Today marks the publication of Brian Selznick's Wonderstruck, a book that lives up to its title. As he did with the Caldecott-winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret (coming out as a movie this fall), Selznick uses a unique mix of text and images to create a singular reading experience for children. There are two separate stories here, one told entirely in illustrations and the other in words. Set in different time periods, these tales of a mysterious girl and an unhappy boy twist and twirl around each other in nature, in museums, in New York City, finally coming together in a dramatic, moving, and satisfying ending.
One of the many thoughtful ideas of the book is the one of museums, of collections, of curating, and of the creation and making of these places of fascination and mystery. This summer, after reading an advanced edition of Wonderstruck, I visited Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum and recently asked Brian Selznick if he'd ever been there. It turned out he'd been there days after me and remarked that it was a "museum about museums." That it is, as well as a museum that evokes beautifully the magical feeling of museums he communicates so well in his new book. See for yourself in the following images, the first from Wonderstruck and the second of the Pitt Rivers Museum in its early years.
Museums, the concept of museums and their making, nature, deaf culture, family, relationships, history, literature, and more are woven elegantly together by Selznick in this work of art certain to be embraced by children and adults alike. Highly recommended.
Also at educating alice.