Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck

The wolves are chasing him again... breathlessly Ben Wilson wakes up, his heart pounding. Looking around he realizes he is safe in his aunt and uncle's home. Ben's mother has recently been killed in a car accident and he never knew his father. Now, overhearing a conversation he realizes his own house is about to be put up for sale severing the link he has with his mother and his childhood. One night Ben sees a light on in the window of his house and he slips over to investigate. What follows is a journey that leads Ben to dealing with his own deafness, the loss of his mother and the possibility of finding the identity of his father . He carries with him a box filled with treasures.

Paralleling the journey of Ben is the wordless but powerfully portrayed story of Rose. Rose lives fifty years earlier than Ben, 1927, and is trapped in the upstairs of her home, a victim of her own deafness and the fears of her parents. Rose is fascinated by an actress/singer named Lillian Mayhew and she decides one day to escape from her prison and to make her way to the theater where she hopes to talk to the star. Rose's story is a silent film that unrolls page by page with powerful dramatic tension. The story of Ben told in narrative and the story of Rose told in pictures are told in alternating "voices" that weave eventually to an ending that offers more than just a grand finale. What is a museum? How much wonder do you notice in your own world and in your own self? Is each of us a Cabinet of Wonders? The book packs an additional punch by opening wide the world of those who do not hear but speak in the language of sign. How many children will follow their curiosity to learn sign language after seeing its power in this imaginative, sensitive tale?

629 pages 978-0545027892 Ages 8-11

Keywords: journey, deafness, loss, father/son, theater, alternating voices, individuality, wonder, finding yourself, 8 year old, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old

Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com

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In this groundbreaking tour de force, Caldecott Medalist and bookmaking pioneer Brian Selznick sails into uncharted territory and takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey.

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 mother's 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--Ben's told in words, Rose's 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 gifted artist and visionary.--from the publisher

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