I just finished Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick! My mind is racing, and all of my thoughts are not in order over this spectacular book. However, I am afraid if I don’t write right now I will never put down those thoughts in writing. Awestruck comes first. Through out the book I constantly stopped and re-read sections to take in the beauty of Mr. Selznick’s prose and illustrations. I know my writing will not do justice to this book.
Wonderstruck is a story told in text and illustration. It is a hybrid novel, picture book and graphic novel. Unfortunately, these labels do not do truly fit this book. There are two principle characters in the story. The section on Ben is done in text and takes place in 1977, and the section on Rose is done in illustrations and is set in 1927. Eventually the two stories collide.
The inside flap says, “both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.” We the readers are fortunate to travel with them on their quests. At the end we are get as much out of the journey as Ben and Rose.
I use Hugo Cabret in my higher guided book clubs because Mr. Selznick ability as a storyteller makes students slow down and REALLY think about what they are reading, and everything is not always as it seems. I will use this book the same way. It will be easy to challenge students to find the clues of how the characters are connected. What type of items would they put in their own wonder cabinet? What will I put in my wonder cabinet?
Sorry for jumping all over the place, but I am excited about this book because I have a new student that is severely hearing impaired and I can’t wait to share this book with M and her mom.
To stop my ramblings I will end with just a couple more thoughts about Wonderstruck. First, one of the reasons I am passionate about getting children to read is, so they can experience books like this. Second, this book is for people 8 and above. (YES adults must read this book.) Finally, Brian Selznick should come to the CCIRA Conference!
Wonderstruck is nominated for the CYBILS in the graphic novel. I did not receive a copy from the publisher, but it is worth the $30.