Rated Best Children's Book of 2011 by BookBrowse Members
When you pick up Brian Selznick's Wonderstruck
, make sure you have several hours in which to read it, because you aren't going to want to put it down until you are done. You won't be able
to put it down. You'll tell yourself, "I'll put it down right when I get to the end of Ben's chapter." But then Ben's chapter will open out into a montage of Rose's drawings, silently interleaved into his words. The action in the two stories perfectly mirror each other. For instance, in 1927 Rose watches a silent film in which a woman is caught in a thunderstorm, and just as a lightning bolt flashes on the screen, the action switches back to Ben in 1977, where a lightning strike has just knocked out the power. A few pages later, Ben gets struck by lightning and loses his hearing, while at the same time, Rose...
Beyond the Book
Brian Selznick has said that one of his inspirations for Wonderstruck
was the documentary Through Deaf Eyes
, and the knowledge that the transition from silent movies to "talkies" was disastrous for deaf people. Cinema had been a way for deaf people to record their stories in sign language, as well as participate in mass culture through a shared visual medium. It gave deaf actors the opportunity to play both deaf and hearing characters. The Jazz Singer
changed all of that in 1927. It was the first feature film with dialogue and singing synchronized with the action. By 1929, the transition to sound was mostly complete. Despite activism by the National Association for the Deaf, the Motion Picture Association of America does not require captioning for...