Wonderstruck is a treasure of a book. A master artist and storyteller, Selznick beautifully weaves together the lives of Ben and Rose. Set 50 years apart, their stories, one told in pictures and one in words, each take them on journeys that lead to the Natural History Museum in New York. It is an emotionally moving story that was a joy to read. Recommended By Jennifer H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Selznick follows his Caldecott-winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret with another illustrated novel that should cement his reputation as one of the most innovative storytellers at work today. Ben and Rose are both hearing-impaired. He is 12 in 1977; she is the same age 50 years earlier. Selznick tells their story in prose and pictures beginning with Ben, living (unhappily) with his aunt and uncle, 83 steps from the Minnesota lake cabin he shared with his librarian mother until her death in a car accident three months earlier. He has never met his father, but has reason to believe he may live in New York. As in Hugo Cabret, a significant part of the story is told in sequential illustrations, most of which depict the even unhappier Rose, whose movie star mother has remarried, leaving her daughter with her ex-husband in New Jersey. Both children run away to Manhattan seeking something from their respective absent parents. It takes several hundred pages and a big chunk of exposition to connect these two strands, but they converge in an emotionally satisfying way. Selznick masterfully uses pencil and paper like a camera, starting a sequence with a wide shot and zooming in on details on successive pages. Key scenes occur when the runaways find themselves in one of Manhattan's storied museums, and with one character named Jamie, and Rose's surname being Kincaid, it's impossible not to think of E.L. Konigsburg's From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, to which Selznick tips his hat in an author's note. Like that Newbery winner, Selznick's story has the makings of a kid-pleasing classic. Ages 9 up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A gift for the eye, mind, and heart." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Visually stunning, completely compelling." Kirkus Reviews, (Starred Review)
"Innovative...has the makings of a classic." Publishers Weekly, (Starred Review)
"A thing of wonder to behold...an emotional experience that neither the words nor the illustrations could achieve on their own." School Library Journal (Starred Review)
About the Author
Hello there. My name is Brian Selznick and I'm the author and illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was born in 1966 in New Jersey. I have a sister who is a teacher, a brother who is a brain surgeon, and five nephews and one niece. My first book, The Houdini Box, which I both wrote and illustrated, was published in 1991 while I was still working at the bookstore. Since then, I have illustrated many books for children, including Frindle by Andrew Clements, The Doll People by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin, Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, which received a 2001 Caldecott Honor. I live in Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.
Review A Day
"Selznick's follow-up, Wonderstruck
, is a slower, more ruminative book, less intricately constructed than Hugo Cabret
but gentler in spirit. Once again, Selznick alternates text with pencil illustrations; this time the text tells one story while the pictures tell another, though at the end the stories intersect nicely." Dan Kois, NPR
(Read the entire NPR review