Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Brian Selznick weaves two fascinating stories: one told in prose and the other told in pictures; into a singularly beautiful story in Wonderstruck. Ben Wilson lives in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota in 1977; Rose Kincaid lives in Hoboken, New Jersey during 1927. Ben currently lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousins as his mother was killed in an automobile accident; he dreams of meeting his father whom he has never known. Rose lives with her father dreaming of meeting a beautiful actress, Lillian Mayhew, in New York, where she is able to see the skyline from her bedroom window. Ben finds a mysterious clue as to who his father is; Rose reads a headline from a paper while making a scrapbook of the actress; both of these incidences lead the characters to go on a quest to find what they are missing. They both also have one more thing in common, both are deaf.
I was very intrigued to read this book as I remembered many of my students in elementary read The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It was such a huge hit with the students, and I have not had a chance to read it as of yet. I was a little skeptical when I bought this book though, as I have discovered that graphic novels are not my forte. But I must say, this book was excellent! Ben’s story is told in prose and Rose’s story is told through illustrations. The illustrations are elegantly done; Selznick beautifully weaves each story together masterfully. As it is told in both formats, it is a very quick read (which was one of the reasons a lot of my elementary students loved Hugo), but it is also extremely mesmerizing. I would recommend this book to many readers, from upper elementary to high schoolers and beyond. Even though I believe his audience is more geared towards middle schoolers, I can see older students enjoying this beautiful story also.