Monday, August 22, 2011

Early Review - Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (5/5 stars)

WonderstruckReading level: Middle Grade
Genre: Fiction
Size: 608 pages
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 13, 2011
ISBN: 978-0545027892
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC from BEA
Rating: 5/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book at Book Expo America from the publisher.  I had been been wanting to read The Invention of Hugo Cabret for some time, but hadn't gotten around to it.  When I saw that Selznick was coming out with a new book, I was very excited to read it.  This was a wonderful book filled with beautiful drawings and a heartwarming story.

This book tells two storylines, one via pictures and one with traditional writing.  The first storyline is written and is set in the 1970's where a boy named Ben (who has lost his mother and never knew his father) flees his home on the Gunflint Trail in MN for New York City; he is trying to find his father based on some clues he found in his mother's stuff.  The second storyline is told in wonderful pictures.  This storyline is set in the 1920's and tells about a deaf girl named Rose who wants nothing more than to run away from home to live in NYC.

The way the two stories unfold is wonderful.  They are both set in different times with different people, but they still mirror each other as they unfold.  Eventually they entwine in a way that is fabulous, heartwarming, and clever.  This is definitely a coming of age story of sorts.  

With the two stories being set in the past, the story portrays a sort of nostalgia.  Both of the characters (Rose and Ben) are easy to relate to.  Both of them are trying to follow their dreams and do what their hearts' desire no matter how tough things get.

Both stories end up in the Museum of Natural History in New York; you can tell that Selznick did a lot of research to make sure that he got all of the details in the museum right.  It was fun to read about this museum after visiting it back in May. Another theme throughout this story was being deaf and how you deal with it; both Rose and Ben have trouble hearing.  Again, you can tell that Selznick did a lot of research into deaf people and how teaching for deaf people has changed over time.

The story ends well and is wrapped up very nicely.  It is such a fun and creative way to tell a story that not only spans the ages, but is full of adventure and the message to follow your dreams.  Sleznick includes information on the research he did for this book and a full bibliography in the back; there was a lot of research done!

Overall I was very impressed with this book.  It is so well done.  The drawings are spectacular and tell a magical story that entwines nicely with the written story.  I loved how the stories are set in different eras but manage to mirror each other.  I loved how the story is about following your dreams and finding friends in unexpected places.  The research done to write this book was phenomenal too.   I will definitely be picking up Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret and any books he writes in the future.  This book is a keeper and highly recommended for all ages.

This book goes towards the following reading challenge:

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a really cool approach to telling the story. Very intriguing. I love when you can tell the author did a lot of research, too.