This past week, I read Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick and I have to say, I was blown away. The story like The Invention of Hugo Cabret is told in Pencil drawn pictures and words. Where Hugo Cabret needed both the words and the pictures to carry on the story, this book tells the story of a young man named Ben all in words and uses the pictures to tell the story of a young Girl named Rose. Ben’s story
takes place in the present where he is trying to cope with life since his mother has passed away. One night he finds some information about his father he never met and the same evening is struck by lightning and loses his hearing. Rose’s story is set in the past where she is a lonely deaf child who knows her mother, but is ignored. As we read along their stories only seem to have protagonists being deaf in common. But as the pictures and words converge toward the end of the book we find that this is not the only commonality that the stories hold.
I enjoyed this book more than Hugo Cabret, which I liked and thought the story was good, but I never really empathized with the characters. I found Wonderstruck more compelling and the characters more to my liking. Both Rose and Ben are likable, characters who I could understand and relate too. The peripheral characters in this book help the story along very well; however there is one character that reminded me of Hugo Cabret in that he has a secret room where he should not. I don’t know if Brian Selznick wrote this character and sequence into the book as an inside joke for people who enjoyed Hugo or not, but it reminded me of a passage or two from the Caldecott Winner.
I would highly recommend this book, and actually think that if Hugo Cabret won the Caldecott, this in my opinion should win it also. Because where the pictures in his other novel helped the story along, in this one they tell more than half the story. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it is considered for a Newberry, the story is that good.
Click here for more information about Wonderstruck.