It is hard to know where to begin to tell about this book. I loved it--that much is easy! The Marvels by Brian Selznick (Lexile: 770; Interest Level: Grades 5-9) is a masterful combination of imagery and prose, such as we have come to expect from Brian Selznick. The first half of the book is a story told in images, page by page sharing a story of generations of actors. Then, the story is picked up in prose with Joseph, as he runs away from school to find his Uncle Albert. Only when he finds Albert, it isn't the heartwarming family reunion Joseph was hoping for.
Joseph begins to unravel a mystery surrounding his strange uncle who lives in a house of peculiar sounds, candlelight, and a perpetually interrupted dinner party. He searches for meaning in the drawings and portraits framed on the walls and the old clothes and antique furniture that fill the rooms. Yet, just as he thinks he has figured it out, he discovers another twist to the tale.
This story is one of searching for family and home and belonging, as well as keeping alive the beauty and mysterious stories of the past. Stories and facts may not be the same, but that doesn't mean they aren't both true in some way.
Fans of Brian Selznick's other books (The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck) will also enjoy The Marvels, as will anyone who has ever searched for belonging. (672 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.