Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck

Book rating: 05 Hardback Schneider Family Book Award - Middle School Winner

By (author) Brian Selznick, Illustrated by Brian Selznick

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  • Publisher: Scholastic US
  • Format: Hardback | 656 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 211mm x 56mm | 1,270g
  • Publication date: 14 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0545027896
  • ISBN 13: 9780545027892
  • Sales rank: 1,680

Product description

Ben's story takes place in 1977 and is told in words. Rose's story in 1927 is told entirely in pictures. Ever since his mother died, Ben feels lost. At home with her father, Rose feels alone. When Ben finds a mysterious clue hidden in his mother's room, and when a tempting opportunity presents itself to Rose, both children risk everything to find what's missing. Rich, complex, affecting and beautiful, "Wonderstruck" is a staggering achievement from a uniquely gifted artist.

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Author information

In addition to The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick is the illustrator of the Caldecott Honor winner, The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, and The New York Times Best Illustrated Walt Whitman: Words for America, both by Barbara Kerley, as well as the Sibert Honor Winner When Marian Sang, by Pam Munoz Ryan, and numerous other celebrated picture books and novels. Brian has also worked as a set designer and a puppeteer. When he isn't traveling to promote his work all over the world, he lives in San Diego, California, and Brooklyn, New York.

Customer reviews

By Nicola Mansfield 28 Nov 2011 5

Reason for Reading: I loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret and have just been waiting for Selznick to follow it up with something similar.

Following the same "genre-breaking form" he established in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Selznick returns to the half text/half wordless picture book to tell two parallel stories set fifty years apart until they eventually merge together into the same tale. The first story set in the 1970s features Ben whose mother has just died in a car accident; he's never known who his father was and after looking around his mom's room he discovers some clues to his identity. He runs away to New York in search of the man he's never known. Fifty years earlier in the 1920s, we are introduced to Rose, a young girl with a fixation on a silent movie star who feels trapped in her own home. She too runs away to New York to find a friend named Walter, who will hopefully help her escape her strict father. Eventually the two stories catch up to each other and merge into one story.

Ben's story is told purely in text using roughly about 200 pgs., while Rose's story is told in the remaining 400-odd pages in wordless illustrated sequences. As each story alternates, the reader switches gears from reading words to gazing enraptured at the illustrations. The artwork, needless to say in superb! Selznick has created another masterpiece in this hybrid of novel and picture book. The story is compelling and touching. The characters lovable and real. My only beef would be that Hugo Cabret included with the illustrations photos and movie stills; Wonderstruck is pure illustration. I think the topic, themes and time period would have lent themselves well to including this type of media as well, especially considering one of the 1920s characters is a famous silent film/stage star. Otherwise a pure delight! Of the two I liked Hugo better but this is a worthy follow up and still deserving of a top rating. Looking forward to seeing Selznick continue in this fascinating format in a future book.

By TeensReadToo 23 Sep 2011 5

Ben, a young boy, feels lost and alone ever since the death of his mother. Even though he lives with his aunt and uncle, he doesn't feel like he belongs. When loneliness get too much, Ben sneaks next door to the house he lived in with his mother and begins to look for something, anything to make him feel better.

When he finds a mysterious note that could possibly lead him to the father he's never known, he has to make the decision whether to follow his heart or stay where he is.

Rose, a young girl, feels lost and alone in a house with her stern father. With her mother out of the picture and her older brother living in New York, she is completely cut off from everyone. After one too many disagreements with her father, Rose decides to strike out on her own to New York City to find some peace of mind.

Both Ben and Rose find themselves at the American Museum of Natural History - only 50 years apart. Ben's story takes place in 1977 and Rose's story takes place in 1927. Ben's story is told in words, while Rose's story is told in pictures.

Brian Selznick does a masterful job combining two journeys to create one amazing story. A winner!

*Gold Star Award Winner!

Review quote

Awards and Praises for The Invention of Hugo Cabret (partial listing): 2008 Caldecott Medal winnerNational Book Award Finalist#1 New York Times BestsellerNew York Times Best Illustrated BookQuill Award WinnerBorders Original Voices FinalistLos Angeles Times Favorite Children's Book of the YearPublishers Weekly Best Book of the Year"A true masterpiece."-"Publishers Weekly", starred review"Evokes wonder . . . like a silent film on paper."-"The New York Times""Visually stunning . . . raises the bar."-"San Antonio Express-News""Shatters conventions."-"School Library Journal", starred review"Complete genius."-"The Horn Book", starred review