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Wonderstruck (Schneider Family Book Award - Middle School Winner) Hardcover – September 13, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 332 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2011: In a return to the eye-popping style of his Caldecott-award winner,The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick’s latest masterpiece, Wonderstruck, is a vision of imagination and storytelling . In the first of two alternating stories, Ben is struck deaf moments after discovering a clue to his father’s identity, but undaunted, he follows the clue’s trail to the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City. Flash to Rose’s story, told simultaneously through pictures, who has also followed the trail of a loved one to the museum--only 50 years before Ben. Selnick’s beautifully detailed illustrations draw the reader inside the museum’s myriad curiosities and wonders, following Ben and Rose in their search for connection. Ultimately, their lives collide in a surprising and inspired twist that is breathtaking and life-affirming. --Seira Wilson


Select Praise for Wonderstruck :

* “Selznick's story has the makings of a kid-pleasing classic…Another illustrated novel that should cement his reputation as one of the most innovative storytellers at work today.” -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "The way that the stories of Ben and Rose echo one another, and then finally connect, is a thing of wonder to behold.” -- School Library Journal, starred review

* “A gift for the eye, mind, and heart.” -- Booklist, starred review

* “Visually stunning, completely compelling, Wonderstruck demonstrates a mastery and maturity that proves that, yes, lightning can strike twice.”  -- Kirkus, starred review

Awards and Distinctions for The Invention of Hugo Cabret :

2008 Randolph Caldecott Medal

National Book Award Finalist

#1 New York Times Bestseller

USA Today Bestseller

#1 BookSense Bestseller

Select Praise for The Invention of Hugo Cabret :

* "A true masterpiece." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Fade to black and cue the applause!" -- Kirkus, starred review

* "Complete genius." – The Horn Book Magazine, starred review

* "Breathtaking." -- School Library Journal, starred review

* "It's wonderful. Take that overused word literally: Hugo Cabret evokes wonder." -- New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Series: Schneider Family Book Award - Middle School Winner
  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545027896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545027892
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (332 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Brian Selznick grew up in New Jersey and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design in 1988. He worked for two years after graduation at Eeyore's Books for Children in New York City. His first book was published while he worked there.

Brian has also designed theater sets and worked as a professional puppeteer. His first book, The Houdini Box, was inspired by a fascination with the famous magician. He has illustrated both novels and picture books for other writers, including the Sibert Honor books, When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan and Walt Whitman: Words for America by Barbara Kerley. His illustrations for Barbara Kerley's The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins won a Caldecott Honor Award in 2002; and in 2008, his groundbreaking book The Invention of Hugo Cabret was awarded the Caldecott Medal. It was nominated for a National Book Award and was the basis for Martin Scorsese's Oscar winning film Hugo. His follow up illustrated novel, Wonderstruck, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Brian's next book, The Marvels, will be published in the fall of 2015. Brian divides his time between New York, and San Diego.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
At over 600 pages, Wonderstruck is, physically, a brick of a book but it is filled with poetry of intertwining prose and picture and will, hopefully, leave you as 'Wonderstruck' as it left me.

It is 1977 in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota, and Ben Wilson is a young boy who has lost his mother. He now lives with his well-meaning aunt and uncle who are struggling financially, sharing a room with a resentful and bullying cousin, Robby, and wishing for the one thing that he can never have. Robby, partially deaf, has grown up in the sheltered world created by his mom, a single mother and librarian who fed his fascination with outer space and covered their fridge with her favorite quotations, and she isn't coming back.

"The North Star was the last star in the tail of the Little Dipper, and the book said that travelers had used this star for centuries to find their way when they were lost.
"If you are ever lost," his mom said when he showed her the book, "just find the North Star and it will lead you home."
His mom smiled, and pointed to a bulletin board next to her desk. Unlike the refrigerator at home, it had just one quote taped to it.
Ben read it out loud: "'We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.'"
Because his mom was the town librarian, Ben was used to being surrounded by quotes from books, many of which he didn't fully understand. But this one struck him as particularly strange." (p.21-22)

One night, while looking up at the stars from the window of his cousin's room, Ben sees a light in his mother's window that, for him, is the beginning of a journey to find what has always been missing from his life.

Interspersed with Ben's story is that of a young girl, told only in pictures.
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Format: Hardcover
Many of my friends are just discovering Brian Selznick's book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, perhaps because of the movie coming out in a few months time. In that delightful tale, we are whisked away to a Parisian train station, a boy with a few secrets, an even more secretive marvelous machine, and the redemptive powers of it all. Selznick somehow managed to blend a few of my favorite things in that story (trains! silent movies! kids!) into quite a modern and engaging story. The question is: would lightening strike again? The answer is, I'm so happy to report, a resounding yes. "Wonderstruck" is a blessing, a marvel, another masterstroke from this author/artist.

In this book, we meet Ben, deaf in one ear, mourning the loss of his librarian mother from icy roads in Northern Minnesota in the 1970's. Living with aunt and uncle now, Ben longs to unlock many of his own mysteries, from his dreaming about wolves to the identity of his father. Ben starts his journey by returning one night to his house, in which going through his mother's things, he uncovers many things she had kept hidden from him, which soon launches his quest. In a second story, told not through text but pictures, we meet Rose, a girl living in 1920's New Jersey with views of New York City, who is starstruck by a silent film actress and longs to see her. Wonderstruck tells and shows the stories of these two people in ways that surprise and delight the reader through the story, none of which shall be revealed here.

Selznick does many things in this book that, beyond the marvelous story he tells, show true craftsmanship. First, as it was true with Hugo Cabret, his illustrations are heartfelt and glorious.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In 1977 in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota Ben's mother just died. Ben has to share a room with his annoying cousin who makes fun of him for being born deaf in one ear even though his old house--the cottage he shared with his mom--is right down the road. Ben is drawn back to the cottage as strongly as he is to the wolves that chase him in his dreams. When a clue about the father he's never met points to New York City, Ben knows he has to follow it.

In 1927, Rose is suffocating at home with her father in Hoboken, New Jersey. All Rose wants is to be able to go out by herself, like the other kids, and to watch Lillian Mayhew in silent films. When Rose learns that sound is coming to the movies and that Lillian Mayhew is starring in a play right across the river in New York City, how can she stay away?

Will New York City reveal its secrets for Ben and Rose? Will either of them find what they're searching for in Wonderstruck (2011) by Brian Selznick?

Wonderstruck is Selznick's second book told in words and pictures like his Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret. In this book Ben's story in words intertwines in surprising ways with Rose's story told through pictures.

Although the format is still brilliant and the story is once again clever and utterly original Wonderstruck lacks some of the verve and guileless charm of Hugo Cabret. The story is messier with a more immediate sense of loss and details that never tie together quite as neatly as they did in Selznick's earlier novel.*

New York's American Museum of Natural History plays a prominent role in this story adding a nice to dimension to the story that will make it especially appealing for some readers** but Wonderstruck felt very busy as though it was tackling too much in one book.
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