How many of you have seen the movie Hugo? Hugo is based in the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret from Brian Selznick and that was probably one of the best reading experiences I have had. Wonderstruck is Brian Selznick’s second book using the same concept of storytelling alternating with illustrations and words.
Wonderstuck is the story of two children Rose and Ben who both end up going on a journey to seek out what they feel is missing in their lives. Set 50 years apart, Rose seeks to find an actress after seeing a headline news while Ben search for his father and a place to belong after finding a clue in his old house after his mother’s passing. This leads them both to travel alone to the big city of New York City and perhaps look for something different that could change their lives.
While The Invention of Hugo Cabret was one flowing story throughout between the illustrations and the written story, Wonderstruck uses a parallel between the two stories even though its separated 50 years apart. Ben’s story is written out while Rose is shown in pictures. The drawings remain captivating as always and makes the story extra vivid and mysterious at the same time. Ben’s story is more narrative and we trace his discovery of who his possible father is and that he needs to find a sense of belonging (same as Rose).
What I love about this style is that it gives the readers a certain vision of what the author sees as he writes this story. We get the idea of what is going on and the imagery. As simple as the black and white illustrations are, he leads us on an almost step by step journey through what the character is going through. At the same time, the words flow almost the same way. When not in drawing, we get to read everything the Ben sees and feels and this helps pull us closer. I was drawn to the book itself as soon as I got used to the concept of the book and followed the pace.
Whats also great is that as much as this is a children’s book and it makes this a quick read. The most impressive part of this book is the emotions that it can make you feel between the words and the pictures. I always feel that if adults were to read this with kids, it would be a fantastic experience for both. Its often about family, friendships and a little bit of destiny and fate all mixed together for the course of events to happen. It always seems to strike at discovering the place that you belong or just simply the sense of belonging.
Wonderstruck is a great reading experience for both children and adults and one that shouldn’t be missed out 🙂