I adored The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian’s Caldecott winning, form-innovating, ground-breaking novel told in text and pictures. I have been waiting for Wonderstruck with both happy anticipation and a slight dosage of anxiety: what IF it is not as good? What if it feels like the author has set a trap for himself and cannot top his last achievement? Would I be as taken by this story as the mysterious tale of Hugo? Would I feel that it is merely a repeat of what he already did once and since it is such a singular and unique format, it might not bear the weight of a second attempt…
I am so pleased that the book is not at all these What Ifs… Instead, it tells a fascinating and moving story succinctly and attractively with text and pictures. And instead of a novelty, it might start a different kind of storytelling form for others who are similarly minded and have suitable tales to present in this way.
I did so want to SEE Ben’s story, though. I was craving pictures for his part of the tale! That, to me, is a strength of the book: I can see how young people can be compelled to “illustrate” parts of the text. Others might be inspired to curate a personal “Cabinet of Wonder” (a personal museum.) And all of us will learn to appreciate all the connections that we make throughout our lives with others.
The release date of the book is September 13th, a day after the start of the year at my school, and I can’t wait to have it on display to herald a year of reading with a wonderful new book for all my students! Let’s shout HURRAY together for another tour de force by Brian Selznick!