My 9 year old is a reader–nothing makes me happier than seeing him curled up with a book. It reminds me of my younger self–I would lose myself in a book and wonder where the afternoon went. The only problem–I can’t keep up with him–I get him a book and he’s done with it a few days later. I’m always on the hunt for a new series, or a great recommendation, and I really wish that James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein would write a little faster. So when the opportunity came to take a look at Brian Selznick’s new book, The Marvels, I was intrigued. Neither my son nor I have ever read a Selzick novel (he’s the Caldecott Medal–winning creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck), but his new book intrigued me because it’s actually two stand-alone stories—the first story as nearly 400 pages of pictures and the second written. The two of them together “create a beguiling narrative puzzle”. I showed Kieran the trailer, and he too, wanted to see more.
When the book arrived, Kieran immediately tore it open and we looked at the pictures together–what they showed was a ship at sea in 1766, with a boy named Billy Marvel. After surviving a shipwreck, he finds work in a London theatre. There, his family flourishes for generations as brilliant actors until 1900, when young Leontes Marvel is banished from the stage. The words then begin, and it’s 1990. Joseph Jervis runs away from school and seeks refuge with an uncle in London. Albert Nightingale’s strange, beautiful house, with its mysterious portraits and ghostly presences, captivates Joseph and leads him on a search for clues about the house, his family, and the past. It’s up to the reader to figure out how the two stories connect.
My son will read the story, and then shout out a “OH! That makes sense now!” He says that he loves how the beginning pictures are a “tease” and as you “read the story, the pictures and the story all come together, which is really cool.” Kieran went on to say that he loves hearing the history of the Marvels, and then later on, the Nightingale family, and how they relate.
The book is truly one-of-a-kind, and is recommended for readers ages 9 – 12. To get a sense of what the book is like, take a look at the trailer here:
And your kiddos can also have the chance to meet Brian–he’s doing a book tour through November–check out when he’ll be in a city near you by clicking here:
Our book was provided by Scholastic, all opinions are my own.