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Review of Baby Monkey, Private Eye

 Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin; illus. by Brian Selznick Primary    Scholastic    192 pp. 2/18    978-1-338-18061-9    $16.99 Selznick, who won the 2008 Caldecott Medal for his 534-page picture book/novel hybrid The Invention of Hugo Cabret (rev. 3/07), here presents with coauthor and husband Serlin an almost-two-hundred-page…easy reader/film-noir homage. In five chapters, […]

Brian Selznick & David Serlin Talk with Roger

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here. Sponsored by At only 192 pages, Baby Monkey, Private Eye is modest by Brian Selznick’s standards, but probably the biggest beginning-reader book you’ve ever seen. Written with his husband David Serlin, Baby […]

High reader, low motivation

In retrospect, I realize now that I have been extremely lucky. My students have always been highly motivated to read. Obviously, I’ve encountered the spectrum when it comes to low to excellent readers, but nonetheless, my students needed only minimal encouragement to read. When students lost interest, a graphic novel always did the trick (I’m […]

Review of The Marvels

The Marvels by Brian Selznick; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    671 pp. 9/15    978-0-545-44868-0    $32.99 Selznick defined his own format with The Invention of Hugo Cabret (rev. 3/07) and Wonderstruck (rev. 9/11), and this book looks the same, on the outside. But Selznick has created something wholly different here, by introducing one […]

Studio Views: Human Mistakes and Trembling Lines

Almost all of my drawings are done with a Staedtler Mars technico lead holder, which is a blue plastic pencil that holds a 2mm lead in place. This type of pencil, which is sort of like a more heavy-duty version of a mechanical pencil (the kind with the very thin lead that breaks easily and […]

Wonderstruck

Dang, it’s hard to get a fresh reading of a new book these days. If Roger Sutton or Heavy Medal isn’t commenting on Wonderstruck before I have received it, Adam Gopnik is waxing about it in the New York Times. In my reviewing life, I normally read books that have not yet been reviewed and my […]

Review of Wonderstruck

With Wonderstruck’s opening wordless sequence of an approaching wolf, readers might think they’ve embarked upon a Gary Paulsen novel, but this is a story not of wilderness adventure but of two young people running—to New York City—for their lives. The pictures (pencil, double-page spread, wordless) follow a young girl, Rose, living in material comfort but also emotional distress in 1927 Hoboken; the text is set in 1977 in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters region, where a boy, Ben, struggles with the death of his mother and the loss of his hearing.

Review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; illus. by the author Intermediate    Scholastic     534 pp. 3/07     ISBN 978-0-439-81378-5     $22.99 Here’s a dilemma for the Newbery committee…and the Caldecott: what do you do with an illustrated novel in which neither text nor pictures can tell the story alone? Not to mention the drama to be […]