Wonderstruck & The Giveaway

I read Brian Selznick’s newest book, Wonderstruck, in a matter of days.  I could have read it in a sitting but I happened to have a lot on my plate that weekend.  Selznick creates a wonderful new book.  This time he experiments with the idea of telling two different (but in many ways parallel) stories: one in text and one in pictures.  The story told in all words is set in 1977 and is about a young boy, Ben, searching for his father.  The story told in all illustrations follows a young deaf girl named Rose, set in 1927.  The two kids, at different times, runaway to The Museum of Natural History in search of meaning, answers, and most importantly, family.  The illustrations are amazing and captivating.  Reading/understanding a story in illustration about a deaf girl forced me to listen to the silence.  I don’t know if that makes sense so let me try to explain:

When I read I tend to listen to words being said in my head.  This might be why I read so slow, but I can’t help it – I just read that way.  When I look at images, specifically ones that come together to tell a story, I hear nothing in my head.  There is silence.  I discovered this to be the case with the amazing illustrative story The Arrival by Shaun Tan.  By reading a story through illustration, completely void of words, I was able to inhabit the mind and world of the deaf, specifically of one deaf girl, Rose.  I saw the museum and the city the way she did and it was quiet.

Rose and Ben’s stories merge together in an unforeseeable twist that speaks of family, redemption, and love.  I really enjoyed this book.  Brian Selznick is a gifted illustrator and his research into Deaf Culture created a realistic story.  I only have one concern when it comes to Brian Selznick and his storytelling, specifically in Wonderstruck, and that is with his text.  I love the parallel stories in this book, but I did gravitate towards the illustrative story.  I felt quite sympathetic towards Ben, but looking back I felt Ben and the characters (literally) written fell a little flat.  Just a little!  I wanted more character from these characters.  I already cared about their story and so I wanted Ben to have a bit more personality.  Sometimes I felt like I wanted to rush to Rose’s story and perhaps Selznick wanted to rush to her story as well.  I actually would have loved an entire book about her life and about Deaf Culture all told in illustrations.  I am being a little hard on Wonderstruck, but that is only because I did enjoy it so much and, therefore, I scrutinized the parts I wanted more from.

It could also have been because I was listening to an audiobook about two other museum runaway kids — From the Mixed-Up FIles of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.  Oh, man, was this book fantastic!!  Konigsburg is a master storyteller and she creates some darn wonderful characters.  The kids in this book are smart, hilarious, and complicated.  The book came out in 1967 and, aside from some outdated references to the cost of goods, it has held the test of time.  I adored the brother, Jaime, and sister, Claudia, relationship.  The two were smarter beyond their years.  They run away and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art where they sleep in antique beds and bathe in the fountain.  If you have not read this book yet, then you really, really must!!  You should also read Wonderstruck!  Other than that one, tiny minor critique, I adored Selznick’s newest book.  I also can’t wait to see the movie Hugo.

Speaking of the movie, Hugo, it is time for me to announce the winner of my first Giveaway Schmiveaway!!!  All contestants were placed in a hat and then one lucky individual was chosen at random.

And the winner is………

Erik!  The blogger of This Kid Reviews Books!

Erik, please email me at readschmead@yahoo.com with your address so that I can send you the signed Hugo poster.

Thank you so much to everyone who left comments and subscribed!  Don’t worry if you didn’t win because I have a bunch of other goodies to giveaway for the next few months.  Giveaways to come in no particular order: an Oliver Jeffers book, signed copy of Maggie Stiefvater’s book The Scorpio Races, signed books by Andrew Smith, and many more!!

Wonderstruck:

Age Group: 9 and up
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary Fiction
Themes: Family, Friendship, Loss, Deaf Culture
Publisher: Scholastic

From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler:

Age Group: 9 and up
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary Fiction
Themes: Family, Friendship, Discovery
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

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2 Comments

Filed under Giveaway Schmiveaway, Middle Grade Books

2 responses to “Wonderstruck & The Giveaway

  1. WAHOO!! I was reading your review and then read, I won!!! Thank you! I will email you my address 🙂 Great review of Wonderstruck 🙂 I am going to put “From the Mixed-Up FIles of Mrs. Basil E.” on my reading list!

  2. Fantastic review, and I felt the same way while reading Hugo Cabret. I loved the words, but the illustrations made me digest the story in such a different way. From the Mixed-Up FIles of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler sounds like a fun read as well. Congrats to Erik for winning!

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