Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: The Marvels by Brian Selznick

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I received this book for free from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Marvels by Brian SelznickThe Marvels by Brian Selznick
Published by Scholastic on September 15th 2015
Genres: Graphic Novel, Middle-Grade
Source: Scholastic
Buy on Amazon

Caldecott Award winner and bookmaking trailblazer Brian Selznick once again plays with the form he invented and takes readers on a voyage!

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.

Wow, this book was so cool!! The first 400 pages or so are all just drawings. Gorgeous artwork. It seems odd that it’s just picture after picture, but surprisingly, it tells an amazing story. I have never read 400 pages of a book so quick!! The first part of the book is set in a totally different time period than the second part. The second part of the book is set in 1990 I believe. This one is written, not told in pictures. It is not a seemingly different story as the synopsis explains. In fact, it is pretty easy to see how the two are related, but in a really interesting way. I loved discovering how the second story all fit with the first one and was drawn in. This was a really great book that was very enjoyable to both view and read.

The first story told by beautiful drawings is dramatic, heartfelt, and interesting. I loved getting to know all the characters though the artwork and watching the story of the Marvels unfold. You wouldn’t think that pictures could tell such a complete story, but they really do. In some of the pictures, there are also news clippings and things that let you know what is going on. It’s a very interesting and complete story that took me by surprise. I couldn’t believe that I got so much out of these drawings. I don’t want to tell much about this story because it really is quite an experience.

The second story that is set in more modern times is about a boy who has run away from his school and home to find his uncle. Little does he know that he will uncover so much more. Not just his family history, but a very deep and moving story about his uncle. Things are a bit weird when he finds his uncle, but he is determined to not be sent home. His uncle wants to help him, but his lifestyle is so different most everyone else. People think he is odd. Ask why he lives the way he does. The boy just wants to find the truth. To find where he fits in. There is also a girl who he befriends who ends up fitting more deeply into the story and history of things than you would have first thought. I really loved it.

This was such an awesome reading experience. I have read graphic novels, but this is much different. You don’t get speech bubbles or any of that. You just get a beautifully drawn out story. All in black and white like pencil drawings. I loved the artwork. The beauty and detail is breathtaking. the story just unfolds right in front of your eyes as you turn the pages. I almost didn’t want it to end. The second story ties so well into the first one and I thought it was fantastic how everything fit together. After reading this book I will definitely pick up this authors other books. Both the art and writing are amazing.


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I'm no good at this, but I'm a mom of one little girl who really thinks she is a princess. I love reading all sorts of books (horror being a favorite genre of mine), love meeting new people, drinking lots of coffee, and eating chocolate. If you want to know anything else about me, just ask.
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4 Responses to “Review: The Marvels by Brian Selznick”

  1. Lyn Kaye

    ARG! I want this book! Can I say that I LOVE a wordless story? I can remember a very rare happy memory from elementary school, where the teacher would put out a random picture in the writing center to use as a prompt for writing for the students. Since then, I have always had a fascination with wordless story books. I’m so thrilled to see that an author is taking this genre and introducing it into YA. I had this on my pre-order list for a while, but now, I am going to JUMP ALL OVER IT when it comes out!