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The Invention of Hugo Cabret

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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 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.

534 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2007

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About the author

Brian Selznick

76 books3,676 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 children’s books from my boss Steve Geck who is now an editor of children’s books at Greenwillow. While I was at Eeyore’s I also painted the windows for holidays and book events.

My first book, The Houdini Box, which I both wrote and illustrated, was published in 1991 while I was still working at the bookstore. Since then, I have illustrated many books for children, including Frindle by Andrew Clements, The Doll People by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin, Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, which received a 2001 Caldecott Honor.

I have also written a few other books myself, including The Boy of a Thousand Faces, but The Invention of Hugo Cabret is by far the longest and most involved book I’ve ever worked on.

I live in Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.

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5 stars
85,572 (47%)
4 stars
60,345 (33%)
3 stars
26,282 (14%)
2 stars
5,823 (3%)
1 star
2,588 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 16,068 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
September 30, 2021

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 first 500 page book i have read in an hour. so - all good things. it's a fun book. i think i like that it is not quite a graphic novel and it is not quite a regular novel, but it is some in-between hybrid new monster of a book. it's more superficial than the arrival (which i would love to see in a 500 page version, please, shaun tan), but it's sweet and pretty and maybe i will get an A when it comes time to write my annotations for class. (see, i know capital letters exist...)


come to my blog!
Profile Image for Ruby Granger.
Author 3 books46.9k followers
January 25, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews65.8k followers
March 13, 2021
[Book #39 for my grad school Children's Lit class]
What a great reading experience!
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,115 followers
March 26, 2019
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 here for some reason, too."

I absolutely adore the film Hugo so when I found out it was originally a book I felt I had to pick it up. This story follows a young boy, Hugo who lives in the train station in Paris. He lives alone, taking care of the many clocks around the station and making sure they are all running smoothly. He has with him a machine his father told him about. An automaton that he is determined to fix up.

The story itself is very simple, about Hugo's survival in the train station, and how his life changes forever when he has a run in with the old man who runs the toy booth. Everything in this tale joins together; Hugo's automaton, the old man and his toys, his father's love of movies - it all combines to create a wonderful story. It is a magical tale, filled with wonder, and joy in the simple things. What tipped it to the five star mark for me were the wonderful illustrations in this novel. Pages of drawings that serve to tell parts of the story, where we don't read any text at all, and we just see the story unfold before our very eyes.

Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,854 followers
January 22, 2023
He always knows how late it is

And when the automation clock ticks again
The mystery surrounding this machinery is the main plot element, combined with the smartness of the main protagonist. His quite sad life is filled with the mission to find out more about his past in a

Historical fiction with some grains of magical realism
Especially history nerds may find much pleasure in the whole setting, but I guess many others who are in usual much more action and complex, interwoven plot graphic novels won´t find their Elysium here. It´s just too genre specific to be appealing to all audiences. But I can´t remember

Many as good attempts to teach history that way
Especially with a focus on science, in this case, Georges Méliès and filmmaking, it lets historic figures become alive again. Might be a pretty good approach to teach close to any school subject with a focus on scientists or science, especially if it

Stays clean from too much ideology and cynicism
That´s a bit unusual, but also very refreshing because characters and story can unfold without the bitter taste of grievances and malfunctioning social systems. Except for the ones that are standard for the time over 1 century ago and still in many places today.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,731 followers
April 17, 2018

What a silly Qs!!
Of course I do LOVE Books, & Sure I Want some Adventures
And above all I adore the magic of Cinema

لأني تذكرت معشوقتي وقت مشاهدة ذلك الفيلم، ثم تبعته بقراءة الرواية التي تشبه فيلما سينمائيا ساحر

تذكرت مشهد نزول عادل أمام متشاجرا مع شيرين من قطار توقف بمحطة مصر الواسعة..و صدي صوت ضحكات جيم كاري كستانلي أيبكس المجنونة بينما يرتدي القناع الساحر...ونيكول كيدمان بفستانها الأسود الأنيق تقترب من بات مان فوق سطح يطل علي جوثام الرهيبة لجول شوماخر..والأشعة الزرقاء الكهربية التي صدرت من صولجان عابر الأزمنه عندما لمسه سلاحف النينجا...أو قبعه روز وهي ترفع رأسها لتري لأول مره السفينة التي ستقلها لأمريكيا وتقول "ليست ضخمه كما توقعت" بينما أنا رأيت كل ذلك ضخما, ساحرا, جميلا

And that's why I loved Hugo..

