Kathrina's Reviews > The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
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's review
Dec 02, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-i-read-with-my-kids

Simply, this is a perfect book. It does all that it sets out to do, and that is quite a lot, and it does it with such sophistication and respect towards its characters, its story, and, most importantly, to its readers. The illustrations are integral to the story -- not adding to it, they are it, and also open up a perspective as close to film as the printed page can be. I guess I should call it a storyboard, but this read is so much more complete than that word implies. It seems to tell its story through several media forms, but its really just a trick of Selznick's amazing storytelling.
It's remarkable how some books find us at just the right time. My son brought this home on a friend's suggestion, just as we've been plowing through our two volume set of Chaplin classics and catching a few Buster Keatons on netflix. We both got to approach this book having a little foreknowledge of silent films, and this reading has expanded our to-view list. We watched A Trip to the Moon, an early silent from 1902(?), directed by Georges Melies, a significant character in this book, on youtube. We also watched a clip of Selznick at the museum in Philadelphia that rebuilt and presented the 200-year-old automaton that inspired this story. It is an amazing sight to view this clockwork machine that can reproduce four intricate drawings and three poems with a simple crank. The website is listed in the last few pages of this book, and I highly recommend it.
I really don't care how old you are, this is a great book for anyone who cares for great film, great science, or great storytelling.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 2, 2010 – Shelved
December 2, 2010 – Shelved as: books-i-read-with-my-kids
December 2, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Ivan I'm going to have to go get it tonight. Do you think my eight year old nephew would be able to read and understand it?

Kathrina I think your 8-year-old will enjoy it for the story and the artwork, but the silent film references may go over his head -- so it's a great opportunity to jump onto youtube to see the automatons and some silent film clips together!

Ivan I can't believe how GREAT this book is. This is one time when saying I was enthralled is no overstatement. I adore every page. I'm about to leave for a friends house...but would love to just stay home and finish this off. I like it so much that I've ordered this authors book about Houdini. Oh, I don't think my nephew is reading for this - so he'll be getting the book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and a DVD of "The Phantom Tollbooth" - and probably a toy too (because I was a kid once, and I liked toys).

Kathrina Phantom Tollbooth ANNOTATED! Your nephew (and you) NEED this.
Glad you loved Hugo. Me, too.

Erik A heart-warming story in your review. Hope your son is doing well~

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