When I heard that this year's Belpre Illustrator award had gone to a book called Grandma's Gift, I groaned inwardly. It sounded treacly and overly sweWhen I heard that this year's Belpre Illustrator award had gone to a book called Grandma's Gift, I groaned inwardly. It sounded treacly and overly sweet, a story about a toy from grandma that symbolized her love, the greatest gift of all... or something else really cheesy like that.
But the book isn't really about Grandm's gift. Not obviously anyway. It was actually a nice surprise because the main characters are of the African diaspora but Spanish-speaking (from Puerto Rico). Actually, this is a autobiographical tale of how Velasquez himself decided to become an artist (or at least how his interest was sparked) when he traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw a painting of Juan de Pareja (the first painting he had ever seen of a person who looked like him). Of course, I'm aware that a very large percentage of Spanish-speaking people in the world are black, and that the slave trade was prominent in Latin America and in Spain (from taking a slave literature class in college). But I think that this is the first children's picture book I've seen depicting that particular group of people. So that was pretty cool.
Grandma's Gift is great for teaching (or reinforcing) Spanish, since the grandma in the story doesn't speak English, and her Spanish sentences are translated. The illustrations aren't really anything new or innovative, but they are realistic (which is a style I like) and give you a good sense of what's going on.
I'm a little puzzled about who or what to recommend this book for. It wouldn't really be good for a storytime because there is a lot of text on each page; the kids would be a little bored and restless. The amount of text also poses a problem in terms of independent reading. I think that this would be a great read for older kids who are already reading chapter books. It could also be a good one-on-one read for parents and kids. A lovely story.
Bink and Gollie is a book about two very different friends, as many classic children's books are (George and Martha, Frog and Toad). Bink is a small aBink and Gollie is a book about two very different friends, as many classic children's books are (George and Martha, Frog and Toad). Bink is a small and rambunctious little girl (somewhat androgynous except for her skirt), while Gollie is tall, composed, and dignified. The book is composed of three vignettes about the pair.
Like everyone else has said, Bink and Gollie is completely charming. At first, I was a little unsure about all the "big words" and different way of talking ("I long for speed," "I must journey forth into the wider world," "Here I am, where none but a few have ventured."). After all, the easy reader/independent reader audience doesn't know words like "bonanza," "marvelous," and "inquire." But I can certainly picture a smart-alecky kid with a penchant for using new words (such as myself at that age) talking exactly like Bink and Gollie. Besides, there are actually few words, it's just that they are harder than "cat" or "hat" (ahem) and the sentences aren't formulaic and babyfied. It's not likely that a child reading the book will know what everything in it means, but they should be able to use the visual cues to pick up on it.
I really need to make mention of the awesome illustrations. Fucile's illustrations are deceptively simple but he is able to convey emotion so well. He also uses black and white juxtaposed with color to help focus on the action in the scene, but not in an artsy "Sin City" type of way. It's really a winning combination of authors and artist.
I have a hard time saying what age/grade level this is for, because I know a lot of children with widely varying reading levels. I guess it'd be appropriate for Grades 1-3, the place on the spectrum of that depending on how proficient they are with reading (do they give up easily when they see a new word they don't know?)
A clever but predictable twist on "The Princess and the Pea," a princess whose father has abdicated the throne to become an unsuccessful woodworker (oA clever but predictable twist on "The Princess and the Pea," a princess whose father has abdicated the throne to become an unsuccessful woodworker (ok, really??) decides to go to the princess try-outs to make some money by marrying the prince. One good modern twist was that though the princess does win the contest, she decides to turn down the marriage in favor of making her own way by opening a pizza shop. Other than that, the art was just ok. It was a clever story, but I didn't think it was the most imaginative thing I've read....more
This book is a retelling of the Little Red Hen Story, in which the Little Red Hen makes a pizza. It's a little lacking in the description of how the LThis book is a retelling of the Little Red Hen Story, in which the Little Red Hen makes a pizza. It's a little lacking in the description of how the Little Red Hen actually MAKES the pizza ("she puts the flour and some other stuff in a bowl"--how hard is it to say "she puts the flour, yeast, water, and salt in a bowl??") But where the story is a little simplistic and derivative (but nonetheless a good story--a classic, obviously), the illustrations are top-notch. Each page has a lot of detail and is created from paper cut-outs that the artist had on hand. I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff. I especially love the illustrations of all of the food items. Illustrator Amy Walrod does a great job. Great to read at home or for kids learning to read, since there are lots of details to pore over.
