Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck

by Brian Selznick
Publisher: Scholastic Press
First Edition, ©2011, ISBN: 9780545027892
Hardcover, 608 pages
List Price: $29.99 Our Price: $25.00

Wonderstruck is the story of a boy named Ben, set in 1977. It's also the story of a girl named Rose, set fifty years earlier in 1927.

Ben's story is told in words. He is deaf in one ear, has just lost his mother, and has never known his father. After finding some clues to his father's whereabouts in his mother's belongings—including a book about museums, called Wonderstruck—he runs away to New York City to find his father.

Rose's story is told in pictures, and not just as a stylistic choice—Rose is deaf. She lives with her father in a big empty house and keeps a scrapbook of the silent film star Lillian Mayhew. Silent films are the only place she feels like she fits in, but when her theater introduces talking pictures she realizes that she is out of place once more. In desperation she runs off to New York City in search of her mother—or in search of someone who will help her find where she belongs.

Rose's plight as a lonely deaf girl is vividly conveyed through the silent illustrations. Her world is a world without words, except for those she writes with her pen and paper. Ben's experience in the hearing world, as well as the necessary backstory his thoughts provide, nicely balance out the other half of the book. Yet it is when their stories come together that the book is at its most powerful.

Wonderstruck uses the same technique that Brian Selznick introduced in his previous book, but in a way that is more poignant and emotional than The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It deals with loneliness, with longing for love, with the isolation of being deaf and the importance of loving those who are. Creative, soulful, yet still whimsical, Wonderstruck is as beautiful as its predecessor, but is stronger both thematically and emotionally.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
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Summary: Ben and Rose's stories, fifty years apart, are told in parallel in words and pictures.

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