تذكرت كيف رأيت كل ذلك وأنا بعمر هوجو.. في الساحرة...السينما

وهذا الكتاب الساحر منقسم إلي صور سينمائية مرسومة ببساطة وجمال، وقصة خلابة ملهمة
الصور بالكتاب تشعر كأنها تنقلك للسينما حقا، بدءا من فتح الستار، وبدء الصورة من لقطة بعيدة ثم تبدأ تقترب "زووم إن" حتي تدخل الأحداث في محطة القطار بفرنسا كأنك تدخلها حقا ليس في السينما فحسب وأنما في الحقيقة

ثم تبدأ القصة والتي تنقسم إلي جزئين
الجزء لأول عن عشق الهدف في الحياة
فقصة هوجو الساحرة قيمتها في البحث عن هدفك في الحياة , موهبتك التي تجعل للحياة معني
والجزء الثاني عن عشق السينما وتكريم الرواد المنسيين لها
عن مخرج من اهم مخرجي السينما في فرنسا والعالم ,جورج ميليس

ستتعرف عليه وعلي أسماء أفلامه التي خلبت خيال والد هوجو وهو في عمره مثل رحلة إلي القمر, وستشعر بالحنين للأفلام التي خلبت مخيلتك عندما كنت في عمره ايضا, سحر المؤثرات البسيطة بفيلم كلص بغداد ورحلة السندباد السابعة مثلا

رواية ممتازة وأخراج للكتاب أكثر من رائع بأطار جميل وسحر خاص في طبعة فاخرة جدا, أشعر أن الكتاب كشريط فيديو ينقل لي قصة بالصورة فعلا
بل وهناك أيضا صور حقيقية وليست مرسومة فحسب لأشهر لقطات أفلام جورج ميليس السينمائية, وديكوراته ومؤثراته السابقة عصرها في ذلك الوقت
الغريب أنه بمقارنة سعر كتاب مصور كهذا لا تجد زيادة في سعره عن الروايات العادية بنفس صفحاته.. بعكس رواياتنا التي لا تسمن ولا تغني من جوع ذات الطباعة الأقل من عادية,والتي لايضاف لها صور ألا أذا كانت طبعاتها رديئة بحجة التكلفة
وأقتنيها لأن ذلك أفضل بكثير من قراءتها ألكترونيا فحسب ,فهي كعمل فني حقيقي

أحيي بشدة المؤلف الرائع براين سيلزنيج لصوره الجميلة التي رسمها والروح والحب الذي رسم وكتب به تلك الفكرة لتكريم المبدع جورج ميليس بأسلوب رواي مبتكر جدا ومفاجأة الراوي بالنهاية
فالرواية أبسط مايمكن قوله عنها إنها تكريم لمخرج مبدع تحول من السحر الأستعراضي إلي سحر السينما
تكريم للسينما الساحرة التي زادها مخرجين كجورج ميليس سحرا
وتحية أخري للمخرج الرائع مارتن سكورسيزي والذي أخرج هذا الفيلم المختلف تماما عن نوعية أفلامه , فيلما في فرنسا بطولته طفل في الثانية عشر, ملئ بالسحر السينمائي والخيال والأبهار والمطاردات المثيرة التي تحاكي سحر مطارادات أفلام الثلاثينات ,فترة أحداث الفيلم