Maya Angelou is an incredibly talented writer, and I never knew about her series of American Girl-esque books called Maya's World, each featuring a liMaya Angelou is an incredibly talented writer, and I never knew about her series of American Girl-esque books called Maya's World, each featuring a little girl from a different culture. (And each book comes with a paper doll!) This book in particular is about a little girl in Italy named Angelina who loves pizza and becomes concerned when she learns about the Leaning Tower of Pisa, thinking it's really made of pizza and that pizza will go to waste. I thought that the story was a little dumb, if kind of cute.
Maya Angelou is a wonderful writer, and her "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" series is one of my favorites. But it sure seems like she phoned it in for this one (and possibly the rest of the series)....more
This was a pretty standard easy reader. Illustrations are really cute but nothing new or innovative, and the story didn't really flow to me. Mrs. HippThis was a pretty standard easy reader. Illustrations are really cute but nothing new or innovative, and the story didn't really flow to me. Mrs. Hippo's pizza parlor doesn't have any business, and William Hippo (her son) is sad because that means he won't get the shiny green bicycle he's been wanting for his birthday. To take their minds off their financial woes, Mrs. Hippo, William, and his friend Ellie Bear go to the beach, where they decide to advertise for Mrs. Hippo's Pizza Parlor by writing it in the sand. When they get back, the pizza parlor is incredibly busy and everyone has completely transferred their allegiance from burgers to pizza. The next day, William Hippo gets his shiny new bike for his birthday.
I checked out this book because I'd read that it was good for storytimes. However, I made the mistake of reading the book to a mixed group aged 3-9. II checked out this book because I'd read that it was good for storytimes. However, I made the mistake of reading the book to a mixed group aged 3-9. It's not really funny or exciting, so it's better for a younger age group. I still might use it for my 4-year-old storytime. Pizza at Sally's is about Sally the pizza maker as she spends the day making pizzas for the pizzeria (first "she picks tomatoes from her community garden"). I found it helpful to go through the steps of making a pizza, and the children found the illustrative detail that Sally's cute pet cat helped her make the pizzas particularly delightful.
"CUUUUUUTE!" is what I said after I finished reading A Sick Day for Amos McGee. It's by no means a super-creative or unique story (beloved zookeeper g"CUUUUUUTE!" is what I said after I finished reading A Sick Day for Amos McGee. It's by no means a super-creative or unique story (beloved zookeeper gets sick and the animals come to visit him and take care of him), but the illustrations (which are, after all, what the Caldecott medal is given for) are really quite lovely. They're not slick or vivid or lush the way that many past winners have been, but very child-friendly. There are also little details in the illustrations that are fun to pick out.
2011 Caldecott Medal Winner Ages 2-4 Good for storytimes...more
I read this for our crocs-and-gators themed "family storytime" (all ages). It's a great book that explores the urban legend that alligators live in thI read this for our crocs-and-gators themed "family storytime" (all ages). It's a great book that explores the urban legend that alligators live in the sewers of New York City with a good dose of silliness. ("Why does the Brooklyn Bridge have wires on it?" "The alligators hang their laundry up to dry on it.") I noticed that a lot of the reviews on Goodreads complain about the book being disjointed and not flowing well. It's really broke up into two sections (why the alligators moved in NYC, and what they do in your neighborhood ("Why can you only find one sock? Alligators take your socks to make puppets."). Maybe it didn't flow super well, but that wasn't a problem. The kids (and parents) got some great chuckles out of it.
Ages: 5-7 (but can appeal to a wide range for a read-aloud)...more
Tana Hoban has written several books called Look Look Look, and they all apply the same conceit: a black page with a hole in it revealing part of a piTana Hoban has written several books called Look Look Look, and they all apply the same conceit: a black page with a hole in it revealing part of a picture. The children (or adults) must guess what the full picture is. Some of them are fairly easy (a ball of yarn, a dog), but most are quite difficult even for an adult to figure out (the frets of a guitar).
I read this for a class visit of 60+ 2nd graders, and they (as expected) loved guessing what the pictures were (for some reason, they guessed "turkey" for all of pictures)! It's a great book for kids who are too old for storytime. It's also lots of fun for adults. Highly recommended.
