Book Review – The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Brian Selznick
A Review by Helen McIver

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a marvelous debut novel by illustrator Brian Selznick.  So good, in fact, that it won the 2008 Caldecott medal. It was absolutely magical and another “first” for me as a reader.

What a brilliant concept:  making pictures tell long stories!  How we view those pictures and details also tells us different dimensions of the story. Included are black and white charcoal drawings, sequences,  and scenes to closeups.  The use of these dimensions allows the reader to see a variety of stories such as how the clocks work, dream sequences, silent movies, and even what Paris is like.

School children loved the mulit-layered story of this book, as much for the story itself as for the fact it was a BIG book (more than 500 pages!).  Older kids had Harry Potter; now the younger kids have Hugo..

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is the story of  a 12-year old orphan who lives in a busy Paris train station. He hides in plain sight, keeping the clocks running and staying out of the way of the authorities (and the orphanage/workhouse). It is also an homage to the French pioneer silent filmmaker, Georges Melies.

This is a captivating book full of wonder; a magical blend of graphic novel and historical fiction for the young adult audience. The movie is every bit as magical and should be on everyone’s list to see. Perfect to share with your grandchildren!!

View the trailer for the Oscar award-winning movie, Hugo, based upon the David Selnick novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret.


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