Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wild & Wonderful Wednesday: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

written and illustrated by Brian Selznick
Scholastic Press, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-545-02789-2
Grades 3 and up
Reviewed from purchased copy.


Set fifty years apart, two independent stories—Ben's told in words and 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.

Ever since his mom died, Ben feels lost.
At home with her father, Rose feels alone.

He is searching for someone, but he is not sure who.
She is searching for something, but she is not sure what.

When Ben finds a mysterious clue hidden in his mom's room,
When a tempting opportunity presents itself to Rose

Both children risk everything to find what's missing.
There isn't much I can say about this book that hasn't already been said.  But I can share a few of my thoughts about it.  When I first heard about this book, I was really excited.  I love Hugo Cabret and was eager to get my hands on this one.  It was worth the wait.  The illustrations are of course, gorgeous and thought-provoking and perfect for using with children to teach visual literacy.  The written parts are good as well.  I thoroughly enjoyed the way Selznick brought the two stories together at the end.  I did have some idea of how the book might end, but I was still pleasantly surprised by the ending.  I immediately wanted to fly to New York to visit the museums that are such an integral part of this story.

The visual aspects of this story help the reader to develop empathy for those whose world is truly silent, and yet the reader doesn't feel pity because the characters aren't afraid to go after what they want despite their lack of hearing.  I love the trend of illustrations in chapter books for older readers.  This book of course takes that trend and runs away with it. Overall, a great book, I recommend it highly. 

Here are some other reviews to check out:

New York Times Book Review
National Post
Kevin's Meandering Mind
She is too fond of books
5 Minutes for Books
Horn Book
Waking Brain Cells
A Fuse #8 Production
100 Scope Notes
Abby the Librarian

You may also want to visit the book website and here for some awesome videos about the book.

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