Published September 15th 2015
by Scholastic Press
Caldecott Award winner and bookmaking trailblazer Brian Selznick once again plays with the form he invented and takes readers on a voyage!
Two seemingly unrelated stories--one in words, the other in pictures--come together. 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.
I heard about this book from a very good friend of mine at B.E.A. He raved about for a full day so it of course piqued my curiosity. I didn't read to much into the blurb so all I really gathered was that there was part written story and a part that is illustrated. After requesting this from Scholastic i immediately was taken by the gorgeous cover and lovely illustrations. That is when they story began to take shape in mind. I am actually very glad that I did not read the blurb so I was a blank slate to start with.
The Marvels follow a young man named Joseph. He is the son of two very rich society type parents who have shipped him off to a boarding school. After an "incident" leaves him in a bit of trouble and his only friend Wink leaves the school, Joseph becomes a bit bereft and decides that he is going to London to seek out his Uncle Albert Marvel. Once arriving in London the story take a bit of a turn. There was many times while reading when I was sure if it was reality or some type of day dream. This of course all adds to the charm of the book. It is a bit mysterious and allows for much interpretation. I thought I was actually enroute for a ghost story but what I got was a glowing tale of life, love, and how we all deal with loss of loved ones.
That is what life is, Joseph realized, miracles and sadness, side by side.
The Marvels - arc pg. 599
The setting of the house at 18 Folgate Street seemed to be such a presence in the story. It was basically a character all it's own. Not only was it magical and enchanting in it's own right as it was like stepping back through time. It also brought so many people and tied so may lives together. As Joseph slowly unravels the tale of The Marvels amazing and tragic history, you can begin to see how the house was practically woven in among the people.
This book is so sure to be a classic among my family as I can't wait to share it with my son. It will surely delight readers of all ages.