تقييم الفيلم
الفيلم ، الساحر..بأخراج مارتن سكورسيزي حقق تجربة سحرية اخري...تجربة سينمائية اكثر من رائعة
لذلك أخترته في مقال إخترنا لك
بداية من لوحته الفنية لباريس
محطة القطار...والشخصيات الثانوية بالمحطة...عامل ساعات المحطة..وكيف وصل اليه "هــوجـــو" يتيما ليجعله يقوم بالأعمال كلها
الماكينات, التروس ,الأنسان الميكانيكي الغريب الذي يحاول هوجو فك أسراره دون ان يشغله ذلك من عمله بساعات المحطة
بائع الألعاب الميكانيكية غريب الأطوار,يغضب بشده عندما يجد صورة لذلك الأنسان الميكانيكي بحوذة هوجو...ويبدو لنا انه يخفي سرا ما
ولكن حفيدته تحاول مساعدة هوجو فك اسرار ذلك الأنسان الميكانيكي العجيب, ويبدو ان الأمر خالي من الصدف...فالحياة كما في الماكينات..كل ترس في الماكينة له دورا يؤديه...وإلا لما وجد هذا الترس
مغامرات واثارة وعالم سينمائي ساحر يواجهاه سويا , في مغامرة سينمائية ساحرة وتصوير س��حر يجعلك فعلا تشعر بسحر السينما في اطار مغامرة شيقة...ساحرة سحر الواقع
بالمطارادات ...الاثارة..التشويق...الباقة السينمائية الكاملة
حتي يأتي الهدف من قصة الفيلم ككل , سحر السينما..كتحية واجبة وتقدير لأهم صناع السينما التي ننساهم بمرور الزمن, ننسي انه بدون ذلك الذي قام بفيلم القطار يصل للمحطة كان سببا في تطور السينما
ذلك الذي قام بفيلم الوصول للقمر الهب خيال الاجيال اللاحقة لتطوير ذلك السحر الخيالي
واذا كنا في وقت ما "جيلي والجيل السابق لي" ينبهر بالتقنيات المتواضعة لفيلم ساحر بغداد او رحلة سندباد السابعة, فأن الجيل السابق لنا انبهر بتقنيات ابسط بكثير من ذلك
ولكن لا أحد يقدر الأن ان تلك التقنيات كانت صعب تنفيذها في ذلك الوقت, اصعب بكثير مما يحدث الأن...ولولا هذا الشغف والجهد لما تتطور الأمر

الفيلم يقدم تحية لمن قدم لنا وطور بكل امكانياته وجهده ذلك الفن الذي جعلنا نعيش عوالم اخري ومغامرات لا حصر لها
واحلام كثيرة عشناها, بعضها حتي قد يغير حياتنا
ويمنحنا ولو قيمة صغيرة لحياتنا
وان كان يقول لنا فحسب...انه لا يوجد انسان خلق عبثا..فكل انسان له دور,ابحث عن دورك, ابحث عن شغفك...ولاتنس من سبقك وتاريخك..فهو من سيجعل مستقبلك افضل

أحلم..وحقق حلمك
لم اتخيل وانا احكم عن الفيلم ان يكون بهذه الجودة, وهذه القصه وهذه القيمة, اعتقد انه مجرد تقليد لفكرة هاري بوتر او مجرد مشاغبات طفل او اي شئ من هذا القبيل ولكنه فعلا امتعني واعجبني

اعجبني ايضا تقديره للكتب والروايات والذي لم يأت من فراغ
فالفيلم مقتبس عن الرواية ..كما كانت أفلام جورج ميليس مقتبسة عن اساطير عظيمة

رواية مصورة وفيلم رائع مبني عليها ذو هدف وقيمة تدل علي انه ليس كل ماكان رواية مصوره هي شيئا عديم الأهمية كما يري بعض الانوف الزرقاء
هو فن ومن ارقي انواع الادب فعلا

كلمة أخيرة
اعتز بموهبتك..واحلم وحقق حلمك

وارجوك قّدر من اسعدك يوما او تعلمت منه ولو قيمة ما في فيلم بينما تستطيع ان تصل له..بتعليق, بتسجيل اعجاب , بتقييم جيد, برسالة
فيس بوك , تويتر , شخصيا اذا رايته في مكان عام
ممثل - مخرج - مؤلف - ايا كان فهذا قد يفرق معه

الصوره القادمة بألف تعليق لايكتب,وانما يجب ان يشعر به
Thank you

ولا تنس...الحياة كالألة الضخمة
لم تأتي بتروس اضافية لا لزوم لها..كل ترس بها له وظيفته وأهميته

محمد العربي

مشاهدة في 17 اكتوبر 2014

قراءة الكتاب
من 23 يناير 2015
إلي 25 يناير 2015
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
March 30, 2012

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 his father had been working on... and that it will reveal a hidden message left to him.

I had also originally thought that this book was tagged "historical fiction" because it happens to be set in the 1930s, but no, there is a real story in here that I found both interesting and educational.