I read this for an insect-themed preschool storytime (which usually consists of a lot of babies and toddlers as well). It's a great book for younger rI read this for an insect-themed preschool storytime (which usually consists of a lot of babies and toddlers as well). It's a great book for younger readers--simple, few words, bright colorful illustrations, and clearly and concisely describes what various bugs do.
I've read this in both the pop-up and... 2D version, both of which are great. In this simple picture book, a lazy ladybug doesn't know how to fly (tooI've read this in both the pop-up and... 2D version, both of which are great. In this simple picture book, a lazy ladybug doesn't know how to fly (too lazy to learn, I suppose). So she tries to hitch a ride on other animals, with mixed results (the kangaroo is too bouncy, the bear is scratching himself too much). This is a nice way to introduce different animals. It's also an easy to follow story with a pattern and some repetition. The elephant sneeze at the end is guaranteed to produce some laughs. I read this for preschool storytime and while it held the children's attention, it wasn't the most engaging.
I could probably write the same thing about every single Mo Willems book: cute, charming, funny, easy reader. The end. But I'll say a little bit moreI could probably write the same thing about every single Mo Willems book: cute, charming, funny, easy reader. The end. But I'll say a little bit more about this one. It's a "chapter" book with 6.5 easy chapters about, you guessed it, Amanda and her (stuffed) alligator. Each chapter starts with either Amanda visiting the library, or reading one of her newest library books. The titles are a riot--Climbing Things for Fun and Profit, Whale Songs for Beginners, and You Can Make It Yourself-Jet Packs! among them. I love that alligator deals with loneliness, questioning his self-worth, rejection, making new friends, and other friendship/relationship issues, but in a playful/silly way. But the thing that really won me over to Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator! is the illustration of Alligator. His nose and mouth form a little face, which changes to mimic his expression (surprised, annoyed, happy,e tc.). What a cute, clever, and simple little detail.
The chapters could be read separately or together as one book (it's a 72-page picture book, though, so maybe for slightly older kids), but there are little details that get carried throughout the book. Like some of Willems' other longer picture books like Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, the words aren't as easy as the designated easy readers like the Pigeon series or the Elephant and Piggie series, but there's enough repetition, and the sentences are short enough that beginning readers should be able to read this independently.
Ages 3+ to be read to Ages 6+ independent reading...more
I adore all of Mo Willems' books, but We Are in a Book!, part of the Elephant and Piggie series, is particularly delightful. It seems like "meta" bookI adore all of Mo Willems' books, but We Are in a Book!, part of the Elephant and Piggie series, is particularly delightful. It seems like "meta" books are in these days, from It's a Book to Interrupting Chicken. In We Are in a Book!, Elephant and Piggie realize that they are being read... "by a READER!" Hijinks ensue. Mo Willems has such a wonderful gift of saying so much with so few words (which is what independent readers are all about), but unlike many authors who write for the preschool age group, his books aren't at all precious. I read this for an elephant storytime with another librarian (she was Elephant, I was Piggie), and both the children and parents got a big kick out of it.
Emma Kate and her best friend do everything together. They go to school together, play together, get their tonsils out, and eat gallons of pink ice crEmma Kate and her best friend do everything together. They go to school together, play together, get their tonsils out, and eat gallons of pink ice cream together. There is a funny surprise twist at the end, but I don't think that any of the children (or even adults) at my storytime got it (or if they did, they didn't say "ohhhhh!" or laugh). In fact, I didn't even get it when I first read it, because I wasn't paying much attention to the pictures. This would also be great for a storytime or thematic unit about best friends.
I read this book to close an elephant-themed storytime. This is a very simple children's book about the things that a baby elephant does with his "nosI read this book to close an elephant-themed storytime. This is a very simple children's book about the things that a baby elephant does with his "nose like a hose." The whole book rhymes i.e. "you can tie bows on a nose like a hose" and the kids had fun shouting out the next rhyme.
This is the story of a little boy and his imaginary elephant, who gets into all sorts of trouble around the house--spilling orange juice, making puddlThis is the story of a little boy and his imaginary elephant, who gets into all sorts of trouble around the house--spilling orange juice, making puddles in the bathtub, and eventually getting the boy into trouble with his grandparents. It's very cute, if a little staid. I read it as the lead book for an elephant storytime and the children seemed to enjoy it, although I wouldn't call it a crowd-pleaser as much as some others.
