Scholastic Press, $29.99, 460 pages
Literature and art collide forming a new genre that others will eventually mimic in Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck. The novel, geared toward teen and Young Adult readers, assembles drawings, text, and what appears to be a silent film, creating a hefty book that will definitely draw interest.
After watching a documentary about deaf culture, author Brian Selznick was struck by a description of silent film to talkies and how that transition transformed the silver screen and virtually cut off the art form from the deaf population. Drawing from that example, Selznick blended past and present events and came up with this beautiful treasure.
The story tells two tales set fifty years apart. Ben’s story begins in Minnesota in 1977 and is related via text. Rose’s account, told in stunning, detailed, black-and-white drawings, takes place in New Jersey during 1927. Eventually, the two narratives merge into one plotline that may have older readers thinking “What are the odds?” Younger readers may not notice the huge leap of faith expected by the reading audience.
Secrets and mystery weave through the tale. But what genuinely sets Selznick’s work apart from other graphic novels are the double-page drawings that are packed with detail. I found myself lingering over each drawing, taking in the attention to detail. Honestly, the drawings and the book’s concept are what sold me.