Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick


Wonderstruck is a middle grade novel about two different characters living 50 years apart.  In the beginning of the book, their stories are separate. The first character, Rose, is a girl living in silence as a deaf girl in 1927 Hoboken, New Jersey.  Her story is told through Brian Selznick's famous drawings.  The second main character is Ben, a boy who is partially deaf in the beginning of the story, living with his aunt and uncle in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota in 1977.  Ben's story is told through text.  As the book progresses, the two stories and the two main characters, interweave until they come together in the end.

Museums, deaf culture, New York City, and the ties that bind us together are all themes throughout this magnificent book.  Both characters have so much in common, and are simply trying to find their place in the world by learning more about who they are.

I had read Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and was so impressed by the story, the illustrations, and the amazing way my son connected to it.  When he came to me a few weeks ago looking for an historical fiction book for his next school book project, I thought of Wonderstruck.  My 10 year old and I were blown away once again!

If you have a middle grade reader who loves graphic novels like Wimpy Kid or Big Nate, but you'd really like them to get more reading in, try Wonderstruck.  They'll love it.  And if you adults are looking for an amazing story with illustrations that will have you staring in wonder, go for it.

I highly recommend Wonderstruck for children and adults of all ages.

Book Extras:
Wonderstruck Website
Scholastic's Wonderstruck Website

About the Book:

  • Reading level: Ages 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545027896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545027892

About the Author: (from Scholastic)
Born and raised in New Jersey, Brian Selznick cannot remember a time when he was not drawing and making things. His mural of a dinosaur on his fifth grade classroom wall was a big hit, and he had a one-man show in junior high school.

He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design with the intention of becoming a set designer for the theater, but a job designing window displays at Eeyore's Children's Bookstore in New York City changed his mind. Working at the store became a crash course in children's literature, and his first book was published while he worked there. 

Soon he left to pursue a full-time career in children's book illustration; he also has designed theater sets and is a professional puppeteer. His first book, The Houdini Box, was inspired by a fascination with the famous magician and his secrets. He has illustrated both novels and picture books for other writers, including the Sibert Honor books, When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan and Walt Whitman: Words for America by Barbara Kerley. His illustrations for Barbara Kerley's The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins won a Caldecott Honor Award in 2002; and in 2008, his groundbreaking and breathtaking The Invention of Hugo Cabret was awarded the Caldecott Medal. His newest novel, Wonderstruck, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and has received four starred reviews to date. 

Brian divides his time between Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California

Every Saturday, Julie at Booking Mama hosts Kid Konnection, where she features a book or anything related to children's books, middle grade, YA literature. Feel free to visit the post each Saturday, comment, and link up your own Kid Konnection post.
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