A few weeks ago, I finally read The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Why did I finally read it? Because Wonderstruck came out this year, and the blogosphere is hot with the discussion of whether it can qualify for a Newbery--does the text stand alone? Does the award require that? I wanted to read Hugo first, so I got to work.
Hugo won a Caldecott--quite a new direction for that award which is usually given to a picture book. If you haven't seen either Hugo or Wonderstruck, then let me assure you: Selznik FILLS his books with his art. He messes with the conventions of the book in an intriguing way. I don't believe either his text or his art can stand alone; they are completely interdependent on one another. These books are more like the experience of watching a movie in some ways.
I enjoyed Wonderstruck more than Hugo, but I'm still not wowed by Selznik's writing. His strength is in his art and the manner in which he constructs his story. The story in Wonderstruck is marvelous and another little known piece of historical timeline fictionalized for the book world. It is worth reading and features a young girl and a young boy. Both the girl and boy are struggling to fit in, to adapt to a world in which they have similar physical handicaps, and to find their true families. They are also separated by a number of years, but the stories come together in the end marvelously.
Julie over at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast has a nice, long interview with Selznik if you would like some more info!
Recommended for elementary and up.