Parents' Guide to

The Marvels

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Epic saga of theater family, told mostly in pictures.

The Marvels Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 1 parent review

age 6+

Moving, Imaginative and Multi-layered: A Great Story (/Stories) for Anyone!

We just finished this book, and I want to go back and re-read already--it's beautifully done, both in its stirring pictures (which feel so ALIVE!) and the many nuanced, real characters. Children of all ages, as well as their parents (and adult readers without children, for that matter) will find many things to love here. I liked "Hugo," loved "Wonderstruck," and would put this one somewhere inbetween. I feel I need to address the only other (as of this writing) review on this, too, which claims there is "explicit" material here. Perhaps this person lives in a hole (or a closet), or doesn't understand what that word means, for there is nothing explicit in this book. This same reviewer claims to not be "gay bashing"--a bad sign, when you have to lead with this--but then puts in the review's title "Gay relationships!" as the first "warning". This is insulting and angering. Not to mention small-minded and homophobic, of course. There is in fact no controversy here. There are gay relationships, but then, so what? My children absolutely loved this story for what it is: a brilliant, imaginative and complex tale (or several tales in one, actually) they'll read again and again. More than anything, it's a story about love, and about the limitless possibilities of love and of stories. That is surely something we can all get behind. (And thank goodness we are growing up in an age when anyone, gay or straight, can marry the ones they love. My children didn't even question the relationships here.) I will be recommending this book to everyone!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (4):

Brian Selznick delivers another stunner in the intertwined sagas -- told mostly in pictures -- of a shipwrecked boy in 1766, the theatrical dynasty he founded, and a teen runaway in 1990. Keep the box of tissues handy, as there's plenty of loss and many heartstring-tugging moments along the way, as well as lots of love, humor, and miracles in the strangest of places.

It's a lush, complex tapestry of stories that rewards many visits. It also explores many deep subjects (death, loss, families, relationships, truth and fiction -- and which is which), as well as history that may be news to today's young readers, such as the AIDS epidemic. Gay and straight couples, and the joy and grief of their relationships, are essential to the story.

Book Details

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