Parts of the book managed to achieve that which we all really want from a children's book: magical flair. But other parts fell short of it. I found the ending to be somewhat anticlimatic as well but, on the whole, it was a nice story and I really enjoyed the history lesson behind it. Rounded up to four stars because I'm feeling nice.

Profile Image for Fa Orozco.
Author 1 book16.6k followers
January 24, 2013
Este libro es maravilloso. Youtube no se salva de que haga una reseña. No cualquier libro se lee en 2 horas y media por que no puedes soltarlo. Y menos si tiene 533 páginas.
Profile Image for Natalie.
567 reviews3,196 followers
June 5, 2020
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 the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

I've been eyeing this book for a few months now, and I was beyond excited to finally have it in my hands because of the gorgeous format it's told through.

Here are a few of the many intricate and beautiful illustrations that captured me:










"It's so beautiful," said Isabelle. "It looks like the whole city is made out of stars."
"Sometimes I come up here at night, even when I'm not fixing the clocks, just to look at the city. I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too."



I also really liked the fact that this book included stills from various films:



I know what I'll be watching over the next few days...
Lastly, I want to mention that I was really satisfied with that ending because:

• Hugo found his happiness.
• He's among family.
• No unnecessary romance.
• Everyone got their happily ever after (or as close to it as you can get).

So I truly cannot wait to pick up more from Brian Selznick and see what's next in store.

*Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying The Invention of Hugo Cabret, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!*

This review and more can be found on my blog.
Profile Image for Greg.
1,117 reviews1,875 followers
December 13, 2008
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 depth though than This is not a Box, or Don't Give the Cat a Cupcake or even any of the books about that troublesome pigeon who wants to drive the bus and do other things birds aren't supposed to do. This book also is so much better than the first two Harry Potter books, which I have read and didn't care for very much. This book has the a great sense of wonder that adult books like Trip to the Stars has. It also has a feeling of the greatness and mystery of books and stories in general that reading Borges can induce, but this is for kids, which is cool because it's probably good for kids to learn that books are magical and fun at a young age. The pictures that make up about half the book are an interesting device. They do help move parts of the story along, like I think the chase scenes benefit from being done entirely by pictures, reading about a boy running away from someone wouldn't have had the same 'excitement' as in the pictures. I don't know much about kids but I think that the way the book opens with almost fifty pages of pictures gives a great feeling for the book which would be much more difficult to have described for kids in only words.

As I said I liked this a lot and the book made me happy that it existed in the world.
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 3 books782 followers
January 20, 2023
Fabulous. Not as fabulous as Scorcese's movie, perhaps, but fabulous nonetheless.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
April 23, 2011
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 automaton cannot write a lengthy novel, complete with pictures; and even the author admits that his portrait of a distinguished French film-maker is, I regret to say, entirely the product of his deplorable imagination. People who flout these elementary principles are liable to come to a very sticky end. Now I am afraid I have important business which I must attend to. Thank you and good day.


Baron Munchausen

You say you are impressed by the meticulous craftsmanship, loving execution and unusual plot. I concede that my diverse adventures - trips to the Moon, routing the Turkish army, and other such trifles - have hitherto prevented me from demonstrating my own literary talents. Nonetheless, I wager that I can, within the hour, create a graphic novel which in every way is far superior to this one. If I fail, you may cut off my head. These are my terms: what are yours?


Sally Salt

If I did have a brother, I wish he was like Hugo. And if I had a sister, I wish she was like Isabelle. And I think Uncle Georges is a bit like the Baron.

Paris looks very pretty. Next time we go there, I won't just stay in the theater all the time.


