The Marvels by Brian Selznick


The Marvels opens in 1766 with a devastating shipwreck. After being rescued, the lone survivor finds success on the London stage and becomes the first in a long line of great actors. Each generation of the Marvel family is shown finding fame or notoriety until young Leontes Marvel in 1900. The illustrated portion of the novel closes with him forced out of the family after not living up to expectations.

The next story picks up 90 years later with Joseph Jervis running away from school to locate an uncle he has never met. A new acquaintance helps him track down his uncle and the mysterious house he lives in. As Joseph learns more about the house and what little his uncle will tell him about the past, the more he wants to understand what is happening in the house and to the Marvel family.

This book is a wonderful hybrid of illustrations and the written word. Both stories convey such expression and emotion that there is no lack of understanding as they shift between types. It is an engrossing tale of family, loss, and love.

Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Middle Grade & Children’s (2015)

Scholastic Press, September 15, 2015, 665 pages, MS.


Booktalk by Melissa Carlson.