The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Published by Scholastic Press

Twelve-year-old Hugo lives in a Paris train station, alone, as he has been orphaned by his father’s recent passing. When his father died, Hugo quietly took over his duties as clock keeper for the station, and since he has no idea how to cash the stack of paychecks he is compiling, he is forced to steal food at every opportunity just to survive. His life takes a big turn when he meets a young girl whose father runs the toy booth in the train station.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is really something else. Told in both words and pictures, Hugo’s story broke my heart and inspired me at the same time. Selznick’s ability to blend the story of Hugo with his beautiful illustrations is absolutely remarkable and can’t be explained – it needs to be experienced for one to understand how seamlessly he is able to bring together these two elements of the book. The Invention of Hugo Cabret isn’t just a book – it is truly an experience, one that I absolutely loved.

It is impossible for the reader not to fall in love with Hugo immediately. He is such a young child, yet with so much responsibility on his shoulders, and so much emotional baggage to carry around and fight through. But his attitude is one of doing what needs to be done without complaining, without thinking his life could be better, without expecting anything else than what he is used to. He is amazingly mature for his age yet still has held on to the genuine curiosity that only a child can truly have.

I don’t know what else to say about The Invention of Hugo Cabret besides the fact that you should read it. This is truly a magical story, one that is not to be missed.


10 thoughts on “The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick”

  1. Have you seen the movie yet? I realize that my recommendation probably holds less wait than all of the Oscars it won, but wow. Go see it. It does the book justice.

  2. I bought this book and Wonderstuck right around Christmas for my family, and I need to plan a day of just settling in with some graphic novels and get to them. Sandy just loves this book, and was raving about it around this time last year. Now I see that you love it too, and I can’t ignore that! A great and very enticing review today, Heather. I must make time for these books!

  3. I thought the illustrations in this book were the best thing about it. I liked the story too, but the main thing for me was how gorgeous the pictures were. I’d like to see more books like this, with a mix of story and images — it’s neat to blur the dividing line between regular books and graphic novels.

  4. This is a terrific book. The movie should definitely be seen in 3D, it takes the story to a different level. I enjoyed the book more, but the movie is special unto itself. I am looking forward to Wonderstruck.

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