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Wonderstruck: 02/19/12

cover art

Wonderstruck is Brian Selznick's second graphic novel hybrid. It uses gorgeous full spread illustrations to tell the 1927 story of Rose, a girl who wants to get to New York City, and chapters to tell the 1977 story of Ben who is also on a journey to New York. Like The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck is a thick but quick read.

The book opens with Ben's recurring nightmare of wolves chasing him over the frozen lake. It has been plaguing him since his mother's recent death. While most of Ben's story is told in text, this opening nightmare is done in Selznick's dramatic black and white drawings.

Most of his almost cinematic illustrations tell Roses's story. Quickly we learn that she is fascinated by the Manhattan skyline and has created a miniature version of it out of paper. Second we learn that she is a fan of a certain silent movie star at the time that silent movies are being phased out in favor of sound.

Mixed into all of this is a brief history of Deaf culture, the New York World Fair, silent movies, and museums. It's jumbled but logical. It's also heart breaking and charming.

There are nods to a number of books in Wonderstruck. The one that jumped out most for me was Hands of My Father by Myron Uhlberg. The full list of books that inspired or aided in the creation of Wonderstruck are included in the afterword.

Recommended by @DeandraBookLove

Five stars

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Monday, February 20, 2012 at 01:23:49


Now this review got my attention.

Comment #2: Monday, February 20, 2012 at 19:27:12


Great! I hope you get a chance to read the book.

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