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The Resource The Marvels, Brian Selznick

The Marvels, Brian Selznick

Label
The Marvels
Title
The Marvels
Statement of responsibility
Brian Selznick
Creator
Author
Illustrator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In 1766, a boy, Billy Marvel, is shipwrecked, rescued, and goes on to found a brilliant family of actors that flourishes in London until 1900--and nearly a century later, Joseph Jervis, runs away from home, seeking refuge with his uncle in London, and is captivated by the Marvel house, with its portraits and ghostly presences
Tone
Character
Illustration
Award
  • Rainbow List, 2016.
  • ALA Notable Children's Book, 2016
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Grades 5-8 Caldecott Medalist Selznick has been creating acclaimed illustrated novels for years now, and his latest takes his groundbreaking narrative format to new heights. Whereas The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007) and Wonderstruck (2011) wove together alternating illustrations and prose, The Marvels opens with a nearly 400-page wordless illustrated story before moving on to words. With his signature close-up, crosshatched pencil drawings and cinematic visual pacing, Selznick opens on a ship at sea, the Kraken, with a young girl tied to the mast and threatened by a vicious monster. Just in the nick of time, an angel appears, ready to save her, but a page turn later, Selznick reveals that the whole scene is a play performed on the ship. Real disaster strikes, however, when a sudden storm tosses the ship, and it sinks into the waves. The girl and the angel—really two brothers, Billy and Marcus—are the sole survivors, along with Billy’s dog, Tar, but Marcus dies on the desert island they’ve washed up on. Thankfully, Billy is rescued, and after arriving in London, he finds a home among the backstage rigging crew at the Royal Theater. From there, Selznick traces generations of the Marvel family, who all work in the theater in one capacity or another. The final Marvel, Leontes, is a terrible actor and a huge disappointment to his father, so he decides to run away to sea, but just as he’s about to depart, he finds the theater engulfed in flames. It’s there that the Marvel family saga abruptly ends, and after a few starkly blank pages, the story switches to prose and skips ahead to London in 1990, where Selznick introduces Joseph Jervis, a 13-year-old on the run from his boarding school in England and searching for his estranged uncle, Albert Nightingale. Once he finally finds his uncle’s house, he discovers something truly strange: Albert lives in a veritable time capsule. Nineteenth-century furnishings, candlelit chandeliers, ornate paintings of ships, and lush upholstery fill each room. Even stranger, Albert keeps each room in careful disarray, as if a group of people has just left, cleaning and dusting but swapping day-old, half-eaten food and cups of tea with fresh replacements. Curious Joseph can’t help but explore, much to the frustration of his grumpy, reserved uncle, and he starts to notice odd things. Pictures of a ship called the Kraken appear all over the house. A picture of a young boy named Leontes—with red hair, just like his own—is laid out reverentially on a sideboard. Joseph asks his uncle many questions, but Albert’s cagey reluctance to answer only solidifies the boy’s belief that there’s a magnificent (or dreadful) family secret at play. Thanks to the threads of the illustrated tale that are woven throughout the prose story, readers will almost certainly be as convinced as Joseph that there’s hidden family history to be discovered. But the reality is both more prosaic and more magical. Just as Selznick’s detailed and artfully deliberate illustrations gradually build a moving narrative, so, too, do his carefully wrought words. In unembellished and evocative prose, he slowly shares clues and masterfully misdirects readers’ attentions. After Albert reveals the truth, certain slightly odd details from the illustrations, particularly the leitmotifs that link each generation of the Marvels, suddenly take on new significance, and the facts Joseph thinks he has figured out crisply shift into something far more resonant than just a swashbuckling family history. Joseph, who is gently evaluating his sexuality and feeling very different, hopes to find some answers about himself in the secrets Albert is keeping. Meanwhile, lonely, heartbroken Albert, who is facing the troubling reality of being gay in the 1990s, resists attachment of almost every kind. What starts as a quest for a juicy, adventurous legacy sidesteps into an enveloping discovery of home for both Joseph and Albert, neither of whom realized he needed to find one, particularly one as unusual as Albert’s. Selznick’s warm, affecting family tale is bittersweet, astonishing, and truly marvelous. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Any new Selznick novel, but especially one in the same family as The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, is a red-letter literary event. -- Hunter, Sarah (Reviewed 07-01-2015) (Booklist, vol 111, number 21, p66)
