Genre: YA Fantasy Graphic Novel
From Brian Selznick, the creator of the Caldecott Medal winner THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, comes another breathtaking tour de force.
Playing with the form he created in his trailblazing debut novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick once again sails into uncharted territory and takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey.
Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother’s room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.
Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories–Ben’s told in words, Rose’s in pictures–weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder. Rich, complex, affecting, and beautiful–with over 460 pages of original artwork–Wonderstruck is a stunning achievement from a uniquely gifted artist and visionary.
After reading Selznick’s amazing novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I knew I had to read this one. I know of a few people who have read this and thought it was much, much better than Hugo, so I had to find out for myself.
Unfortunately, while I did like the book, it paled in comparison to Hugo!
Let’s start with what I loved. The whole outline of how the story is told, with main character Ben’s story being told in words, and a story about Rose from the 1920’s being told in pictures, was wonderful. The entire story flowed right from page one. There are no chapter breaks to break the flow, though the story is in three parts.
As in Hugo, the artwork is stunning. I really love Selznick’s attention to detail and how each group of pictures is drawn in such a way that it’s easy for the reader to know what to focus on. There were a few fun pictures where it was like a Where’s Waldo? drawing as I had fun finding the main character, Rose, from that story in the drawings.
I also really loved the characters in this story. Rose, Ben, and even Jamie, are all so wonderful. Rose and Ben have their similarities with one another and they both come from broken homes. All three of them have such spirit and determination. They really were great characters to read about.
Now, what I didn’t like. I thought the story was told at quite a slow pace. I had an inkling of what was going to happen, but it took a while for it to be revealed. Also, while the second story in the book is told in pictures, all of those pictures are explained later in the book, which seems like a waste of space — why have the pictures if they’re just going to be explained and told in detail later?
Another thing I didn’t like was the absence of parents. In Hugo, this happens, too, but in that story, the main character is orphaned. His main parental figure dies and he’s left all alone. In Wonderstruck, the main character, Ben, is also left alone from a deceased parents, but he does have an aunt and uncle. I was skeptical about Ben going to New York City ALL ALONE and nothing happening to him. While I know that this is fiction, I fear that the message will get across to kids that they can run away and do all of the same things Ben does and still be safe.
Still, while I didn’t enjoy this story, I feel that Brian Selznick’s novels are ones that will stay with me for a long time. They are beautiful and memorable and would make a great gift for any reader.
If you enjoy something different, I would say give this one a read. The alternating between a story in words and a story in pictures is refreshing and Brian Selznick is a really wonderful artist. While it doesn’t quite match the calibre of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck is still a great story.
Read More Reviews
© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.