Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” as Want to Read:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  176,959 ratings  ·  15,705 reviews
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 with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured ...more
Hardcover, 534 pages
Published March 2007 by Scholastic Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Invention of Hugo Cabret, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
David I think this is one of the rare cases where the book and movie are both equally good. The movie was absolutely fantastic. Probably my favorite Scorses…moreI think this is one of the rare cases where the book and movie are both equally good. The movie was absolutely fantastic. Probably my favorite Scorsese movie. It has an innocence and magic to it that his other movies (at least the ones I've seen) lack due to how gritty and serious they are. The book has all the same qualities.(less)
Aubrie This is historical fiction, taking place in France during the 1930s. Georges Méliès was an actual man with a knack for "magic" and prop work in his fi…moreThis is historical fiction, taking place in France during the 1930s. Georges Méliès was an actual man with a knack for "magic" and prop work in his films, as many film-makers and even photographers did back then because there was no such thing as Photoshop. Everything was done by hand in a dark room. Now, such movie tricks are usually done with CGI, though there are still experimental film-makers and photographers that still work by hand like he did. I think readers are most confused by the automaton, which they see as futuristic technology. It's actually not, but there was a "Golden Age of Automata" which happened during the last fifty years of the Victorian era, which most of the Steampunk aesthetic is based from. Automatons have actually been built since ancient times and are still in production, though now it's mostly for artistic purposes.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  176,959 ratings  ·  15,705 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it

this book represents a series of firsts: the first book i have ever borrowed from work. and the first book i read for my summer class on "children's literature." and the firs
Mar 13, 2021 added it
[Book #39 for my grad school Children's Lit class]
What a great reading experience!
Ruby Granger
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A truly WONDERFUL children's book. It's filled with an everyday wonder and magic which makes you wish it will never end. The illustrations are also so unique -- they act like a cinematic storyboard, and the narrative flits between this and text. ...more
Charlotte May
Knowing I had to return this to the library tomorrow - I had a browse and noticed it is majority pictures and not a whole of lot text. So this evening I managed to read the entire thing out loud to my mother and sister 💖
Boom! Now I can return it having read this masterpiece!

"You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I believe that if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be
Emily May
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it

I admit that for a while I thought this book might be one of those children's picture books whose ratings reflect the artwork and not the story. And yeah, the artwork is pretty nifty:

But as the story began to unfold and became entwined with historical events, I gradually turned my attention from the drawings to Hugo Cabret and co. The book is set in Paris in the 1930s and Hugo is an orphan who only manages to survive each day by clinging to the hope that he will one day fix the automaton
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Twelve-year-old Hugo, orphan, clock keeper, and thief, has been keeping the clocks running in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity.

But when his world suddenly interlocks with a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter, an eccentric, bookish girl, 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
Dec 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-for-kids
There is something awesome feeling about getting through 400 pages of a book on an hour lunch break, and still have time to use the bathroom and punch in three minutes early. So what if the book has lots of illustrations and it's written for children, it's still a real sense of Herculean reading, even if it's not that impressive.

I liked this book a lot. I considered giving it five stars. I don't read children or young adult novels so I don't have much to compare it to. The book has much more de
I felt intimidated by the idea of reviewing Hugo Cabret, and wondered if anyone would help me. Luckily, the cast of Terry Gilliam's 1989 movie The Adventures of Baron Munchausen were delighted to come to my rescue. Here are some selected comments:


The Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson

I do not approve of this absurd confection, which even the most cursory glance will reveal to be utterly lacking in rationality. A small boy cannot hide in the walls of a station and tend its clocks; a clockwork automat
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪
If you've ever wondered where your dreams come from when you go to sleep at night, just look around. This is where they are made.

I might be part of the minority who didn't really enjoy this book, and this breaks my heart because it looks truly gorgeous. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a story told with dozens of stunning illustrations and few words. Unfortunately, I didn't find the story itself very interesting.

