Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Storytelling Pick: The Marvels

The Marvels
by Brian Selznick
Scholastic Press
672 pages
ISBN: 9780545448680

Available September 15, 2015

Brian Selznick continues to astonish, astound and amaze! The Marvels is a 672 page behemoth that tells the story of five generations of a theatre family, a shipwreck, and a beautiful house full of family secrets.

The first 300 plus pages are all Selznick's magical  art. The detail and beauty is astounding and the story tells itself. This part of the book had me enraptured and wonderstruck (ha, ha, a little Selznick humor there!) Visual learners and those who struggle with reading and budding artists will all love the story in pictures (and hey, who doesn't love a picture book?) The other part of the book, told in prose, was just not as compelling. It is like comparing apples to oranges, after all. Can one really compare a work of art to words on a page? Well, only if the words are truly genius: Shakespeare, Milton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Isabelle Allende.

The characters of Frankie and Joseph while sweet, were not as interesting as the story of a shipwreck and a surviving boy and his dog rescued by a ship and brought across the sea to England. Uncle Albert is the most interesting character in the second half of the book. I was a bit let down with the ending, expecting it to be more compelling and profound.

Still, The Marvels itself is a massive undertaking. It is a beautiful work of art and should probably be reviewed in that way. To review the second part as a book of prose does the work a true disservice. Enjoy the art, enjoy the storytelling and you decide.

Highly recommended for the art alone! Suitable for grade 4-up. Suitable for all libraries.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the "Sneak Peek" and the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at

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