The Boy of a Thousand Faces

The Boy of a Thousand Faces

by Brian Selznick
     
 

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Because Alonzo King was born on Halloween, he has always loved monsters. But no one would ever guess that he lives in a haunted house with a graveyard out back, communicates with the dead, turns into a six-armed, slime-covered creature, or is a walking encyclopedia on horror films! However, when The Beast arrives, not even Alonzo can track it down. Will he be able

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Overview

Because Alonzo King was born on Halloween, he has always loved monsters. But no one would ever guess that he lives in a haunted house with a graveyard out back, communicates with the dead, turns into a six-armed, slime-covered creature, or is a walking encyclopedia on horror films! However, when The Beast arrives, not even Alonzo can track it down. Will he be able to solve the mystery of the creature stalking his town and make his dream of becoming The Boy of a Thousand Faces come true?

01-02 TX Bluebonnet Award Masterlist

01-02 TX Bluebonnet Award Masterlist

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Selznick's (The Houdini Box) offbeat tale introduces Alonzo King, a boy who has a Halloween birthday, an imagination on overdrive and an obsessive love of monsters. The 10-year-old's heroes are Mr. Shadows, the host of a late-night TV show that airs classic horror movies, and Lon Chaney, "an incredible actor... who was called `The Man of a Thousand Faces.'" Alonzo's goal is to be "The Boy of a Thousand Faces" and to that end he spends a good deal of time transforming his face with paint, makeup and tape so as to mimic some of the spooky countenances he has viewed in frightening flicks. As Halloween approaches, stories circulate about The Beast, an elusive monster that is allegedly stalking the town, and Alonzo becomes a self-described "expert" on the creature. Given the dramatic buildup concerning The Beast, kids are likely to be disappointed with the story's anticlimactic resolution. Interspersed with several photos and film stills, Selznick's closely focused, black-and-white illustrations are more impressive than his narrative. Characteristically detailed and moodily lit, at their best they approximate the pleasurable melodramas of the scary movies Alonzo so enjoys. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-Selznick has his finger on the pulse of kids and what they love. Alonzo, almost 11 and obsessed with horror movies, faithfully watches Monsters at Midnight on Channel 37, which broadcasts such reruns as Frankenstein, Dracula, and Phantom of the Opera, hosted by Mr. Shadows, who has become the boy's idol. The young protagonist secretly makes up his face to capture the look of some of the scariest of these fictional monsters, and keeps a Polaroid snapshot of each of his creations. His goal is to create 1000 different visages, inspired by the legendary Lon Chaney, "The Man of a Thousand Faces." Without giving away the very soul of the story, suffice it to say that the boy finds out the surprising true identity of Mr. Shadows and has a thrilling Halloween. Selznick's realistic pencil drawings of close-up faces, from Alonzo's extraordinary made-up monsters to the kindly Mr. Shadows, are expressive and suit the story's mood. This suspenseful book is a fine read-aloud and an excellent choice for reluctant readers.-Barbara Buckley, Rock- ville Centre Public Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Selznick (Barnyard Prayers, p. 120, etc.) illustrates this beguiling tale of a monster-mad lad with a mix of lurid film stills and masterfully rendered, dramatically under-lit portraits in pencil. Inspired by the classic movies of horrormeister Lon Chaney, Halloween-born fifth grader Alonzo so yearns to be known as "The Boy Of A Thousand Faces" that he's compiling a photo album of self-portraits in monster makeup. In the end his dream comes true, in a way, after vague but chilling rumors of a strange beast in town propel Alonzo to instant notoriety as a monster expert and one of his Polaroids is printed in the newspaper as a purported picture of the prowler. This inspires nearly every local trick-or-treater to dress as a monster come Halloween. Who is responsible for this amazing happening? Ah, only the Shadow knows. Readers will practically hear the sinister organ music rising behind this tribute to the ghoulish delights of monster mania and those old black and white screamers—the cover and the interior illustrations guarantee a ready-made audience. Nicely done. (Fiction. 9-11)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780064410809
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/2001
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
337,543
Product dimensions:
6.75(w) x 8.87(h) x 0.13(d)
Lexile:
790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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