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The Invention of Hugo Cabret
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The Invention of Hugo Cabret

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  158,605 ratings  ·  14,805 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, 533 pages
Published March 2007 by Scholastic Press
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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

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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  158,605 ratings  ·  14,805 reviews


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karen
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
DUE TO INTERNET ADVICE/ABUSE FROM A COMPLETE STRANGER, THIS REVIEW NOW CONFORMS TO GRAMMATICAL STANDARDS AND ALL THAT JAZZ, BUT IS STILL, AT THE END OF THE DAY, A BRIEF REVIEW OF A CHILDREN'S BOOK WITH. OH, BUT I STILL WON'T CAPITALIZE LETTERS. EXCEPT HERE. BECAUSE HERE, I AM SHOUTING TO BE HEARD IN EVERY TROLL CAVE IN THE LAND. RECOGNIZE.

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
...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
...more
Nat
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
...more
Emily May
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it


3.5
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
...more
Greg
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
...more
Manny
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:

description

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
...more
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪SomeBunny Reads (Phoenix)•*¨*•♫♪
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
...more
Ronyell
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
...more
Hilary
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
...more
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Such a great book! My review can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ2cMh... ...more
Kathryn
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
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
...more
Libby
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
Lora
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of illustrated children's fiction
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
...more
Lisa
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
...more
Mario
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.
Mish
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
Mona
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
...more
Britany
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
...more
Beverly
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous illustrations and lovely story.
Jennifer
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
Jo
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
...more
Jonathan Terrington
I'm including this in graphic novels because that is probably the best description for this rather unique book. After all it's a novel consisting of many beautiful graphics and some written pages.

While The Invention of Hugo Cabret is aimed mainly at a younger audience of children it appears to be the kind of perfect novel for parents as well. I can imagine a modern parent trying to interest their child in reading by sitting down and reading this work with their child. It is in many ways a modern
...more
Vanessa
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
...more
Lisa Vegan
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all boys, all girls, all adults & young adults who enjoy movies, children’s literature &/or art
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
...more
Kaitlin
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is my second book by Selznick and it follows the character of Hugo Cabret, a young orphan who is in hiding. Hugo lives at the station and he is in charge of the clocks all over the station. He hides away from everyone as he is basically alone and abandoned and he's doing his drunk uncle's job.

Of course, soon Hugo's life of thievery and clockwork is challenged when he is caught thieving. He has quite a few secrets he wants to keep but he soon realises that this is not going to be easy
...more
Jonnie
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
While The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is a children's book - I really liked it. It was nice and simple to read, had a sweet end and made me feel all cozy and warm. The story is magical and captivating and 284/534 pages are beautifully sketched and pull you into the story in a super unique way. Even if picture books/graphic novels don't appeal to you, I recommend watching the film adaption, which exudes the same level of feel goodness as this book!

Basically, it made me feel like th
...more
Book Concierge
5***** and a ❤

Hugo Cabret is an orphan who lives in the Paris Train Station, taking care of the clocks as his uncle trained him to do. His secret project, though, is finishing the invention his father was working on when he died. He steals parts from a toy shop – small gears and screws and springs. But when he’s caught, he gets embroiled in an even bigger mystery.

What a treasure! This inventive, unusual novel in words and pictures, won the Caldecott medal for illustration. The reader really nee
...more
Arielle Walker
4.5 stars

Stunning drawings - to those people who say "but the story is the important part - what about that?" Well, the drawings are the story. To try and separate the book into illustrations and words just doesn't work. That would result in something lacking; experienced as a whole, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a beautiful, nostalgic dream of a book that I lingered over for days. In fact, I cannot wait to read this aloud to my young cousin, going through every picture together and bringing i
...more
Camilla
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3,008 followers
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

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