FICTION

Kaleidoscope

Scholastic. Sept. 2021. 208p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781338777246.
COPY ISBN
Gr 6 Up–Author and artist Selznick delivers big in his ambitious new short story collection. While the page count may be slight in comparison to some of his best-known titles (including The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonder), this is by far his most complex work to date. Divided into thirds—Morning, Afternoon, Evening—this book explores the relationship of an unnamed narrator and their companion, James (both characters adhere to the white default). The stories’ connections come into sharper focus as the reader moves from Morning to Evening, though a great deal is left entirely open to interpretation. Key themes include friendship, love, grief, dreams, reality, and god—heavy fare for readers both young and old. The stories cover myriad genres, but even as the characters shift and change, “I” and “James” are constants (of a sort). Each story is prefaced by two illustrations: a representational image and a kaleidoscopic abstraction. Selznick has rendered the powerful illustrations in his signature black and white, with rich tonal work and keen details; the book’s cover is stunningly executed in colored pencil.
VERDICT This title is unique in its appeal and would be a valuable addition to middle grade, young adult, and adult/general interest collections alike.

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