Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: The Marvels by Brian Selznick

The MarvelsTitle: The Marvels
Author: Brian Selznick
Source/Format: Won, Hardcover
More Details: Middle Grade, Historical
Publisher/Publication Date: Scholastic Press, September 15, 2015

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Two seemingly unrelated stories--one in words, the other in pictures--come together. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries...
I read two of Selznick’s books before I finally got to the last one I had on my shelf, The Marvels. Following Selznick’s previously established style, The Marvels is told half in pictures and half in words. Thus, the book was a delightful, thoroughly engrossing story from beginning to end.

Half the story belonged to Billy Marvel, the sole survivor of a shipwreck. And the other half belonged to Joseph, a young boy in 1990 who has run away from school. Part of the intrigue with Selznick’s books, for me, is seeing how the stories will eventually connect. And with The Marvels, that was one of my primary reasons for reading the book. Joseph was a good character. I liked his story. He was a boy who caused some trouble even if that wasn’t what he intended. Billy’s story was equally enjoyable and just as integral to the plot. To understand Joseph’s story, Billy’s had to be told as well. The other characters were delightful as well, and their stories tied in with Joseph’s. Their interactions were some or my favorite parts.

The illustrations perfectly conveyed the characters emotions, and were effective at telling a story on their own. The setting was, again, historical, and developed in a way that showed that Selznick knew what he was doing and had done his research. In the end, I am glad that I read The Marvels. It’s easily become one of my favorites.

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