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

4.7 out of 5 stars 345 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

Review

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; F 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 (345 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Hiller VINE VOICE on September 17, 2011
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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Format: Hardcover
Two stories, set fifty years apart; interwoven. One told through pictures and the other told through words.

The first story is of Ben, a young boy in the 1977 who just lost his mother and sets out to look for his father. The second story follows Rose, a young girl from 1927's New Jersey who sets out to look for her idol, a movie star.

Both children's search take them to New York City. Both children - deaf - are struggling to find what they are looking for in a world where hearing is normal and sometimes taken for granted. In a sense, they end up mirroring each other's search and face similar hardships. How their lives intertwine in the end, though I was able to guess, was still very bittersweet.

I enjoyed the illustrations immensely. Brian Selznick sets out to tell a story through his pictures and he succeeds. The details in some of the pictures were amazing. I found myself looking forward to Rose's story even though I loved reading Ben's.

Brian also gives the reader a glimpse into Deaf culture, a culture that I've never experienced, and opened my eyes to a different lifestyle. I appreciated the way he told the story, giving the reader a glimpse into a world that some might not be familiar with. The story also echos with the longing we all have to belong somewhere, to be a part of something.

Wonderstruck is, at it's core, a story of acceptance and community. It's quite relatable and because of this, I think many people will enjoy reading it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was torn between turning the 637 pages of Wonderstruck as fast as I could to find out what happens next and wanting to linger over the marvelous illustrations. Wonderstruck is a book meant to be experienced over and over again, at the very least so that one can pore over every intricate detail of the artwork.

I love the way the alternating stories are told: one purely in image and one purely in prose until they merge towards the end. I kept trying to figure out how the two individual narratives set in different eras would eventually come together to form one story but Selznick successfully kept me in delighted suspense throughout the novel. Selznick is undoubtedly a unique alchemist of word and image but Wonderstruck also has its poignant substance.

The two protagonists, Ben and Rose, are lonely and in search of belonging to some place or to someone. In Ben's case (1977), his beloved mother just died and he is lost without her. In Rose's case (1927), she idolizes a famous actress, Lillian Mayhew, and keeps a scrapbook of her life. Their situations keep them isolated, even from well-meaning family members. Each decides to run away: Ben, to find the father he never met and Rose, to see Lillian Mayhew. Their journeys take them to that wonderland for kids of all ages: New York, and in a place that sets imaginations afire: The American Museum of Natural History.

As to what happens next, this is the only hint I'm going to give: In the afterword Selznick acknowledges that he was very much inspired by E.L. Konigsburg's The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and sprinkled references throughout Wonderstruck, daring the reader to find them. Another excuse to reread.)

"Ben remembered reading about curators...
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