Saturday, March 12, 2016

Selznick, Brian. The Marvels.

Selznick, Brian.  The Marvels.  Scholastic Press      2015  665p  $32.99  ISBN 978-0-545-44868-0  ms/hs  Realistic fiction      E-BN      

In this brilliant and wonderful story, Brian Selznick has created a delightful novel delivered through amazing illustrations and text.  Having read The Invention of Hugo Cabaret and Wonder Struck, this reviewer feels that this is Brian Selznick’s most notable work of art in illustrations and story-telling so far.  Definitely a must read!

The story begins in wonderful illustrations, set in 1766, when the shipwreck of the Krakus leaves Billy as the only survivor, along with his dog, Tar. Billy has lost his brother
, and just after burying him, Billy is rescued by a British ship.  He is then settled in London, in the theater, where many generations flourish, performing Shakespeare’s plays.  When Leontes Marvel is banished, the story takes a turn.

The plot then jumps to 1990
, using more written text, and an entirely and seemingly unrelated plot begins.  Joseph Jervis runs away from boarding school to his Uncle Albert Nightingale’s mysterious house in London. Curious about his family, Joseph and his new friend Frankie analyze clues until they uncover part of the story, but the actual truth of the events can only be explained by Uncle Albert.  The mysterious relationships among Joseph, Marcus, the Marvel family, and Frankie’s family are finally explained by Albert.  The ending successfully conjoins the separate stories and leaves the reader amazed and wanting more.

As stated previously,
this is Brian Selznick’s most notable work!  A must-have for all libraries!
Summary: Billy Marvel survives a shipwreck and finds work in a London theater featuring Shakespeare’s plays in which further generations perform as actors until 1900, when young Leontes Marvel is banished from the theater; then the story flashes to 1990, when a different story emerges until the two stories collide.    

Families-Fiction                                      --Virginia McGarvey

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