Rated Best Children's Book of 2011 by BookBrowse Members
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 mothers 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--Bens told in words, Roses 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.
Ben leaned against Robby's windowsill until it made a red line across his chest. He watched the clouds roll in. He thought about the times when the aurora borealis, the northern lights, appeared in the night sky. Everyone along the lake would call one another, no matter what time it was, so they could watch the strange shimmering curtains vibrating above them. Even though his mom had quit smoking two summers ago, Ben vividly remembered the smell of her cigarettes as they stood outside. She'd cross her arms and blow the smoke out the side of her mouth. When the air was cold enough, Ben would cross his arms and blow his foggy breath out the side of his mouth as well, which always made her laugh. Then she would open her jacket so Ben could stand inside it with her, and for hours they would stare heavenward at the beautiful colors in the sky.
A sudden streak of light interrupted Ben's memory. Wide-eyed, he watched from the ledge of Robby's window as a shooting ...
Like The Invention of Hugo Cabret, this will be an instantly successful book for children and adults...It is built on the bones of several quite sturdy ideas—about deaf culture, about museums and collections, about missing parents and lonely, fiercely intelligent children—but it moves by emotion. Sometimes Selznick's art is dazzling in its textured complexity, as when he portrays the historically accurate interior of the AMNH, and other times, it is the simplicity of a single image that startles the eye and the heart. The end of the book is a pure triumph.
(Reviewed by Amy Reading).
Full Review (911 words).
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 ...
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