THE MARVELS by Brian Selznick
Kirkus Star

THE MARVELS

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 10 & up
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In the final volume of a trilogy connected by theme, structural innovation, and exquisite visual storytelling, Selznick challenges readers to see.

Starting in 1766, the first portion unfolds in nearly 400 pages of pictures, rendered in pencil. A ship in shadows, a luminous angel, an abandoned baby in a basket—these are among the phenomena affecting five generations of London actors. Disguises and surprises reveal that what one sees is not always what is true. Fast-forwarding to the 1990s, the author describes in prose a runaway who peers longingly into a candlelit dwelling. Joseph is searching for an uncle and something more elusive—family. Observant readers will recall this recently viewed address. Inspired by the actual Dennis Severs’ House (where scent, sound, setting, and the motto “You either see it or you don’t” transport visitors to 18th-century London), Selznick provides a sensory equivalent throughout his eloquent and provocative text. The poetry of Yeats and references to The Winter’s Tale add luster. Carefully crafted chapters pose puzzles and connect to the prior visual narrative. In poignant scenes, the teen learns about his uncle’s beloved, lost to AIDS but present through the truths of the home’s staged stories. A powerful visual epilogue weaves threads from both sections, and the final spread presents a heartening awakening to sight.

Time, grief, forgiveness, and love intersect in epic theater celebrating mysteries of the heart and spirit. (notes) (Fiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-545-44868-0
Page count: 672pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2015




BEST MIDDLE-GRADE BOOKS OF 2015 THAT CELEBRATE DIFFERENCE AND DIVERSITY:

ChildrenTHE SONG WITHIN MY HEART by David Bouchard
by David Bouchard
ChildrenTHE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
ChildrenGONE CRAZY IN ALABAMA by Rita Williams-Garcia
by Rita Williams-Garcia
ChildrenSTELLA BY STARLIGHT by Sharon M. Draper
by Sharon M. Draper

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for NORSE MYTHOLOGY
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for THE PRISONER
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for DU IZ TAK?
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for UNIVERSAL HARVESTER
VERDICT:
BORROW IT

MORE BY BRIAN SELZNICK

ChildrenTHE HUGO MOVIE COMPANION by Brian Selznick
by Brian Selznick
ChildrenWONDERSTRUCK by Brian Selznick
by Brian Selznick
ChildrenTHE RUNAWAY DOLLS by Ann M. Martin
by Ann M. Martin
ChildrenTHE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick
by Brian Selznick
ChildrenMARLY’S GHOST by David Levithan
by David Levithan
ChildrenLUNCH MONEY by Andrew Clements
by Andrew Clements

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE PILOT AND THE LITTLE PRINCE by Peter Sís
by Peter Sís
ChildrenTHE ARRIVAL by Shaun Tan
by Shaun Tan
ChildrenMY BROTHER'S BOOK by Maurice Sendak
by Maurice Sendak