This is one of my favorite books to read for a class visit to the library. Jon Scieszka is a fantastic children's book author with lots of kid and aduThis is one of my favorite books to read for a class visit to the library. Jon Scieszka is a fantastic children's book author with lots of kid and adult appeal (The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales), as is Lane Smith (John, Paul, George & Ben, It's a Book), so this collection of "fables" is truly a snarky delight. According to Scieszka, "If you can't say something nice about someone, change the guy's name to Donkey or Squid." Basically, if you want to tell a story, you can make it sound more important by affixing a "moral" to the end of it. Morals include "Everyone knows frogs can't skateboard, but it's kind of sad that they believe everything they see on TV." Like all of Scieszka's books, this appeals to all ages and a wide range of people, but especially appeals to boys.
This is a great book for a class visit. There are several short poems, each describing a well-known children's book (Charlotte's Web, Madeline, Where'This is a great book for a class visit. There are several short poems, each describing a well-known children's book (Charlotte's Web, Madeline, Where's Waldo?, etc.) that you have to solve. However, they are pretty easy, particularly if you can see the picture ("Cinderella" has a big picture of a cracked pumpkin-carriage, etc.), so I recommend it more for younger children. I read this for a class of accelerated third graders, and they guessed the story after I had read only one stanza of a poem. However, they had tons of fun with this book.
This is a fantastic picture book with a ton of kid AND adult appeal. A girl builds a giant robot for the science fair, but her success quickly turns tThis is a fantastic picture book with a ton of kid AND adult appeal. A girl builds a giant robot for the science fair, but her success quickly turns to disaster when the robot goes on a rampage throughout the city, in scenes that pay homage to monster movies like Godzilla (with little snippets of Japanese text throughout to drive that reference in). Fun, witty, and slick, Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World is great for read alouds and for one-on-one reading (so you can see all the details in the pictures)!
I was only familiar with Patrick McDonnell's work through the comic "Mutts," which never really impressed me much since it was more funny-haha than fuI was only familiar with Patrick McDonnell's work through the comic "Mutts," which never really impressed me much since it was more funny-haha than funny-I'm-actually-laughing-out-loud. However, Me . . . Jane is a revelation, one that is simultaneously adorable and breathtaking (is that possible?). It's a story about Jane Goodall, primatologist and environmentalist. Young Jane has a stuffed toy chimpanzee named Jubilee who she takes along with her on her many adventures. In a Calvin and Hobbes-esque way, Jubilee seems to come to life in the illustrations, and he is an adorable little monkey.
I'd always thought that Patrick McDonnell didn't show much artistic skill with "Mutts," but his deceptively simple illustrations really come to life (yet remain very true to his style) with the addition of other styles of art, such as engravings. The story is very simple, but still inspiring, not just for young budding environmentalists, but for any child with aspirations. To say that this book is inspiration sounds very trite, but that's what it is. In terms of its quality, this book will win, if not the Caldecott Medal, at least an Honor (my prediction: not guaranteed). Highly recommended.
Queen of the Falls tells the extraordinary story of Annie Edson Taylor, the first person--and only woman--to go over Niagra Falls in a barrel. Chris VQueen of the Falls tells the extraordinary story of Annie Edson Taylor, the first person--and only woman--to go over Niagra Falls in a barrel. Chris Van Allsburg shows off his prose, in addition to his illustrations, which are in fine form, as always. But wow, can he write. Here are two of my favorite sentences from Queen of the Falls:
The first two sentences (a great start to the book): "Image being as small as a flea, standing on a sidewalk next to an open fire hydrant. this is how visitors to the waterfalls at Niagra feel."
A description of Taylor's experience in her barrel as it neared the falls: "As she shot through the rapids that lead to the falls, she was upside down one second, on her side the next, then on her back. It was as if some angry giant were kicking the barrel toward the falls."
Chris Van Allsburg's great description of Taylor's story goes along with his breathtaking photorealistic illustrations. When I saw the two page spread in which Taylor's barrel is perched at the top of the falls, I kept saying, "Wow." Another favorite illustration is the one in which Mrs. Taylor comes up with the idea to go over the falls in a barrel. Two juxtaposed illustrations (that look like they could be stylized photos) show Taylor quietly reading the newspaper, then putting it down, a "eureka!" look on her face.
