The Books of Brian Selznick

Dec 10, 2011-0

The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures. Brian Selznick. Scholastic Press. New York. 2007.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick: A Novel in Words and Pictures. Brian Selznick. Scholastic Press. New York. 2011.

The first time I heard about these books was when I stumbled upon a Martin Scorsese film project. At the time Scorsese was about to release his first 3D film based on the first book – The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The film was Hugo.

The film was scheduled to be screened later that month but in the Philippines one was not sure if it was to be shown in the theatres and the pirated market … well the quality was visually unpalatable – not even worth watching.

So in search for the story my feet took me to the bookstore of the nearest mall – Gateway. And indeed the book was in the children’s section. Now you might think a children’s book? Well a book is for everyone – whatever or whoever might one be.

The bookstore had two by Brian Selznick, there was The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 2008 the first novel to be so I was told, and there was Wonderstruck. Both books could easily be misinterprested as daunting tasks since they are hefty books each almost as thick as the combined edition of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. But it is a different set of book creatures altogether. Both books combine the use of drawings and text to tell the story. Some chapters devoted to drawings, some devoted to words and some a mixture of both. By the way, being a story told in pictures and words made it possible for The Invention of Hugo Cabret to receive the Caldecott Medal, which is annually given to the best picture book of the year.

A novel in words and pictures is how the books describe themselves. But its more than that like all books with good stories these books take you on a journey in one its about a clock maker’s son who has become an orphan and as fate would have it lives in a Paris railway station. The story also involves an automaton, books and adventure. And it happens sometime before World War II. The other tale tells the story of an orphan in search for his father in New York and a girl running away from her problem. They both find themselves in a museum Both are deaf and both live in different time periods.

The mixture of drawomgs and words are very effective in telling the story. It invokes emotions and mood. And it prompts you to ask what next?

And because of the misture the bulk of the book is not to be daunted by. You could finish it in less than a day.

In these books you will not find wizards or magic that you might be familiar with but you will find them. And along the way I guess some of you will probably find your heart and souls touched by the adventures of Selznick’s characters.

A nd suprisingly given the quality of the book: the quality of the paper and the fact that it is hardbound; It is not expensive at P524.99 each it costs just a little more than a paperback. These are books one can leave and worth leaving to someone.

Dec 10, 2011-4

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