From the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck comes a breathtaking new voyage.
In this magnificent reimagining of the form he originated, 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 mystery The Marvels is a loving tribute to the power of story.
Selznick imagines an alternate backstory for a real English tourist attraction, the Dennis Severs' House: 10 meticulously curated rooms that suggest what life might have been like for a family of Huguenot silk weavers in 18th-century London. The first 500 pages are double-page pencil drawings that (almost) wordlessly tell the story of the Marvel family, beginning with a 1766 shipwreck and following successive generations as they gain fame in London's theater community. As he did in his Caldecott Medal winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Selznick uses a telescoping point of view with great success, bringing the audience effortlessly from the general to the specific, from wide shot to close-up. The next 200 pages are prose, jumping forward to 1990 when a boy named Joseph Jervis has run away from boarding school in search of an uncle he has never met. Uncle Albert, who lives in a home maintained in much the same way as the Dennis Severs' House, has been reclusive ever since losing his "beloved" to AIDS, but Joseph and the neighbor girl he befriends, Frankie, refuse to stay away. Viewed narrowly, it's a love letter to the Dennis Severs' House, but readers won't need preexisting knowledge of the museum to enjoy this powerful story about creating lasting art and finding family in unexpected places. Ages 8 12.