I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
Ben and Rose secretly wish for better lives. Ben longs for his unknown father. Rose scrapbooks a famous silent actress. When Ben finds clues and Rose reads enticing news, the children independently run to New York for what they are missing. Ben's story in words, Rose's in pictures, come together in deafness. (source)
I read The Invention of Hugo Cabret over a year ago and was completely wowed by how Brian Selznick so beautifully used both text and art to convey his story - something that's not often seen in books targeting more advanced readers. I was very excited when I saw shortly after finishing TIoHC that he'd written another book in this style - Wonderstruck. But unfortunately, I never really had the time to read it, until now. I finally made time to read Wonderstruck because I'd like to include a Brian Selznick book in my nominations for the January book for my mother-daughter book club that I'll be starting and I wanted to make sure I read this one before I decided between it and TIoHC.
Like TIoHC, Wonderstruck is great story that's beautifully conveyed through pictures and text. This one focuses on the isolation that deaf people may feel as a result of their condition. I think it's awesome that Selznick decided to write about this. My dad has a cousin who's deaf and I know that he faced many of the same struggles that Ben and Rose did. I think it's really important that people with disabilities are able to access books that have characters with similar experiences, but very few books focus on these topics and even fewer have disabled protagonists. Wonderstruck stands out because not only are the two main characters disabled, but the story is incredibly well-written. For those two reasons alone, I would consider this book to be a staple part of any children's library collection.
I also really loved how Selznick weaved Ben and Rose's stories together. He demonstrated his abilities at linking seemingly unrelated storylines in TIoHC, but I think that this book even outshines that one in this regard. This made the reading experience really interesting.
Ultimately, I did prefer TIoHC to Wonderstruck. While both are very good books that I truly enjoyed, TIoHC felt more magical as I was reading it. I was completely absorbed in the story and every page turn felt like an exciting new adventure. I just didn't feel that way with Wonderstruck. It's still a very good book and it's one that I'm glad I read. I think that I'll definitely include both books in my nominations for the book club and I'll just let the kids decide if they want to read one of them. I was planning on letting the kids pick our book anyway - these are both great reads that I think the girls will enjoy; why not let them make the final choice about reading one of them?