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A Behind the Scenes Look at How a Beloved Book Became a Major Motion Picture

illustrated by Brian Selznick by Brian Selznick photographed by Jaap Buitendijk

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-545-33155-5
Publisher: Scholastic

Timed just to precede the scheduled release of the film version of Selznick’s Caldecott-winner, a chubby compendium of stills interspersed with background notes and interviews.

Easy-to-digest single spreads of narrative text are embedded in color photos of sets, cast members and crew (plus occasional illustrations from the original book for comparison) in a manner mimicking the design of the original. Selznick opens with stage-setting comments on his characters and inspirations, then goes on to introduce 40 people involved in the project, from director Martin Scorsese to the lead and supporting actors, set designers, script writer, technical staff and even an “On Set Magician.” He, Scorsese and scholar David Serlin also tuck in capsule historical essays on Paris in 1931, automatons and early French filmmakers—particularly Georges Méliès, whose significant role in the book has evidently been even further magnified for the screen. Readers are expected to be familiar with the tale’s plot, and the interviews are threaded with bland clichés (producer Graham King was “enchanted by Brian Selznick’s book. Immediately we thought it would be a beautiful story for Martin Scorsese to create into a piece of cinema”) and name-check references to old movies. At least the photos provide a sense of how the cast and film will look, and Selznick’s account of how he unexpectedly became an extra in the final scene makes a lively closing bit.

Marketing froth, mostly, but with tidbits for budding fans of cinema's history. (place, movie and website lists, thumbnail biographies of cast and crew) (Nonfiction. 10-13)