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"The average reading level of American parents of young children is 7th or 8th grade, but 80% of pediatric materials f... More

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Author: Brian Selznick

Illustrator: Brian Selznick

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Publisher: Scholastic Inc., 2011

Material: hard cover

Summary: Employing the form he created in his trailblazing debut novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the Caldecott Medal-winning author/illustrator once again takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey that tells the story of 12-year-old Ben, who ... In this middle grade novel two characters tell the story. One with words, one with illustrations.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 10 and Up; read yourself: 10 and Up

Interest Level: 10 and Up

Reading Level: 5.4

Age of Child: Read with a 10-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter doesn't like books with "lots of words," so we thought this might engage her. She had trouble *getting* Rose's story and the history context. She lost interest about halfway through.

Adult Reader Reaction: I am not usually drawn to wordless books. Wonderstruck was a great surprise. The stories are woven together well, and I didn't fully expect the connections to emerge as they did. The one disapointment are the illustrations of a face that span two pages. I know the *why* but it detracts from the reading.

Pros: There is more than meets the eye in Wonderstruck. There is something for everyone - including adult readers.

Cons: Adult readers will need to spend time "setting up" Rose's story in its historical context.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a thoughtful, thought-provoking study that introduces readers to worlds and ideas they are likely unfamiliar with.


Educational Themes: The author talks about his research and includes a bibliography of places to learn more about deaf culture, cabinets of wonder, the World's Fair, and 1927, as well. They offer a great place to start in building on a reader's interest in the ideas Wonderstruck offers. One of the underlying themes is family. Ben ultimately traces his family tree. This may be something you as a family want to do for yourselves.

Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up this book at Book Expo America.

Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, family, friendship, middle grade, 1920s, 1930s, health, illness

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2015

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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