Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick

Summary:  Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity.  But when his world suddenly interlocks--like the gears of the clocks he keeps--with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the train station, Hugo's undercover life and his most precious secret are put in jeopardy.  A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

With 284 pages of original drawings, and combining elements of picture book, graphic novel, and film, Brian Selznick breaks open the novel form to create an entirely new reading experience.  Here is a stunning, cinematic tour de force from a boldly innovative storyteller, artist and bookmaker.  (Summary from book jacket and image from

My Review:  This book has taken the school world by storm--it was made into a major motion picture which is usually a positive sign and was a fairly good movie too.  Selznick said he wanted to combine his love of art and drawing with reading.  I believe he created just that.  This is the perfect book for the reluctant reader, especially male readers.  It's a graphic novel that pushes the envelope of an actual novel, albeit a short one.  The atmosphere felt dark, foreboding, and if I were a child reading it, maybe even scary.  I loved the idea of magic mixed with mechanical objects and movies.  All three of these things fascinate children.  Huge faces major obstacles to his safety, happiness, and future simply by being an orphan.  When his uncle inexplicably doesn't turn up, his life gets even more complicated.  He must overcome his own fears and branch out past his little world of winding clocks if he will ever manage to fix the mechanical man.  I also loved his friendship with Isabelle and the relationship that ensues from his interactions wit her godfather.  The overall message is one of hope.  And in today's world, I think this is a great message to build in children.

Rating: 4 Stars, although if I were a child reading this I would probably give this 4.5 or 5 stars.

Sum it up:  A graphic novel bordering on short novel that will entice your reluctant reader and give him the faith to see himself as a reader after finishing!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I loved this book. So creative and fun! And, it feels really good to finish such a long book in an hour or two. ;)


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