide which I liked better, Hugo or Wonderstruck. I absolutely love the pictures and the text in both and how human the stories are.

  5. I am sooo over due reading this book and Hugo Cabret. I know I'm missing out on something great. Time to bump them on my tbr list.
    Thanks for the feature.

    1. I love telling people about great books! Hope you find the time to enjoy it. They are both fast reads.

  6. I loved Wonderstruck! Brian Selznick is simply amazing. I can't get over his drawings and stories. I read The Invention of Hugo Cabret and loved that too. We reviewed them both on my blog. I think everyone should read his books. What an excellent review! :)


    1. Thanks so much. I can't wait for Brian Selznick to come out with more books!!


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