by Brian Selznick (2011)
Just in time to go watch Hugo Cabaret on the big screen I got to read Selznick's new magical combo of words and illustrations. There is a lot going on, the two stories in words and pictures across different time periods are not always the smoothest to follow, but it all wraps up cleanly and clearly in the end. The pencil drawings are incredible, telling a beautiful and emotional story all on their own.
Set both in the 1920s and 1977, the stories follow a boy and a girl each searching for a parent and running away from an unhappy home situation. It's not light-hearted -- one mom dies, the other leaves the family and rejects her child -- but there are elements of mystery, searching, danger and adventure, not to mention wolves!, that will keep readers interested. I would be curious to see how a child reads just the drawing pages all the way through first, just to see how much or what story they make from it.
Lots of connections -- museums, collections, sign language, Deaf community/school, that Basil Frankenriter (?) book about kids running away and living in the museum...