Kids Book Review: Wonderstruck

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Scholastic Canada
age 8-12
by Brian Selznick
641 pages

Synopsis from Scholastic:

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 uniquely gifted artist and visionary.

At first glance, Wonderstruck looked like an intense read, until you open the book. The book actually tells two stories, simultaniously. That may sound confusing but how the author has done it is genious. One story is written; the other is told through illustration. Both run together in the book. I love this use of illustration, not as an aide to the words in the story, but as the words. It’s wonderful and the story is so clear. As Ben’s story unfolds, the story of a girl from an early timeframe also develops, until the two stories connect. It’s amazing to see that the visual story is just as moving as the written one.

Presentation aside, Wonderstruck is a great story. The story of two kids, looking for answers and trying to find happiness, is one kids can relate too and are intrigued by. The fact that it spans 50 years, showing that although times are different, kids are the same and have the same internal struggles and questions about who they are and what sort of life is meant for them. I read sections of it to my kids each night, well past bedtime.

You can add Wonderstruck to your personal library by visiting your local book store or visiting Scholastic. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations. What are you reading with your kids?

I have to thank Nikole at Scholastic Canada for my review copy.

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