By Brian Selznick
Scholastic. $29.99. Ages 9 and up
With this superb illustrated novel, Brian Selznick proves to be that rare creator capable of following one masterpiece — “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” winner of the 2008Caldecott Medal — with another even more brilliantly executed. Here the author/illustrator brings together wolves, silent films, deaf culture and the American Museum of Natural History in the parallel stories of two children, Ben Wilson and Rose Kincaid, separated by 50 years. Ben’s tale begins at Gunflint Lake, Minn., in 1977, and Rose’s in Hoboken, N.J., in 1927. Both youngsters, lonely and deaf, undertake separate, perilous journeys to New York City. The 638-page novel cuts between Ben’s narrative, constructed of words, and Rose’s tale, depicted in spreads reminiscent of movie stills. Selznick deftly builds a sense of continuity and suspense by juxtaposing words against pictures and vice versa. The two stories intersect in a poignant climax that will be deeply satisfying to readers.