When I heard that Brian Selznick was coming out with a new book called Wonderstruck, I was excited beyond belief. In one sitting, we’ve just finished all 600 something pages of Wonderstruck, written and illustrated by Brain Selznick and let me just say it didn’t disappoint.
He is a master storyteller entertwining two stories. The first is about a young deaf girl rose, told only in beautifully illustrated pictures. The second, about an orphan boy Ben, told only in words. Set 50 years apart, Rose in 1927 and Ben in 1977, both characters flee to New York City in search of answers to deep seeded questions and to find a sense of belonging.
Like many of us, Brian Selznick, was inspired as a child by the book “ The Mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.” Wonderstruck fulfills our need once again to hid in a museum without being discovered. The museum this time, however, is the Museum of Natural History in NYC. Living in a long forgotten room of collected treasures, Ben learns the meaning of what is important to hold onto while he searches for news about his father.
As each story unfolds and captures our attention, the two stories brilliantly come together towards the end and become one. How does one family sit for an entire evening reading 600 pages? I have to say it is the talent of Brian Selznick which keeps us turning every page. Each page is a cliff hanger of sorts and one cannot leave the story hanging, so we kept turning pages until the very end of the book. Brian Selznick does this masterfully by drawing his images from far off and then gradually brings them in very close. His eye for details in both text and pictures is superb.
Like all classics, and Yes I believe Wonderstruck as well as The Invention of Hugo Cabret to be in that ranking; a good story doesn’t end with the closing of the book. It lives on in our conversations, and for us our adventures. We have happily lived inside the pages of Wonderstruck , recreating and discovering many new and wonderful explorations.
Before we get into Somethings to Do, I wanted to share Brian Selznick speaking about Wonderstruck .
Somethings to Do~
Visit a Natural History Museum
If you happen to be in New York City, there is no better place to visit than The American Museum of Natural History, the very museum in the book. There are wonderful natural history museums all over the United States and the world for that matter. One of the most intriguing things about a natural history museum is that they show off collections from the natural world. Rocks, dinosaurs, cultures, bugs, animals, etc. All of which are collected in curiosity cabinets or shadow boxes.
Make Your Own Curiosity Cabinet
All of us have collections of some kind. Maybe you collect stamps from around the world, money, rocks, bottle caps, buttons or anything at all. One fantastic way to display your collections is in a curiosity cabinet or a shadow box. Here’s how to create your very own and here’s a little history and a wonderful resource.
Make Your Museum Exhibit
Have a museum exhibit. Once your curiosity cabinets are finished, have a family get together or invite your friends to come and display their collections too. Enjoy looking at what others have collected and get some ideas for yourself.
Learn about Deaf Culture and Sign-Language
Inside Wonderstruck one of the main characters is Rose who is deaf. Have you ever wondered what it might be like not to be able to hear? What might you be missing out on? How would you talk to people if you couldn’t hear them? Here are a couple of websites to get you started into the world of the Deaf as well as the language they use called sign language. If at all possible, see if you could visit a school of the deaf or meet someone who is deaf so they can share their world with you.
In the story, Ben keeps having a dream about wolves. Let’s have a look at these beautiful creatures.
Enjoy the Night-Sky
I know you’ll enjoy this book and its sure to become a family favorite. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.