A sheltered deaf girl in New York City runs away. Her story, very appropriately, is told in images, snapshots in pencil. Fifty years later, a boy in Minnesota whose mother has died runs away, to find his father. His story is told in words. The place where their stories meet is sweet, beautiful, magical.
There's no doubt that Brian Selznick is doing something unique, something spectacular, with his books. There's something absolutely magical about handing a child a huge, 600-page volume that they can finish reading inside of a week; that's an accomplishment that can bolster a child's reading confidence, turn them into a reader. The illustrations are breath-taking and communicative. The writing is clear, clean, and straight-forward. The characters are relatable, but uncommon, and the magic, as I said, is where the illustrations and the writing meet. A very special book, indeed.