Like many of Van Allsburg's books, Queen of the Falls is meant for older children, even more so because it is a bit text-heavy. It's also a little sad, since she didn't find the fame and fortune that she dreamed going over the falls in a barrel would bring (turned out, no one believed a sixty two year old former charm school teacher could have done such a thing). Still, the fantastic illustrations might be enough to hold a younger (5-7 year old) child's interest.
Inspired by the Danish folktale The Talking Pot, The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale is a new folktale about a boy named Ming growing up in BeijiInspired by the Danish folktale The Talking Pot, The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale is a new folktale about a boy named Ming growing up in Beijing. It is Chinese New Year, and although his parents work for the richest man in Beijing, Mr. Li, they have no money to have a Chinese New Year feast of their own. Ming brings his family's last two eggs to the market to trade for some rice, but is sidetracked by a large, handle-less wok. He brings the wok home instead, where it magically reverses their (mis)fortunes for Mr. Li's.
The illustrations are cute but also have a lot of detail to them (village scenes with lots of people, all doing different things), and there are a few paragraphs of text per page, so this book unfortunately isn't suited for a storytime. However, it could be a great bedtime storybook or book for children learning to read by themselves (and being up close gives more opportunities to see the pictures close-up)--especially around Chinese New Year time.
As Little White Rabbit hops along, he wonders what it would be like to be green like grass, tall like fir trees, and flutter in the air like a butterfAs Little White Rabbit hops along, he wonders what it would be like to be green like grass, tall like fir trees, and flutter in the air like a butterfly. That's pretty much all there is to this story, which is accompanied by simple but cute colored pencil illustrations. Kevin Henkes employs the same style illustrations as he did in the Newbery winner Kitten's First Full Moon, but in color. The format is somewhat reminiscent of one of my personal favorite picture books, The Runaway Bunny: a bunny uses his imagination to be different things, text with pictures are interspersed with two-page illustration layouts for greater impact.
The illustrations are adorable and pastel-y (very Easter), and the story is very simple and easy to understand. It's not terribly ground-breaking or original, but I'm giving it four stars (rather than three) because it's a bunny, and I love bunnies. :) Besides, it's cute but not overly precious, which is more than I can say for a lot of books with this target audience.
Great for preschool storytime and bedtime reading. Ages 2-4...more
The Boy Who Cried Ninja had me at the title. First of all, what's more awesome than ninjas, am I right?!? But I digress. The Boy Who Cried Ninja is abThe Boy Who Cried Ninja had me at the title. First of all, what's more awesome than ninjas, am I right?!? But I digress. The Boy Who Cried Ninja is about a boy named Tim, who is always getting into trouble. A ninja sneaks into the house, kicks a piece of cake in the air, and eats it. A giant squid eats Tim's book bag. An astronaut takes Tim's dad's hammer to fix his spaceship. But when Tim tells his family what happened, no one believes him, and he gets in trouble. So he decides to lie and say that he ate the cake, took the hammer, lost his bookbag, etc. but he still gets in trouble. So he hatches a plan to get his parents to see these visitors for themselves by inviting them to a party.
The stylized illustrations, speech bubbles, and use of negative space give this book a hip look. But I have a feeling that The Boy Who Cried Ninja has a lot of boy appeal as well. It could be do-able for a storytime for an older crowd, but is on the longer side.
The Batman story has fans of all ages. However, it's not necessarily young child friendly, since Batman has a violent and tragic origin story (his parThe Batman story has fans of all ages. However, it's not necessarily young child friendly, since Batman has a violent and tragic origin story (his parents being murdered when Batman/Bruce Wayne was very young) and gruesome and scary villains (the Joker, Two-Face). Therefore, Ralph Cosentino's book Batman is a welcome addition to the Batman literature. It tells Batman's origin story (parents' death somewhat glossed over), tells about the Bat Cave, and Alfred, and discusses Batman's villains, all with a short sentence per page and plenty of action-packed illustrations in a slick and simple comic book style. The kids at the library I interned at went gaga for this book! I picked it up for a seven-year-old's Batman-themed birthday party, hope it's a hit!
