When it is Christmas Eve and you are reading while waiting for
your daughter to come home to watch a movie with you and your cat is
on your lap near the magnificent tree...well not just any book will
do. What you are reading must be nothing less than magic. Brian
Selznick's The Marvels is one of the few books that can measure up.
Just as he did with Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabaret,
Selznick finds new ways of storytelling through novel combinations of
pictures of words to bring fascinating imaginary worlds alive for the
The first almost four hundred pages are done almost entirely in
richly detailed black and white pictures, opening with a shipwreck of
which the only survivors are a boy and his dog. The boy grows up
working in a theater and adopts a baby who becomes the first
generation of an acting dynasty.
Then there is an abrupt change of format and story line. From
almost exclusively pictures we go to all words. We acquire a
protagonist: a boy who has run away from boarding school to the rather
strange home of an uncle whom he has never met. A boy who turns out
to be a girl, an elusive white dog, and ghostly voices including that
of an unseen bird round out the cast of characters.
And both story strands torn out to be deeply interconnected.
Yowza! I just hope that Selznick is at work on his next
On a personal note, I had the best Christmas anyone possibly could.
My Katie came home Christmas Eve and slept in her old bed. In the
morning she and Adam opened gifts with her dad and me. She helped me
pick out an outfit the family gathering in the afternoon which was
great. My kids and their cousins were together. We had a really
funny Yankee swap and the traditional cloth snowball fight. It was an
absolutely perfect day which ended up with me watching a Christmas DVD
with my husband and Joey cat.
A great big shout out goes out to my readers. I hope that those of
you who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful one.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod