Sunday, 11 September 2011

Brian Selznick - Wonderstruck - Book Review

book cover of 

Wonderstruck 

by

Brian Selznick

  •  Pages - 640 
  • Published by Scholastic   
  • Date - 13 September 2011
  • Age - 9+
  • Isbn -  978 0 545 02789 2 
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.     


'Wonderstruck' is yet another amazing reading experience just like Brian's last book 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret'. This book has won many prestigious awards and has had glowing reports from many a reader since its original publication date. 


I actually remember purchasing my first copy in New York. At the time, I remember being in Books of Wonder and thinking that this book was something quite special. Its design first piqued my interest and, as soon as I entered the main part of the book, the story was equally as good. Especially through the way in which it was told, and represented, through the amazingly detailed and unique illustrations. 


In my opinion, Brian will be replicating the very same success with his new book Wonderstruck. He has produced yet another amazing story - it is a master piece of pictures and words telling two separate stories. However, these weave back and forth from two time periods (signalling 50 years difference) and follow the two main characters (Ben and Rose) who are both looking for a place to belong in the world. 


The drawings that follow the character of Rose are depicted in a most spectacular way. The two-tone illustrations leap off the page and share the intense emotional journey that she undertakes. These are delivered in a panoramic-style film technique showing, and building up to, scenes which share powerful glimpses into her world and her adventures. 


The second story is told through text and whilst it follows a similar journey, this time it is with a different character, Ben. Again, this poignant telling through the eyes of a child show Ben longing to belong in the world. In order to achieve this, he attempts to get in touch with the father that he has never known. Of course, this journey provides many magical moments steeped in awe and wonder, as well as friendship and loneliness. However, the final clue leads him to an unexpected discovery.


It is worth mentioning that this book is perhaps a more chunky read than most books. It comprises of approximately 640 pages! However, it is important to remember that these pages include many amazing illustrations which make up the bulk of the book. Therefore, do not be put off by the size - it takes far less time than you would think to read. The author's extensive research contributes to the accurate and interesting information that he provides between the two stories. 


If I was to find myself in New York again this week, I would be purchasing another bag or suitcase in which to bring a copy back with me. It would be worth every penny of the extra baggage costs that this would entail. In fact, this has set me wondering about a possible last minute trip over to Books of Wonder for the launch party on the 13th September . . . . . if only!
                          
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