The Marvels

The Marvels

by Brian Selznick


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A breathtaking new voyage from Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick.

Two stand-alone stories--the first in nearly 400 pages of continuous pictures, the second in prose--create a beguiling narrative puzzle.

The journey begins at sea in 1766, with a boy named Billy Marvel. After surviving a shipwreck, he finds work in a London theatre. There, his family flourishes for generations as brilliant actors until 1900, when young Leontes Marvel is banished from the stage.

Nearly a century later, runaway Joseph Jervis seeks refuge with an uncle in London. Albert Nightingale's strange, beautiful house, with its mysterious portraits and ghostly presences, captivates Joseph and leads him on a search for clues about the house, his family, and the past.

A gripping adventure and an intriguing invitation to decipher how the two stories connect, The Marvels is a loving tribute to the power of story from an artist at the vanguard of creative innovation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545448680
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 09/15/2015
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 140,236
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 2.30(d)
Lexile: 770L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Brian Selznick is the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of the New York Times bestsellers The Invention of Hugo Cabret, adapted into Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning Hugo, Wonderstruck, adapted into Todd Haynes's eponymous movie, and The Marvels. Among the celebrated picture books Selznick has illustrated are the Caldecott Honor Book The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, and the Sibert Honor Book When Marian Sang by Pam Muñoz Ryan. His books appear in over 35 languages. He has also worked as a bookseller, a puppeteer, and a screenwriter. He divides his time between Brooklyn, New York and San Diego, California.


Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California

Date of Birth:

July 14, 1966

Place of Birth:

New Jersey


Rhode Island School of Design

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The Marvels 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Laine-librariancanreadtoo More than 1 year ago
Going out to sea everyday, doing the same thing over and over again can be quite boring for the crew, as well as nostalgic. So what does a crew do to keep themselves occupied? Why, put on a play of course! In 1766 it is very common to see a play being put on on a ship at sea. Most beautiful plays, beautiful's a wondrous to behold. That is if the sea will cooperate and we all know the sea has a mind of it's own. A horrendous shipwreck throws the world into a loop, until they find the lone survivor of the wreck, Billy Marvel. Billy tries everything he can to move on with his life but the only comfort he can receive is from the theater. The theater folks take Billy in and teach him the fundamentals of plays and the wonderful world of imagination. For generations, the Marvels was the number one hit show in the world. Anyone who is anybody came to see the Marvels handy work. But something happens....something tragic once again plagues the Marvel family. Before finding out what happens, the story moves forward to 1990 and we follow a run away boy named Joseph who wants nothing to do with his family seeks out an estranged uncle who might be able to shed some light on his past. Joseph trying to know where his place is in this world tries desperately to stay with his Uncle who strangely enough share some similarities. But unknowing to Joseph, he just opened up a whole can of worms with his Uncle. Will his Uncle allow him to stay? Will his Uncle tell him the truth of the Marvel clan? Should one uncover a mystery....or should a mystery stay mysterious? Brian Selznick has done it again with his story-by-pictures, and story-by-words set in different times and different areas. A story of the imagination colliding with the reality sparks something in children and the young at heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
18876111 More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the most unique books that I have ever read. The first half of the book, the entire story is told through illustrations, but you really don't know what story the illustrations are telling until you read the actual story, and then everything seems to make sense. One of the themes that I picked up on while reading is finding somewhere where you feel that you truly belong, and the main character Joseph finds that after finding and living with his uncle after running away from boarding school. The story is very heartwarming, heartbreaking, and as with Selznick's other works such as Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret the illustrations are stunning and really add to the overall story.
Jerzy_Walker More than 1 year ago
I am a huge Brian Selznick fanboy. Continuing on his earlier works of The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, The Marvels is the latest in a new form of literature. Selznick's illustrations are more than just pictures, they are the story and his artwork is impressive. I've been waiting for this work for a year and my son told me that he wanted to give it to me for Christmas, so I had wait past the mid September release date. Then the book got lost here at the house and finally I ordered a second copy after New Years. The tension in my household was palpable. This is his most audacious and ambitious work of the three. He tells the story of four generations of a family seamlessly through 300 illustrations. It's stunning. And then the wheels fall off. It turns out that Selznick fell in love with a living history museum in London, one that the creator billed as a "living novel" and the creator made his own stories for the house, the family that supposedly lived there, and all their possessions. And in the same way that Peter Schaffer, for instance, created Amadeus to account for the fact that Mozart died writing a requiem mass, Selznick is trying to tell the story of a man who creates a similar living museum. The story of the four generations? It was nothing more than the background material for the house. It's anticlimactic, it's a let down, it's like a cruel shaggy dog story. It doesn't help that the book shifts entirely to prose at this point, and Selznick is an illustrator who is telling a story. His prose is average, at best, and there is way too much exposition. The book ends with a resounding thud. Ah well, Richard Adams wrote Shardick, Frank Herbert wrote Children of Dune, Stephen King wrote Buick 88. This was Selznick's mulligan. I still highly recommend Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck. But it's funny, I've been personally pumping those two works ceaselessly for four years now. Other than my daughter, I'm not aware that anyone has taken me up on them. Which is a shame, they are superb.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
The story starts in 1776 with Billy Marvel, the only survivor of a shipwreck. Alone in the world and looking to start over Billy finds himself drawn to a London theater beginning a dynasty of actors and theater performers that will span five generations. In 1990 Joseph Jervis runs away from his boarding school to the home of an estranged uncle he has never met. Uncle Albert's house is like nothing Joseph has ever seen. As he struggles to find his place in the world, Joseph will also have to unravel the mystery of the strange Marvel family and how their story is intricately linked to Joseph's family and his own future in The Marvels (2015) by Brian Selznick. The Marvels is Selznick's third novel in his innovative blend of traditional prose narrative and wordless illustrations. This time the illustrations and prose offer two distinct stories that blend together in surprising ways by the end of the novel. The Marvels begins with wordless illustrations following the larger-than-life Marvel family and their exploits on the London stage from 1776 with Billy Marvel down to 1900 when young Leo Marvel wonders if it is time to choose another path. The prose narrative picks up in 1990 as Joseph arrives in London desperate to find somewhere he can call home--even if it is with a prickly uncle he has never met in a strange house filled with artifacts whose important Joseph will come to understand over the course of the book. The less you know about The Marvels before you read it, the better. This book is one that should be experienced cold as readers work with Joseph to make sense of Uncle Albert's mysterious house and all of the secrets it holds. The Marvels is an obvious progression of Selznick's work as he masterfully brings together two seemingly unrelated narratives to create a cohesive story that is as complex as it is enthralling. Definitely a must-read of 2015.