Saturday, September 19, 2015

Kid Konnection: The Marvels & Giveaway

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you a truly incredible book by none other than Brian Selznick.

Summary: Caldecott Award winner and bookmaking trailblazer Brian Selznick once again plays with the form he invented and takes readers on an awe-inspiring voyage! Two seemingly unrelated stories-one in words, the other in pictures-come together with spellbinding synergy! The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. How the picture and word stories intersect will leave readers marveling over Selznick's storytelling prowess.

Filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heartrending beauty, and featuring Selznick's most arresting art to date, The Marvels is a moving tribute to the power of story. -- Scholastic

I am so excited to have the opportunity to share my adoration for THE MARVELS by Caldecott Medal winning author Brian Selznick! This book is fantastic and I'm finding that there aren't enough words to truly convey how amazing it is. If you are familiar with Mr. Selznick's other books, then you know his work is magical. His illustrations are jaw-dropping with their exquisite detail, and he also manages to write beautiful stories to complement them. He's done it again with THE MARVELS.

I am not alone in my praise for THE MARVELS -- it is getting rave reviews! It has already received starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal; and it was selected as an Autumn 2015 Kids' Indie Next List Selection. If you can't tell already, THE MARVELS is a must-read for kids of all ages!

THE MARVELS is unlike any book I've ever read. It's absolutely huge with almost 500 pages of drawings before the text parts of the story even begin. The pictures are, of course, beautiful as you can see from the examples below; and the written part of the novel is both powerful and surprising. I am honestly blown away by how much Mr. Selznick's accomplishes with this book -- it's epic!

THE MARVELS begins by telling the history of the Marvel family from a shipwreck in 1766 to the successes the family experienced in theatre in 1900. Oh! And did I mention that this entire story is told in almost 500 pages of pencil drawings? The book then fast forwards to 1990 when text takes over for the next 200 pages of the story.

Joseph Jervis is a 13 year old boy who escapes from his boarding school and sets out to find his Uncle Albert. Albert, a recluse, and his house look like they are both from the 1800s rather than 1990, and Joseph has a hard time reconciling his uncle's behavior as well as the mysterious voices he hears in the house. As Joseph and his new friend Frankie are determined to get to the bottom of the mysteries.

Readers will be amazed by this "marvelous" story. The book pays tribute to the Dennis Severs' House, a tourist attraction in England that is meticulously maintained to look like the 1800s. However, it's so much more than that too. THE MARVELS provides a mystery for the reader full of secrets and clues. It also is a moving look at friendship and family as well as the beauty in all forms of art.

THE MARVELS would make a wonderful discussion book for middle graders. I was so excited to find a discussion guide with ten questions and some ideas for further "explorations." Some of the themes you might want to explore include stories and books, fire, family, the house, time, grief, forgiveness, love, and perception vs. reality.

There is a website devoted to THE MARVELS that has some interesting supplemental information. There is information about the house and the theatre that the book is based on as well as Mr. Selznick's other books. Scholastic also has a terrific site that provides examples of the amazing drawings in the book and a listing of Mr. Selznick's multi-city tour.

Make sure you check out this video about THE MARVELS!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.
Giveaway alert: I have a copy of THE MARVELS and a custom The Marvels jigsaw puzzle to share with one lucky reader courtesy of Scholastic! To enter, just fill out the form below before October 2nd at 11:59 p.m EST. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Beth F said...

What an awesome book and fab giveaway! Thanks.

I linked just one of my three middle grade round-ups from this week (contemporary fiction), but if your other readers are interested, check out my fantasy/alternate history/mystery post from Tuesday and my nonfiction/historical fiction/books in verse post from Thursday.

bermudaonion said...

Oh my gosh, I love Selznick's work! Thanks for the fabulous giveaway!