Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reported on the latest Brexit news, including how my favorite soap opera is handling it. Sim took us on a Jack the Ripper tour and asked for advice about which one she should take in real life. Jean revisited The Fellowship of the Ring and found more to love. Becky continued her journey through Anthony Trollope’s novels with The Three Clerks.
Book: The Marvels by Brian Selznick
Genre: Middle grade
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication date: 2015
The prologue begins in the late 18th century and follows multiple generations of a family of sailors and actors. I loved learning about the connections between sailing ships and theaters in this book.
The text chapters begin about two centuries later, in 1990, when we find ourselves in the midst of the adventure of Joseph, who has run away from boarding school to locate an uncle he’s never met. The uncle lives an oddly anachronistic life in an old Victorian house. The mystery that keeps the reader enthralled is: how does the story in the prologue connect to the story in the text?
Thoughts: Thanks to Becky’s review, I requested The Marvels by Brian Selznick from the library. I was charmed by this story, the characters, and the house that is the main setting.
It turns out that the house is based on a real one that we can all visit the next time we’re in London: Dennis Severs’ House. This historic house isn’t kept as a museum, it’s kept as the home of a fictional family that “lived” in the house from 1724 until the early 20th century. As you tour the house, you’re searching for the family — in each room, you see evidence that they were just there. The effect is a bit like performance art with audience participation in the story. Visit the website — it sounds fascinating! I love that I learned about this from a children’s book.