The Children’s Book Review | March 25, 2008
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (January 30, 2007)
Source: Personal collection
After months of not being able to keep this book in the store long enough to say “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”—based merely on it’s synopsis and a quick glance at the wonderful pencil illustrations—I had to know why people were coming back for second and third copies. The book is a massive 500 pages, so it can look quite intimidating for its intended age, however, more than half of the pages are illustrated. The illustrations are a vital component of the story and provide important clues to the ever evolving mystery. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is also the winner of the Caldecott Medal for 2008.
The book begins like a movie, the pictures set the scene of a dark night with a full moon that, as the pages pan out, turns into morning in Paris. The story is about a 12-year-old boy, Hugo, who is an orphan living inside the walls of a Paris train station. Before Hugo’s father (a clock maker) passed away in a fire, he had been working on fixing an adult size wind-up figure. Hugo makes it his purpose to fix the figure, even if it involves thieving. He believes that, once reassembled, the figure will reveal a message left for him by his father.
Hugo begins to develop relationships with a girl named Isabelle and her godfather George (whose character is based on the famous film maker George Mieles), who own a toy shop in the station. Hugo first encounters George when he is caught stealing mechanical pieces from the shop to fix his wind-up man. Little does Hugo know, George and Isabelle just may be able to help him complete the task.
This book is a wonderful choice for kids who enjoy mysteries—it will even capture the attention of those that are not overly enthusiastic about reading. The illustrations really add such a ‘cool’ dimension—this book really makes a beautiful gift.
“if you lose your purpose
it’s like you’re broken.“
If you would like to see the pictures from the opening scene, follow this link and scroll to the bottom of the page: https://www.theinventionofhugocabret.com/about_hugo_intro.htm. I really recommend taking a look.
Add this book to your collection: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Like a lot of excellent books, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick has been turned into a movie (a good movie, too). Take a look at the Movie Trailer for Hugo Cabret.