First off, if you have never actually seen a copy of this go to your local bookstore and find it. You’ll want to stroke and fondle it and take it home with you. I think something about the black pages is so out of the norm that it intrigues you. I thought the cover was gorgeous before reading it but afterward it is pure perfection. I’m about to write a paper on how this is a picture book as defined by the award (I think it is and definitely deserves the award) but I also think that this book is in a category all of it’s own. Before I read it people described it as kind of a picture book, kind of a graphic novel, kind of a novel but I think the point is that is goes beyond. On the title page it says “A Novel in Words and Pictures by Brian Selznick” which is really the only simple way to describe it. Though I think it was also phrased well on the front flap “With 284 pages of original drawings, and combining elements of picture book, graphic novel, and film, Brian Selznick breaks open the novel form to create an entirely new reading experience. Here is a stunning cinematic tour de force from a boldy innovative storyteller, artist, and bookmaker.” Okay I think I’m done quoting seeing as that is not normally my style. The illustrations done in pencil are absolutely enchanting and seem almost tactile and they evoke the simplicity of the early films that also play such a large part in the story. I’m not a big fan of trying to summarize, you can never pin it down. When a friend asked what it was about I told him: a boy who fixes clocks, an automaton that was broken, a toy maker, a stubborn girl, early film. There is such depth and interconnectedness that it is almost impossible to begin to hint. I suppose I should end with this. I teared up at the end but not because something sad happens but because it was so beautiful.
Caldecott Winner 2008
New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2007
Quill Award Winner
Los Angeles Times Favorite Children’s Book of 2007
Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2007