The Goddess Venus

Mr. Selznick, what a handsome mustache. Shall we... dance?
March 7, 2020
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 exist and still it's kept just to keep the story going. I also found the characters a little underdeveloped ad honestly I didn't grow attached to Hugo at all. This might be one of those cases in which the movie is better than the book for me, but only for the steampunk feel, because for the rest I didn't like that one either. So, overall, the three stars are an average between the stunning illustrations and the plot that, for me, was pretty much lacking. I am still glad I purchased this book because it looks amazing, but i don't see myself re-reading it.
Profile Image for Maggie Stiefvater.
Author 81 books168k followers
June 18, 2008
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't believe I just said "hearty." It sounds like a stew.****
Profile Image for Ronyell.
956 reviews321 followers
July 28, 2012
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 beyond what any children’s book has gone before. Brian Selznick has made this story extremely dramatic and exciting at the same time as it details the adventures of an orphaned boy in Paris and how he tries to uncover the mystery of the mechanical man. Brian Selznick makes the characters in this book extremely memorable, especially the main character Hugo Cabret as Hugo is shown as a boy who has a huge ambition and yet he always feels lonely and insecure when he is around other people, since he spent most of his life alone and children will easily sympathize with his situation as any child might feel a bit secluded from other people whenever they lose a loved one. Another memorable character is Isabelle, the toy maker’s daughter who is shown as being a strong heroine and she is always shown yearning for more information about life that she will not let anyone get in her way, including Hugo. Brian Selznick also makes the story extremely creative as the book is set up as two pages are filled with writing while the next few pages are full of illustrations only. Brian Selznick’s illustrations are amazingly beautiful as they are mainly in black and white colors, but the characters look so realistic that they make this book extremely beautiful to look at. The illustrations also help move the story along as there are two pages full of writing while the next four or five pages are full of illustrations that detail what happens in the story and the next few pages are full of writing again while continuing the story. Brian Selznick illustrates the characters’ expressions in such a realistic manner that ranges from shock to happiness that children will easily relate to the characters.

“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” is a truly distinguished children’s book that is ahead of its time and it will always remain to be one of the best books ever created! I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since the length of this book might bored smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
December 31, 2017
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و هفتم ماه دسامبر سال 2011 میلادی
عنوان: اختراع هوگو کابره؛ نویسنده: برایان سلزنیک؛ مترجم: رضی هیرمندی، تهران، نشر افق، 1389، در 280 ص
سبک این کتاب را «سینما رمان» رمان (کلامی تصویری) نام نهاده اند، ترکیبی غیرهمزمان از تصویر و نوشتار است، داستان نوبتی با تصویر و متن روایت میشود. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Libby.
594 reviews156 followers
July 27, 2019
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. Selznick draws a picture of a man in the toy story, then another picture closer, then still another zoom in on the man’s eye. He employs this technique many times with many of his drawings, moving closer, demanding focus and attention, saying what have you missed? Look closer!

Hugo maintains the clocks from behind the walls and checks them against his Uncle’s railroad watch. Hugo is an orphan. We don’t know what happened to his Uncle Claude….yet, but we soon discover that he learned clock keeping and clock making from his Father and Uncle Claude. There are twenty-seven clocks in the station and Hugo takes care of them all, even the ones he can only reach by ladder. I love this element of taking care of things, of meticulous detail, an important theme for adults as well as children. Soon, he will meet Isabelle, a young girl his age with a Louise Brooks bob, and in her, he will find the best of friends.

Selznick is an extraordinary artist; his illustrations, which according to the book jacket, number “284 original drawings,” are so captivating that they create an immediate engagement. Hands, eyes, facial expressions, even inanimate objects like clocks, streetlights, shoes are full of spirit and movement. With creative hatching and crosshatching, the drawings breathe in form, texture, light and a three-dimensional effect, springing to life. Somehow, he imparts humanity and soulfulness in facial expressions. In the introduction, Selznick tells us that Hugo Cabret will “discover a mysterious drawing that will change his life forever.” In that sentence as well as Selznick’s drawings, I find not only mystery, but awe, wonder, and the inconceivable gift of magic.

