Saturday, January 30, 2010

So what do we think? The Boy of a Thousand Faces

The Boy of a Thousand Faces

Selznick, Brian. (2000) The Boy of a Thousand Faces. New York, NY: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-026265-6. Ages 9+; grades 4-8. See further information at  

This title should sound familiar to parents belonging to the Baby Boomer and Generation X eras. Younger parents may recognize it as well, particularly anyone with a love of classic film. It is a take-off of the name given to the famous actor, Lon Chaney, who was known as The Man of a Thousand Faces because of his versatility in portraying such as variety of characters. Selznick skillfully takes us into the life of a boy who wants to be just as versatile as Lon Chaney; to always be in disguise and not be recognized. He is mesmerized by the mystery, excitement and danger of real life monster sightings and classic horror flicks.

True to his style, Selznick has incorporated “real” photos of mythical monster mysteries as well as of real actors from classic movies. His own illustrations fit right in, which is a testament to his ability to capture the reality of a moment in both word and picture. Stylistic elements of the story mirror that of the classic films, using language that evokes suspense and flurry similar to the build up of villagers into mobs in film classics (or, as more recently parodied in the Wallace and Gromit spoof, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit).

It is a return to a time of innocence in a neighborhood where people are safe, Halloween is fun, costumes are home-made and appropriate. A time absent of today’s hustle and bustle, and where children are allowed to be....well, children. Another excellent book from Brian Selznick that we highly recommend!

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Thank you for your comment! We will review it shortly and look forward to discussing this book with you!