Woundabout by Lev Rosen, illustrated by Ellis Rosen
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2015. 978-0316370783
Synopsis: When their parents die in a tragic accident, Connor and Cordelia and their pet capybara are sent to live with their Aunt Marigold in the mysterious town of Woundabout. Woundabout is a special place that seems to be untouched by change, but it makes the town a somewhat gloomy place. When they learn of the theft of a valuable crank that could wind the town back to life, the children decide that they must find the crank and use it in order to create the change that Wondabout desperately needs.
Why I picked it up: I heard the author speak at a library conference this last summer and was intrigued by the premise. Also, why would you not want to read about kids who have a pet capybara?
Why I finished it: This is a charming story about the joys that can come out of tragedy and the positive power of change. Connor and Cordelia have no idea what is in store for them when they are sent to live with their aunt, but it is clear from the outset that their presence in a town without change is being met with mixed feelings. The reader gets the sense that there are some townspeople – like their aunt’s butler, Gray – who might welcome change, but the Mayor and many of the others believe change to be almost harmful and dangerous. Connor and Cordelia must become ambassadors of why the town should embrace change and in the process begin healing. Rosen’s art adds an extra dimension to the story, bringing to life the strange and mysterious world of Woundabout. The use of thick lines adds a whimsical touch, and the black and white drawings break up the text a little more so that the reader is not bogged down. The Rosen brothers have created an engaging and uplifting story whose message is about why change is nothing to fear. It is possible to bounce back from even the saddest situations, and even if something seems like it is at an end, it is really just a new beginning.
Other related materials: Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley; The Marvels by Brian Selznick; Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick; The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka; Stonebird by Mike Revell; Masterminds by Gordon Korman; Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson, illustrated by Natalie Andrewson; A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano; Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly, illustrated by Skottie Young; If You Find This by Matthew Baker