This story leads also to the early history of cinema and the innovations of Georges Méliès. Méliès’s began as a stage magician, so when he became interested in film, he was all about the illusions. Experimenting with special effects like multiple exposures, the illusion of characters growing and shrinking, and many other shapeshifting tricks, he makes many films including ‘A Trip to the Moon’ in 1902, which plays a role in this story. His very real history and association with automata are brought to light in ‘The Inventions of Hugo Cabret.’ Even though the story of how Georges Méliès meets Hugo is fiction, Selznick's well-researched details ring with authenticity. Geared to the middle school reader, this story would be a delight to anyone interested in art or historical fiction, especially the early history of the cinema. I find it to also be inspiring because even though Hugo’s journey is one of being alone, hungry, scared, and frightened, the transformative power of one drawing and friendships changed everything. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,341 reviews
August 15, 2008
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 was neat to see how the two were companions in this book, appearing alternately but to the same purpose. At first, I wasn't sure how "into" the book I would be; it started a bit slow and gloomy for my taste--yet gradually the mystery pulled me in, little pieces begged to be put together -- like the automaton Hugo means to assemble--I was eager to learn what picture/story Selznick would ultimatley create. I especially appreciated the elements of magic--nothing you'd find in Hogwarts, but rather the magic of the early movies and how they were the stuff that dreams are made on!
I skimmed through a copy at a cute, independent bookstore in Napa Valley over the weekend. It's quite the thick and lovely book. Now, a word to the wise--the book has MANY more illustrations than I expected! I was imagining a regular novel, with a sketch or two each chapter. No! Pages and pages of sketches separate chapters--they really DO help tell the story, not just in that they illustrate what is going (like children's picture books) but actually serve to progress the story without using any words... Anyway, it's a very neat idea--I just didn't want anyone to be surprised/disappointed if you were thinking the majority of the book is in traditional novel format.
Profile Image for Hilary .
2,264 reviews404 followers
September 9, 2018
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 father's memory. When he meets another orphan their stories come together and end in a very satisfying conclusion.

The characters were wonderful, I want to spend more time with them. I loved the inclusion of the stills from films and the information on these factual elements included in the back pages.

The pictures make you race through what would otherwise seem like a huge book, it's an ideal read for children who find a longer book a struggle.

9th September 2018. My daughter is reading this now, we just looked up the Harold Lloyd clock scene which is pictured as a still in this book. It is from the film 'Safety First' 1923, watched the film on YouTube, well worth a look.
Profile Image for Paul Weiss.
1,252 reviews235 followers
September 19, 2023
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 father. The inside flap describes the situation well,

“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”.

THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET is loaded with masterful original drawings that manage to convey the story with a skill that I’ve never seen matched in any other graphic novel before. In addition, the story conveys a wealth of information about 1930s Paris and the early history of the motion picture industry in France.

Definitely recommended as a novel, unique and thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.

Paul Weiss
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
April 22, 2019
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 the drawings don't show what the text says - they show the gaps between the written sequences.

The result is stunning!

You are forced to think your own words while looking at the pictures, and then they follow you into the written sections, creating an idea of the boundaries and connections between literature and visual arts.

The story itself is a love song to creative life. Each work of art - a clock, an automaton, a toy, a drawing, a book - is proof of life spent well.

Recommended to children of all ages!
Profile Image for Kyoko SWords.
189 reviews1,514 followers
January 5, 2016
Reseña completa aquí: http://sabiouswords.blogspot.com.co/2...
Lo que diga sobre este libro, lo que sea, siento que no le hará justicia. Me ha fascinado su mezcal de narrativa, las ilustraciones, las fotos, TODO.
La historia de Hugo me conmovió y despertó mi curiosidad por el cine. Aún ahora me pregunto por qué la docencia no usa estos libros tan maravillosos para hablar de la historia.
Y no diré más porque atrasaré todos mis vídeos y reseñas para sacar inmediatamente las que estarán dedicadas a este libro. Así me ha gustado.
Profile Image for Lora.
186 reviews1,001 followers
February 27, 2012
"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 one day. Being a clock maker, his father is innately fasinated by the little man that appears to be able to write out a message if he were only restored to his former glory. Having little time on his hands, Hugo's father decides to leave it be. That is until young Hugo begs his father to fix the machine. But one fateful night when Hugo's father is trapped inside the attic a fire
breaks out, thus leading to the death of Hugo's father and much regret on Hugo's part for having been the one to convince his father to fix the automaton in the first place.
Determined to continue where his father left off, Hugo begins working on the automaton by night while taking care of the city's clocks by day. But in order to get the pieces he needs to properly restore the automaton, he must steal from the town's toy vendor. This leads to discoveries Hugo never could've imagined, new friendships, and a promising future for our young hero.

Although he has previously illustrated other authors' works, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is Brian Selznick's first full children's novel. It contains over 280 drawings, film stills, and what Selznick is best known for, stunning illustrations such as these:

Huge reminded me of Harry Potter a bit. Not in the wizardry kind of way, of course, but in the fact that they're both young, they've both lost their parents, and they're both very endearing and seem to call forth the reader's sympathy with great aptitude. They're the kind of boy you'd want to adopt and give a better life to; in other words, my favorite sort of character to read about.
Hugo's story is an enchanting journey that will have readers of all ages cheering for its characters and wanting more from Selznick.

