Have you ever had an experience that was so serendipitous and special, it must be magic? The Boy of a Thousand Faces by Brian Selznick tells a story of the right people coming together at the right time. Alonzo King is not your typical kid. He is obsessed with monsters and loves to watch horror movies. In fact, his idol is actor Lon Chaney (aka The Man of a Thousand Faces). Alonzo wants to be just like him and tries to create one thousand different scary faces (captured by Polariod prints). In his peer group, Alonzo is alone in his love for all things creepy and mysterious and sometimes feels lonely. He finds a kindred spirit in his neighbor, Mr. Blake, and as their friendship grows, he finds out that Mr. Blake is more than he seems to be. Alonzo does not suspect that Mr. Blake has the power to make his wish come true. In return, Mr. Blake finds the inspiration he needs to reclaim his title as Mr. Shadows (the host of the late night movie show where Alonzo sees his favorite classic horror films).
All though this book is quite short for a Brian Selznick book (48 pages compared to the 700 something of Hugo Cabret or Wonderstruck) the author maintains the perfect balance of written word and illustration. Selznick has mastered the art of telling a story with a message (in this case, finding friends in unexpected places and not apologizing for being yourself). In this book, the photographs, illustrations and descriptions of may inspire young readers to explore the world of cryptozoology and old movies (like The Phantom of the Opera).
Recommendation: 5 out of 5 lupines