This book contains one of my most hated tropes: the secret which has no reason to
Andy Marr
Apr 07, 2022 rated it really liked it
Fabulous. Not as fabulous as Scorcese's movie, perhaps, but fabulous nonetheless. ...more
Maggie Stiefvater
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This massive hardcover might have been worth four stars as a traditional novel, but the whimsical and cinematic illustrations absolutely push this book to a four. I read it in an evening and wished that I could've had it when I was 10 -- I would've been in hog heaven. A great middle grade novel.

***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. Consider a novel's presence on my Goodreads bookshelf as a hearty endorsement. I can
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Such a great book! My review can be found here: ...more
Words cannot describe how much I loved this book! “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” is one of the first chapter books to win a Caldecott Medal and is cleverly written and illustrated by Brian Selznick and it is about how an orphaned boy named Hugo finds out the secrets contained in his most prized possession…a mechanical man from his dead father. “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” is clearly one of the most exciting and amazing books ever created for children!

Brian Selznick has created a book that goes
As I enter a cinematic state induced by Brian Selznick in his introduction, I find Hugo Cabret in a busy train station in Paris in 1931 and he’s the most mysterious boy I could ever hope to meet. As he moves among bustling crowds, black and white line drawings show me his furtive movements. He looks over his shoulder. Is he being followed? Does anyone see him? I see only his foot as he enters a metal grate in the wall, then only his eye behind the number 5 in a clock, overlooking a toy store. Se ...more
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I read the entire book in a few hours this afternoon; despite being about 500 pages it only has about 26,000 words and much of the page space is taken up with interesting formatting as well as sketches that help fill in some scenes of action and emotion to move the plot forward. It's a very interesting and ingenious idea for a book, one I quite appreciated. I almost always focused on the words more than the pictures in storybooks as a child, and I suppose that remains the case here, though it wa ...more
I enjoyed this book so much, even more than Wonderstruck which I loved. The illustrations are wonderful and the way the story is told in text and then for several pages in drawing is so unique. This book also has some vintage photography of the era which really helps set the scene.

Hugo is an orphan with a talent for machinery, he lives in a railway station in Paris and tends to the clocks and steals food to get by. He has a secret that he focusses all his energy into trying to complete in his fa
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a unique attempt at combining the power of visual and textual storytelling.

Page after page, we follow a string of drawings that speak for themselves, moving the story forwards while zooming in and out to change perspectives. Then we turn a page and find ourselves confronted with text, and we are continuing the story by reading instead of watching, - starting exactly where the last illustration left us. The difference between this novel and an illustrated children's book is that th
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lib-read
"The story I am about to share with you takes place in 1931, under the roofs of Paris. Here you will meet a boy named Hugo Cabret, who once, long ago, discovered a mysterious drawing that changed his life forever." So begins the introduction of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Shortly after the start of the story we learn that twelve-year-old Hugo has recently lost his father to a tragic fire.
A horologist working for the city's museum, Hugo's father finds an old automaton in the museum's attic
Carolyn Marie Castagna
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
No amount of words can truly explain how much this book means to me, so all I will say is...
This book changed my life at a very young age, and I'm sure you'll love it just the same!
Aug 24, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: american
Cozy and beautiful. Wish I had read this as a kid! Never too late to prepare for the Scorsese film though.
Paul Weiss
Absolutely charming!

Hugo Cabret is an orphan who survives by his wits and his thievery inside the walls of a busy 1930s Paris train station. He’s also a resourceful young man who is teaching himself to repair the works of a broken-down automaton that he found in the burnt-out wreckage of the museum in which his father, previously the train station’s timekeeper, was killed. Hugo is convinced that if he can somehow bring the automaton back to life, it will convey a hidden message from his deceased
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Simply the most imaginative, stunning book I have ever read. Brian Selznick is a talented artist. He uses his remarkable skill to create an incredibly beautiful and poignant story of an orphan boy, Hugo Cabret, who secretly roams the tunnels of the Paris train station, keeping the clocks in running order. He rescues an automata from a burnt down museum, in hope to restore it to its original form and to uncover its hidden message. He steals parts from a toy peddler, but eventually he’s caught and ...more
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow.... just wow.