When I was young, I had a book about tangrams--a square-shaped puzzle consisting of seven shapes used to form various pictures (http://en.wikipedia.orWhen I was young, I had a book about tangrams--a square-shaped puzzle consisting of seven shapes used to form various pictures (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangram). Perfect Square totally reminded me of that book, and put a big smile on my face. It's the story of a perfect square that gets cut into pieces, poked full of holes, ripped to shreds, etc. and turns itself into something else with the pieces (a bubbling fountain, a mountain, a park, etc.). It's very cool to see what the square gets turned into, but the adult voice in my head kept objecting. First of all, the narration says "the" square, not "a" square, implying that the same square is used. Well how come from day to day the square, despite being ripped up and poked full of holes, becomes a perfect square again, ready to be created into a new shape, and a different color one at that?!
I know, I'm reading way too much into this. It's just something that slightly irked me.
Anyway, other than that, this is a really creative book that teaches about shapes in a new and sophisticated way. It wasn't my favorite book ever, but I enjoyed it.
I put off reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret because it's over 500 pages (533 to be exact)... but what I didn't realize is that I'd be able to readI put off reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret because it's over 500 pages (533 to be exact)... but what I didn't realize is that I'd be able to read it in under 2 hours (and I was purposely reading it very slowly so that I'd be able to take it all in). Well over 3/4 of the book consists of illustrations, and I didn't even encounter any text until page 46 or thereabouts. So if the length is putting you off from reading it, it's really a quick read that you could actually finish during your public transportation commute!
The Invention of Hugo Cabret (now being made into the film Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese) is, I believe, the only Caldecott winner intended for middle grade--or maybe even YA. It is a book primarily told through Brian Selznick's amazing pencil illustrations and some film stills, and it does so remarkably well (anyone listened to the audiobook? How is it?). Hugo Cabret is a 12-year-old orphan living in 1930s Paris. He maintains the clocks in the train station, following his alcoholic uncle's mysterious disappearance, all the while stealing to stay alive and desperately working on a secret project. Hugo has a broken mechanical man (an automaton) that his late father had discovered. Before his father died, he was working on repairing the automaton, and Hugo hopes that in repairing it, it will write a message, perhaps from his father. With the help of a plucky girl with a key that just so happens to fit his father's automaton, Hugo finds some answers--though they aren't what he was hoping for, they are better.
I feel like Brian Selznick titled this book Wonderstruck specifically so that reviewers could say things like, "You'll be wonderstruck by WonderstruckI feel like Brian Selznick titled this book Wonderstruck specifically so that reviewers could say things like, "You'll be wonderstruck by Wonderstruck!" And while it's true, I certainly was, that just sounds cheesy, so I'll elaborate.
I had read various reviews saying that Wonderstruck was even better than The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the genre/age-range bending Caldecott winner that changed the way that we see picture books (ever seen another 500+ page picture book?). I was astonished by The Invention of Hugo Cabret when I first read it, several months ago. Its illustrations were so evocative and realistic, the words were so moving. It's always hard to follow up something innovative and new. Would the--for lack of a better word--wonder still be there when you EXPECT hundreds of pages of illustrations that tell the story just as well, if not better, than words? But truly, Wonderstruck may actually be even better than Hugo.
While The Invention of Hugo Cabret tells the story of one boy in 1930s Paris, Wonderstruck tells two stories about two different twelve-year-olds, set fifty years apart. In 1977 in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota, Ben has just lost his mother in a car accident. He is now living with his loving but distant relatives, but discovers a memento in his mother's room that leads him to New York City in search of the father he never met. In 1927, in Hoboken, New Jersey, Rose collects clippings and photos of a famous actress, while running away from her lip-reading and speech tutor (Rose has been deaf from the age of 2). She, too, seeks something more in New York City. Ben's story is told in words, Rose's in pictures.
While there are lots of similarities between the two stories, I was very impressed by the way Brian Selznick seamlessly integrated them together. I also thought that it was very clever how Selznick made both Ben and Rose deaf (Ben becomes deaf when he is struck by lightning toward the beginning of the book). After all, since Rose's story is mostly told in pictures, that's really the only way to get the dialogue across (she writes down what she wants to communicate). At the same time, there isn't a super heavy reliance on this, and Selznick conveys a lot of emotions just through Rose's (and other characters') expressions. There's a lot of movement and a lot of feeling in Wonderstruck the book. It's very emotional... you really care about Rose and Ben, and want them to find what they're looking for. I especially liked the story of Rose, specifically because it was told in pictures. I liked looking for clues to who certain characters were or what type of action was taking place. And I love Selznick's technique (also employed in Hugo Cabret of having several illustrations that focus closer and closer in, like the opening pictures of wolves, making it appear that the wolves are really running toward you.