Bonnie Gayle's Reviews > The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
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's review
Jan 26, 08

bookshelves: historical-fiction, reviewed, library-books, comic-or-graphic-novel, childrens
Recommended for: fans of sweet stories and creative storytelling methods
Read in January, 2008

For being over 500 pages, this was about a 1 1/2 to 2 hour read, because there is a balance between words, and also full-paged pictures.
You can't talk about the book without talking about the author, who is in the movie business, and the way the pictures in the book told the story directly relates to a way a movie (especially a silent movie) tells a story. The pictures and the words worked together to create a unique and highly effective way to tell a story.

Hugo Cabret is an orphan. He lives inside of the walls of the Paris train station in the 1930's, and has been keeping the clocks running, secretly, since his Uncle died.

His sole mission, though, is to get an automaton running, which his father found and was trying to fix before his death. To accomplish his mission, Hugo has been stealing gears and small parts from an old man's toy shop in the train station, and using a small notebook full of sketches that belonged to his father. One day, though, he is caught by the old man, who takes his notebook.

Isabelle, the granddaughter of the old man in the shop becomes interested in Hugo, and tries to help him get his notebook back...but little do the two of them know how much Isabelle holds the key to getting the automaton to work.

The story was unique, sweet, and surprising. You have an instant empathy for Hugo, and that empathy helps carry the reader through the story. Getting back to the illustrations, I was surprised to notice how much thought had been put into them, even down to the fact that the single spread illustrations have more detail, so you linger over them longer, yet the multiple page illustrations are less detailed, allowing the reader to flip through them faster, giving the feeling of seeing the action progess, the way it does on a movie screen.

The only issue I have with the book, is, in fact the title. I found it misleading, and wished that the author had come up with another that was more accurate.

This one is highly recommended, and has the feeling of a new classic about it.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Deb (new) - rated it 4 stars

Deb I enjoyed this one too, although it made for very odd bus-reading as I was flipping through some of the wordless pages. Still--the illustrations are stunning and I agree, it's definitely en route to being a children's classic.

Bonnie Gayle Yeah. Probably not the best public book. It does look kind of odd to go through 50 pages in 5 minutes:)

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