This had to be my favorite book to read for my Children’s Literature class. The size was a little intimidating (it’s over 600 pages), but once I opened it and started reading, I was mesmerized and hooked on the plot. This book is a mix of font and pictures. The pictures tell one story and the actual writing tells another; however, they are related to each other, which the reader discovers later in the book. The pictures are done with charcoal pencil and are really breathtaking. There is a a reason why the pictures are done this way (it has to do with the main characters father, which he at first knows nothing about).
Ben, a twelve year old boy, has recently lost his mother who is the town librarian to a car accident. He knows nothing about who is father is and the only family he knows of are his aunt and uncle and two cousins which he has to live with. He is deaf in one ear and his cousin isn’t too nice to him. He hasn’t entered his house, which is 83 steps away from his aunt and uncle’s house, since his mother passed. But one night, after a recurring dream of wolves chasing him, he ventures into his home. He discovers, while going through his mother’s things, a book called Wonderstruck which has a bookmark in it with a note to his mom from someone named Danny. Then he discovers a locket with a man’s picture in it. They have the same eyes and the man’s name is Daniel. He believes this is his father and vows to find him. Upon trying to call him, lightening hits his house and travels through the phone, blowing his one good ear drum. He has to be hospitalized but runs away with his things to New York to find his father. The adventure is incredible and he discovers all the answers to all his questions and then some! It’s a wonderful tale of fate, love, family and being connected in the most unusual ways.
Click on the image to visit the author’s Amazon page to find more books written by Selznick.
Selznick, Brian (2001). Wonderstruck. New York, NY: Scholastic.