Words can't express how much I enjoyed this book. I think it might be the best book that I read so far. Maybe not the best, but it's surely my favorite.

I loved everything in it, the story, the characters, the movie pictures and the ART. I adored every single illustration this book had.

I would recommend this book to literally everyone who likes reading. It was just that good.
As I was a little more that 2/3 through The Invention of Hugo Cabret when I started wondering how many stars that I would give it. At first, I was even considering giving it 3 stars, which suprised me since so many people had told me that it was amazing. I have, since settled on giving it 4 starts, because I can't really sum up my first reaction to the work as "It was amazing!" which corresponds to 5 stars. However, now that I have said that, the following criticisms that I have for it that have ...more
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those rare books where the movie is much better than the novel.

Skip the book, but do see the movie, "Hugo", which is marvelous.

The audio reader's style didn't help matters. Jeff Woodman reads the book like he is narrating it to kids. Very likely that's his main audience, but his reading style is so self consciously slow and declamatory, it detracts from the story.

Update 11/28/2015: I got a copy of the physical book from the library. Per the suggestions of GRers Jefferson and Judy
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous illustrations and lovely story.
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure what to make of this book at first, because I typically don't read children's or middle-grade literature, whatever category you would slot this book into. I also didn't have really any idea of what it was about, but the beauty of the book itself made me decide to give it a try - and I as not disappointed!

The book follows a young orphan called Hugo Cabret, who lives inside the walls of the Grand Central station in Paris, mending clocks and stealing toy parts from a local vendor. Whe
Mar 23, 2012 rated it liked it
OK, Goodreads was being a twonk and ruined my life by making all of the lovely pictures that I wanted to post look dodgy and skew-whiff. So, everyone close your eyes and pretend there are pictures here.

Lots of lovely pictures.

More lovely pictures.

Even more lovely pictures.

Imagination is fun.

You may wonder why I am posting so many pictures of this book for my review.
“Jo!” I hear you cry. “Where are the words?”
And I will reply:
“Exactly. Where are the words?”

I’m being clever and smart and illustrat
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wow- what a gorgeously magical gem of a book. I picked this up for a challenge to read a Steampunk book, and had no idea what I was getting into as I opened the cover. Part novel, part graphic novel- the illustrations conveyed strong emotion and were so beautiful.

Hugo Cabret- an orphaned boy left alone in the train station to continue turning the clocks, he has to steal his food and is a mechanical genius. The book also incorporates film an automaton that draws a picture merging the past and pr
Lisa Vegan
I’m in love with this book. It is special, very special. Unique. I see that said about so many books, and sometimes the comments are hyperbole and sometimes they are accurate. I’ve truly never seen another book such as this, and I immensely admire it.

I am so grateful (yet again) to the Children's Books group as it’s the April selection for the Fiction Book Club there, and so it finally stopped languishing on my to-read shelf and my on-deck shelf and got read.

the drawings are truly amazing and p
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • Because of Winn-Dixie
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
  • Tuck Everlasting
  • The City of Ember (Book of Ember, #1)
  • Frindle
  • The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1)
  • Hatchet (Brian's Saga, #1)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
  • Jumping Jacky (Big Little Golden Books)
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • Até Eu Te Encontrar
  • Out of My Mind
  • Esperanza Rising
  • The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, #1)
  • Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
  • Vəfalı Səriyyə yaxud Göz yaşları içərisində gülüş
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Hello there. My name is Brian Selznick and I’m the author and illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was born in 1966 in New Jersey. I have a sister who is a teacher, a brother who is a brain surgeon, and five nephews and one niece. I studied at The Rhode Island School of Design and after I graduated from college I worked at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City. I learned all about ...more

Related Articles

October has arrived, and this month’s batch of incoming titles features some big names, some much-anticipated sequels, and several exotic...
50 likes · 8 comments
“I address you all tonight for who you truly are: wizards, mermaids, travelers, adventurers, and magicians. You are the true dreamers.” 2404 likes
“Maybe we are all cabinets of wonders.” 1134 likes
More quotes…