Book Review of Kaleidoscope
The Children’s Book Review
Written and Illustrated by Brian Selznick
Ages 8+ | 208 Pages
Publisher: Scholastic | ISBN: 9781338777246
What to Expect: Hope, love, grief, loss, magic, dreams.
Keys. Books. Gardens. Ships. Friends. Loss. Sometimes there are giants, knights, and ghosts. At other times, they only play games of make-believe. In the hot California desert, they find a sphinx made of plywood and plaster who stares at them enigmatically. In an abandoned house, they find a broken clock that tells time in decades and centuries. In New Jersey, they collect the half-burned fragments of a neighbor’s encyclopedic, life-long exploration of the word “apple.”Across time and space, two boys find each other, journey together, and lose each other and themselves. Where they will end up, no one knows – but it is the journey that is important.
“Don’t read for plot” is the publisher’s advice on Kaleidoscope, and it is sound advice. Like watching an old film with the sound turned off, Kaleidoscope is a dreamy, ethereal, immersive reading experience that defies reduction to the logical. Sensory vignettes are held together only loosely by theme, character, and imagery, resulting in moving and poignant episodes despite leaving readers to construct their own meanings. Selznick’s iconic black-and-white illustrations add further layers of mystery to each chapter, playing with both perspective and symbolism. This is not an easy read, but it is absolutely made for re-reading, sharing, discussing, and introspecting.
If you like Brian Selznick’s work, Kaleidoscope will take you to the next level.
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About the Author
Brian Selznick’s books have sold millions of copies, garnered countless awards worldwide, and been translated into more than 35 languages. He broke open the novel form with his innovative and genre-defying thematic trilogy, beginning with the Caldecott Medal-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Invention of Hugo Cabret, adapted into Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning movie Hugo. He followed that with the #1 New York Times bestseller, Wonderstruck, adapted into the eponymous movie by celebrated filmmaker Todd Haynes, with a screenplay by Selznick; and the New York Times bestseller, The Marvels.
Selznick’s two most recent books for young people, Baby Monkey, Private Eye, co-written with his husband David Serlin, and Kaleidoscope, a New York Times Notable Children’s Book of 2021, were both New York Times bestsellers as well. He also illustrated the 20th-anniversary edition covers of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Selznick and Serlin divide their time between Brooklyn, New York, and La Jolla, California.
More From Brian Selznick
Dr. Jen Harrison reviewed Kaleidoscope by Brian Selznick. Discover more books like Kaleidoscope by reading our reviews and articles tagged with Brian Selznick, Grief, Hope, Magic, and Middle Grade Books.