If you're looking to follow up this book, the movie adaptation, simply titled Hugo, is directed by Martin Scorsese and will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray February 28, 2012.
Profile Image for Elene ⭐️ Figuer.
130 reviews47 followers
July 2, 2023
Libro juvenil de trama sencilla y fácil de leer que también recomiendo al lector adulto. La historia, Hugo Cabret, un niño huérfano que vive a escondidas en la estación de tren de París y el peculiar dueño de una juguetería de la estación verán mezclarse sus vidas por esas casualidades que a veces se presentan. Decir más sería un spoiler imperdonable, pues lo ideal es descubrir cada detalle por uno mismo.

El mayor atractivo de este libro no es la trama sino el propio formato. No nos encontramos con una historia narrada a la manera convencional, sino una sucesión de texto, ilustraciones y fotografías antiguas que unidas van conformando la historia. El efecto que produce esta combinación es curioso, un libro con el trasfondo de los comienzos del cine, una trama muy ligada al espectáculo y la sensación de casi estar viendo una película. Tal como aparece en la contraportada, "Con 284 páginas de ilustraciones originales y combinando elementos de los álbumes ilustrados, las novelas gráficas y el cine, Brian Selznick expande los límites del concepto de novela, creando una nueva experiencia lectora"; expectativas cubiertas, doy fe de que es cierto.

Aquí hago un spoiler que sólo recomiendo visualizar a los que ya habéis leído el libro:

Profile Image for Alan.
470 reviews213 followers
August 24, 2021
Cozy and beautiful. Wish I had read this as a kid! Never too late to prepare for the Scorsese film though.
Profile Image for Mish.
222 reviews100 followers
March 22, 2016
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 Hugo’s life takes on a drastic turn. Hugo’s journey takes us to his intricate world of clockwork mechanism, early days of cinematography and a long forgotten magician and filmmaker.

Selznick combines pencil drawings, photographs and word to tell the story; in that even when the text ends, the story is still being told visually through the illustrations or photographs from when the text left off. It a book that really does stimulate the senses.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is set in 1931 Paris. It was hard to believe that I was reading a fairly recent book. It’s true to its era, I felt as if I was reading classic – old and authentic.

Beautiful, magical book. I hope more books are written in this format.
Profile Image for Mario.
Author 1 book193 followers
January 5, 2015
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.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
2,431 reviews52 followers
March 28, 2012
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 prevented me from giving it 5 stars err on the side of "overburdening criticism," namely that the language was somewhat stilted and the characters weren't particularly well-developed. I also may have a bias because I found Isabelle annoying when she kept insisting that Hugo was a thief and a liar and nagging him to reveal his life story. Related to this is one of the other things that I think would've made this novel better, a more complete, but subtle, address of what I think is an important lesson in the story, that people (Hugo, Isabelle, Papa George, etc.) keep secrets that isolate them from others, that keep themselves from forming deeper personal relationships. Now, after pointing out all these criticisms, let me say that, I loved this book. As it was meant, this book spoke to me through the beautiful pictures. Although I said that the language was stilted, one could argue, is it really a sticking point? If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then Brian Selznick (or, if you've read the novel, Hugo's automaton) has spoken a million words.

Although the story was a familiar one insofar as it was reminiscent of a Charles Dickens rags-to-riches story, it explored the rich, largely untapped topic, at least in children's literature, of the beginnings of cinema and the wonder that it inspired. Through his illustrations, especially of the drawings of the labrynthine 1931 Paris train station and ending chase scene (As Hugo states, every movie should end in a good chase scene =), Selznick conveys this wonder, reawakens it, in an audience long accustomed to the magic of movies. Note, I chose to state that Selznick elicits wonder from his audience, not his readers. Initially, I wondered why Selznick didn't use a more standard graphic novel format until I realized, belatedly, that Selznick was using a novel to emulate film to convey the same sense of dreams made real, the feeling that Hugo and his father experienced the first, and every, time that they viewed Georges Méliès's A Trip to the Moon. Selznick succeeded beautifully; this book is a wondrous one, not only for children, but for adults as well, and also a springboard into the history of the origins of cinema.
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