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Wonderstruck by B. Selznick

Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck. New York: Scholastic Press, 2011. Print.

A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Art and Design, Brian Selznick is an illustrator of children’s books and a professional puppeteer. He has received a Caldecott Honor Award for his illustrations in Barbara Kerley’s The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins. In 2008, Selznick’s bestselling novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, was awarded a Caldecott Medal.

Wonderstruck, a book aimed at readers aged 9 and older, tells the story of two children from two different time periods. A boy who has recently lost his mother finds a mysterious clue that leads him in search of his father. In a parallel storyline taking place 50 years earlier, a deaf girl runs away from home, seeking a famous actress. Each child’s quest eventually leads to New York’s American Museum of Natural History where they discover the wonders it contains.

Following the format used in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, beautiful black and white illustrations combine with vivid descriptions and an engaging story. Selznick skillfully alternates between the two storylines and weaves them together. The hybrid of text and images will appeal to readers who enjoy visual aspects of the graphic novel genre. Readers who revelled in the museum intrigue of E.L. Konigsberg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will find this book a treat.

Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Maria Tan

Maria is a Public Services Librarian at the University of Alberta’s H. T. Coutts Education Library. She enjoys travelling and visiting unique and far-flung libraries. An avid foodie, Maria’s motto is, “There’s really no good reason to stop the flow of snacks”.