Monday, October 10, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Wonderstruck

I have never (ever) had such trouble writing about a book as I did with this review of Wonderstruck, which released last month and is written and illustrated by Brian Selznick. And you certainly don't want me to illustrate my thoughts, as Selznick is so superb at doing. And this book received so much publicity already that it absolutely does not need me to spread word about it, but after reading it - no - experiencing it, I had to review it. But each time I drafted a review, I sounded like a bad echo of the book jacket. What I decided was this book is so unlike any other, even unlike Selznick's Caldecott-winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret, that my words got tumbled in a jumbled mess. Humbling. But I'll do my best....

The premise: 1977, Gunflint Lake, Minnesota. When Ben's mother dies, he finds a clue in her room about the father he has never known. 1927, Hoboken, New Jersey. Rose discovers a headline in the newspaper concerning an actress she accounts in her scrapbook. Ben's clue and Rose's headline lead them on a journey for answers, a journey which they embark upon alone, fifty years apart.

What keeps readers reading: Selznick's revolutionary blend of words and pictures, used separately, but which weave one tale. Ben's story (told in words) and Rose's story (told through pictures) flow back and forth but unite in a surprising and beautiful way. As Ben and Rose's story intertwine and become the same story, Brian Selznick's use of words and pictures blends also. No longer do the words tell one story and the pictures another, the words and pictures fuse into one tale. Wonderstruck makes readers ponder the connections people hold with one another and fills readers with the wonder of time, love, friendship, and family. Read - no - experience this story for yourself and be struck with wonder at it.

Other MMGMers recommendations:
Follow the links in my right sidebar ~~~~~~~>

Happy middle grade reading!

20 comments:

  1. Your review is great. I hadn't heard much about this yet. Where have I been? It sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing about it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This sounds like a great book. I will definitely check it out!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hadn't heard of this one. Thanks for the recommendation!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh! Good! I thought in reviewing this one, it would be one everyone had heard of and maybe already even read. Glad to hear I actually AM spreading word about it. Check it out. My words DO NOT do it justice.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nice review, Barbara! I thought of reviewing this weeks ago, but figured everyone else would jump on it first. Selznick is really breaking new ground with every novel. This could even set some records by winning a Newbery AND a Caldecott. What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice review. It does sound like an EXPERIENCE. I can see it becoming a movie, just like Hugo Cabret.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Joanne, I can see this winning both. It so excellently fits each award!

    Michael, it would make a stunning movie.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm excited to check it out. Great review.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Don't worry Barabara, you are spreading the word to people who don't know about this book. Hugo Cabret was already on my "to read" list and now I'm adding this one too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes! Read it! Read it! Notice all those exclamation points. As Joanne pointed out, Selznick is ground-breaking once again.

    (Jennifer and Danika, I'm adding you to my MMGM list on the right!)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anything groundbreaking right now is a huge accomplishment. It's tough to be original with so many good middle grade books out there. Looking forward to reading both of them . . . (now all I need is a 2 month vacation on a deserted island so I can get through my to-read list.)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh, and thanks for the link! I guess that means I'm committed to doing this on a regular basis now. :-)

    I added as many MGMers as I could find to a separate page on my blog because my right hand column is a packrat nest of links right now. must clean up someday.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow, I've been hearing so much about this book--I mean, Books of Wonder changed its name for the launch! I've asked for a copy for my birthday, can't wait.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow, you did a good job intriguing me, between the premise and the "what keeps you reading". I love it when stories involve two different timelines, this is definitely going on my list to read!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Amie, what an awesome birthday present that would be!

    Margo, yay! I did my job!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Cannot wait to read this one. It's in my pile! The author does magic with this style of book. Loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret...!

    ReplyDelete
  17. It is truly amazing. I LOVED it! And you did a nice job reviewing a book that is so unique.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi! Stopped by from Michael G-G's blog. Thought the Selznick book looked pretty awesome as well!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I opened this book with an almost giddy feeling of anticipation, knowing I'd love it but not knowing quite what to expect. It's more fun if you don't know too much, so I'll try to share my excitement without revealing plot details.

    ReplyDelete

Comments. Yay! They're almost as good as chocolate. Almost.