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Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
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Wonderstruck (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Brian Selznick

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,5951754,560 (4.35)150
Member:srearley
Title:Wonderstruck
Authors:Brian Selznick
Info:Scholastic Press (2011), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 608 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:2012, favorites, middle-grade

Work details

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (2011)

  1. 60
    From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (bell7)
  2. 61
    The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (Unoriginality)
    Unoriginality: Same author. Filled with many beautiful illustrations like in Wonderstruck. In my opinion it is superior to Wonderstruck.
  3. 10
    Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (kaledrina)
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English (174)  French (1)  All languages (175)
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
Ben lives alone at Gunflint Lake, Minnesota, and has dreams of wolves, running with him, chasing him, but somehow he’s not terrified by them. He doesn’t really live alone, but he’s had to move in with his Aunt, Uncle and cousins since his mother died, and he never had a father. They try to be kind, but Ben really wants to go back to his own home, even though it’s empty. One night he does, and discovers some of his mother’s treasures, including a letter and a bookmark from a store in New York City, with a message that intrigues him. He tries to call the store, but is caught in a lightning storm, and his eardrum is blasted – and he could only hear out of that ear in the first place. It doesn’t take long for him to escape from the hospital and set off on a quest to find his father, for he’s convinced that is who wrote that note to meet his mother at the bookstore.

Meanwhile, in pictures (I don’t just mean pictures, I mean the most wonderful pencil illustrations I can admire and treasure ) we find Rose, a deaf girl hidden away by her parents, one of whom is a famous silent screen actress – yes we have shifted back a few years. Rose also rebels against captivity and escapes, only for her it is across Hoboken Sound rather than across half the country.

How their stories develop and eventually mingle is part of Wonderstruck, but it is so much more.

In many ways the stories are very simple. The way they are told and the presentation that mixes words and pictures, makes it deliciously complex. I love the detail, not only of the illustrations (ah! the museum exhibition, the skeletons, the cityscapes, the dioramas!) but of the small items that link one person’s life with another’s. If there really is such a model of the city in Queens Art Museum, I want to visit it. These descriptions gave me a tingle such as I haven’t felt from a book for years. So much to discover about the art of curating, it opened a whole new world to me – and I’ve seen the collection of insects behind the scenes at London’s Natural History Museum so I ought to be more aware.

The tingle extends to the concept of curating one’s own life. This has deep meaning and it’s something that perhaps everyone should give some thought to, if they haven’t already. Decluttering is one thing, but small items have meaning for who we are, where we have come from.

The theme of Deaf Culture also runs deeply through this book. I’ve known deaf people all my life, yet it was only when I read Wrinkle in Time that I considered the issue of perceptions of a world if everyone is born deaf. In this book most of those we meet have had hearing at some stage, and I would argue that there is a difference, but the fact that deafness still puts up unseen barriers between people is something worth bringing forward for open discussion, and I think this book does an excellent job of raising awareness of many issues.

It’s not a perfect book, but it’s delightful and compelling, and I feel richer for the experience of reading it, as will children of all ages, deaf or hearing. ( )
  Jemima_Pett | Nov 11, 2014 |
Not one to embrace graphic novels, this book surprised me. I love it! Selznick is an incredible artist, and wonderful story teller.

The primary setting is the New York City Natural History Museum, one of my all-time favorite places to visit since I went on a school trip there in third grade.

Through two characters, Ben, a young man who never knew his father, and recently lost his mother, and Rose, now elderly who discovers that Ben is her grandson.

The illustrations are lush. The story of Ben and Rose, both deaf, both longing for family, is beautifully told.

Highly recommended.

Five Stars. ( )
1 vote Whisper1 | Nov 5, 2014 |
I'm not usually one for books with pictures. I really can't stand graphic novels. This book didn't bother me though. The pictures just added another element to the story that made it a beautiful read. ( )
  Verkruissen | Nov 5, 2014 |
(5.4)
  mshampson | Oct 31, 2014 |
READ IN DUTCH

Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

I've been struggling to shelf this book, as I usually try to do so by genre or what made the book special. But how do you even start to describe a book that part novel and part graphic novel? I've shelved it for now with the graphic novels, in the hope I'll one day find a better solution, because that was the part that made this book very special for me.

I haven't read The Invention of Hugo Cabret yet, but when my sister brought Wonderstruck home, I knew I really wanted to read it. And I'm very glad I did. I won't tell too much about the story, because it is so wonderful to see and find out for yourself. Ben, deaf in one ear who's never known his father but wants to find him, tells his story through words, whereas Rose's story is told in pictures.

The novel is over 600 pages, but a lot of them are pictures, so this book is very readable (also for younger children). You can easily read the book in a single afternoon, if you wish. I was immediately sucked into the story and couldn't stop reading it. It's a very original and beautifully written children's book. (Of course, if you want to, you could comment on the storyline that's not always completely realistic, but I like to look to this book more as a modern fairy tale, more as an Noah Barleywater).

Some of the pictures were really beautiful, I especially like some of the close-ups of Rose. One minor comment, I read the Dutch translation, and some (most) of the text was translated from the pictures, however, sometimes, in one screen the text was translated and in the next it wasn't. That felt slightly off, and a bit lazy. But nonetheless, it's a very special book, half words, half pictures. I'd recommend it! ( )
  Floratina | Sep 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
The two stories come together at the climax of the book, which manages to incorporate an impressive array of heartfelt issues: everything from education for the deaf to friendship, love of collecting, conservation, memories and dioramas. As I turned the pages my heart was well and truly warmed in that way beloved of a certain type of American children's literature – earnest, life affirming, educational, and impossible to dislike. Reaching the end I leafed back through the 460 pages of Wonderstruck, admiring the pictures, all thoughts of my daughter now banished. Honestly, Brian, I do know how you can be bothered.
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brian Selznickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kreloff, CharlesDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saylor, DavidDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Sooner or later, the lightning comes to us all."

-Gregory Maguire
'A lion among men'
Dedication
This book is dedicate to Maurice Sendak
First words
Something hit Ben Wilson and he opened his eyes.
Quotations
He discovered a small blue book, its covers soft and creased with age. On the front, the title was stamped in black letters: WONDERSTRUCK. He flipped through the pages. The book was about the history of museums. On the back it said: Published by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York.
Ben remembered reading about curators in Wonderstruck, and thought about what it meant to curate your own life, as his dad had done here. What would it be like to pick and choose the objects and stories that would go into your own cabinet? How would Ben curate his own life? And then, thinking about his museum box, and his house, and his books, and the secret room, he realized he’d already begun doing it. Maybe, thought Ben, we are all cabinets of wonders.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Ben et Rose aimeraient bien que leur vie soit différente . Ben vient de perdre sa mere . Rose rêve d'une mystérieuse actrice . Un jour Ben découvre dans la chambre de sa mère , un indice qui l'intrigue . Un jour Rose lit dans la presse un article qui la fascine . Dès lors , chacun part en quête de son identité... à New York ! Mais Ben vit en 1977 et Rose en 1927...
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Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City, and meets there Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben's story is told in words; Rose's in pictures.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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