  • /* Starred Review */ Gr 4 – 6 — This brilliant journey through time in words and pictures is also a story of a theatrical family and their fortunes. This heavy tome opens to tell of one family, the Marvels, from 1766 to 1900 as their connection to the Royal Theatre in London begins and perhaps ends. In the first half of the book, all of this complex history is vividly conveyed through illustrations, with minor hints from playbills, cards, and letters that appear as part of the art. Selznick's ability to convey the passing of time and connections among characters is remarkable. Characters appear, shine, and disappear throughout the years, but certain motifs recur no matter where the spotlight is focused. The second portion of the story is conveyed entirely in text, building on the same themes but taking place in 1990 in a very different London, where the echoes from the past are particularly embodied in 13-year-old Joseph, a boarding school runaway searching for his uncle's house. He soon meets Uncle Albert, who seems less interested in getting to know his nephew than in the preservation of an anachronistic Victorian house which is more museum than home. The echoes from the earlier history are haunting, requiring Joseph to delve into the secrets of Uncle Albert and of the house without giving away his own. Selznick ends with a satisfying section of illustrations that embody the maxim of this family, "You either see it or you don't." VERDICT Complex, entertaining, and full of gorgeous art and writing, this is a powerhouse of a book.—Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO --Carol A. Edwards (Reviewed August 1, 2015) (School Library Journal, vol 61, issue 8, p92)
  • /* Starred Review */ Selznick imagines an alternate backstory for a real English tourist attraction, the Dennis Severs’ House: 10 meticulously curated rooms that suggest what life might have been like for a family of Huguenot silk weavers in 18th-century London. The first 500 pages are double-page pencil drawings that (almost) wordlessly tell the story of the Marvel family, beginning with a 1766 shipwreck and following successive generations as they gain fame in London’s theater community. As he did in his Caldecott Medal–winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret , Selznick uses a telescoping point of view with great success, bringing the audience effortlessly from the general to the specific, from wide shot to close-up. The next 200 pages are prose, jumping forward to 1990 when a boy named Joseph Jervis has run away from boarding school in search of an uncle he has never met. Uncle Albert, who lives in a home maintained in much the same way as the Dennis Severs’ House, has been reclusive ever since losing his “beloved” to AIDS, but Joseph and the neighbor girl he befriends, Frankie, refuse to stay away. Viewed narrowly, it’s a love letter to the Dennis Severs’ House, but readers won’t need preexisting knowledge of the museum to enjoy this powerful story about creating lasting art and finding family in unexpected places. Ages 8–12. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed July 6, 2015) (Publishers Weekly, vol 262, issue 27, p)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10442607
Cataloging source
NJQ/DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Selznick, Brian
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 4
  • 6
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Families
  • Actors
  • Theatre
  • Actors and actresses
  • Adventure and adventurers
  • Theatres
  • London (England)
  • Great Britain
Target audience
pre adolescent
Label
The Marvels, Brian Selznick
Instantiates
Publication
Note
Told in two stand-alone stories, the first nearly 400 pages of continuous pictures, and the second in text
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
  • text
  • still image
Content type MARC source
  • rdacontent
  • rdacontent
Control code
000054947815
Dimensions
22 cm.
Extent
640 pages
Isbn
9780545448680
Isbn Type
(hard cover : alk. paper)
Lccn
2015023161
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)922624414
Label
The Marvels, Brian Selznick
Publication
Note
Told in two stand-alone stories, the first nearly 400 pages of continuous pictures, and the second in text
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
  • text
  • still image
Content type MARC source
  • rdacontent
  • rdacontent
Control code
000054947815
Dimensions
22 cm.
Extent
640 pages
Isbn
9780545448680
Isbn Type
(hard cover : alk. paper)
Lccn
2015023161
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)922624414

Library Locations

    • Lionel Bowen Library and Community CentreBorrow it
      669-673 Anzac Parade, Marouba, NSW, 2035, AU
      -33.938111 151.237977
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