Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Review #110: Wonderstruck
Dad: What did you think of "Wonderstruck"?
Isaac (age 13): It was.... wonderful. And striking.
Lily (age 8): Mysterious.
Gracie (age 11): There were a lot of mysteries.
Dad: What is one way this book is like Brian Selznick's other book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret"?
Lily: They are both big!!! Super big!
Gracie: They look like huge thick dictionaries.
Lily: But you can read them really, really fast. They are made out of mostly pictures.
Dad: Who can tell me what the story of "Wonderstruck" is about?
Isaac: You mean "stor-IES." There are two. There is one story with words, and there is one story with pictures. Then at the very end they combine together.
Lily: They cross paths.
Isaac: I'll tell you the story about the boy. I'll tell you the "word" story. There's a boy whose name is Ben. His mom died in a car accident, and he doesn't know his father. He found a bookmark and a locket in his mom's room. They had his father's name and phone number, and that led him on a big search.
Lily: Ben had a bad ear and a good ear, but then he became deaf in both.
Isaac: He had tried calling his dad's phone number, but it was raining and thundering outside...
Gracie: And lightning-ing!
Isaac: What do you think "raining and thundering" means?
Gracie: You didn't say "lightning-ing."
Isaac: There's going to be lightning if there's thunder.
Isaac: That's not even a word.
Gracie: Thundering and lightning-ing.
Isaac: Ben was talking on the phone, but then he got electrocuted by the... lightning-ing.
Lily: Lightning goes into his good ear, and he becomes deaf.
Isaac: Then he ran off to New York to find his dad.
Lily: Now I'm going to tell you about the girl's journey. That story is all in pictures. Her name is Rose and she is deaf. She felt like nobody could understand her because she was deaf. She was lonely. She ran away because she didn't like studying. She ran away to a museum.
Gracie: She needed someone to accept her, so she climbed out her window and ran away to New York to find someone to accept her.
Dad: I see some reoccurring themes here. People running away from home...
Gracie: Deaf people...
Dad: We did this same thing when we reviewed "Hugo Cabret." We found themes. Brian Selznick likes to write motifs, doesn't he. What are some of the reoccurring elements in "Wonderstruck"?
Gracie: Oh yeah, I forgot Ben likes stars.
Isaac: New York City.
Gracie: Wolves. Ben has a special collecting box with wolves on it.
Lily: And there are wolves in his dreams.
Dad: And the museum has a wolf diorama.
Gracie: Collecting things is another theme. In his box Ben collected a bird skeleton, a smooth rock and a lumpy rock, a game piece, a turtle made out of seashells, and a locket.
Dad: Who else collects things?
Dad: Ooo... good word.
Gracie: A curator is pretty much anyone that collects things. Like a museum curator. But Ben learned that anyone can be a curator. You can collect memories. Curating is just collecting things and organizing them.
Isaac: His mom worked at a library, so she helped collect and organize books.
Dad: And she collected quotes and phrases.
Gracie: AWWW! They never told us what it meant! "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
Gracie: It's a quote Ben's mom had saved, but they never told us what that meant!
Dad: Well, what do you guys think it means?
Gracie: I have no idea!!!
Dad: Ben's mom wanted Ben to figure it out for himself. Maybe the author wants us to figure it out for ourselves too.
Gracie: He never told us what it meant! That's going to drive me crazy!!!
Dad: Let's think about it. Do you know what a "gutter" is?
Lily: A punch... in the gut.
(chuckles from all)
Gracie: It's a thingie on the roof that collects leaves and junk.
Dad: But I don't think there are people in those kind of gutters.
Isaac: There are gutters on the road.
Dad: And who would be laying along the side of the road?
Gracie: A traveling musician. Or a hitchhiker. Or a poor person.
Lily: A poor person would be sitting in the gutter.
Dad: So what does it mean if "we are ALL sitting in the gutter"?
Gracie: We are all poor.
Dad: We all have similar problems. But what makes some people different? It's not that some people don't have any problems...
Lily: Some of them look at the stars. They "hope."
Dad: Remember what Ben did when he found something that came from the stars?
Lily: He made a wish.
Gracie: So it means "we all have things that make us sad, but some of us have hope."
Author/Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Published, 2011: Scholastic
Like it? Here it is