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Hardcover The Invention of Hugo Cabret Book

ISBN: 0439813786

ISBN13: 9780439813785

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

2008 Caldecott Medal winner The groundbreaking debut novel from bookmaking pioneer, Brian Selznick 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--like the gears of the clocks he keeps--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...

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

A rich sensory experience...

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick, is a children's novel weighing in at an intimidating 533 pages, but the reader brave enough to dive headlong into its pages will find a multi-layered text that consists of not only a delightfully written tale, but rich illustrations that take over the telling of the story at regular intervals. Selznick's creation navigates the grey area between picture book and graphic novel in what certainly constitutes a visual and narrative achievement and a truly original book. Hugo is a 12-year-old boy strapped with responsibility beyond that which a child should have to shoulder. After his uncle--a hopeless drunk in charge of tending the station's clocks--disappears, Hugo takes it upon himself to maintain the clocks in hopes that his uncle won't be missed and he can keep his dwelling and enjoy the freedom of coming and going, living within the walls, and repairing an artifact cherished by both Hugo and his late father. The artifact at the center of the tale is a forgotten automaton discovered among the dust and rot of a museum storage room. It is a mechanical man, pen in hand, poised to deliver a message; Hugo feels certain that if he can repair the automaton by using his late father's notes, the mechanical man will write a message from beyond the grave. Hugo resorts to stealing toys from the toy booth in the train station, and soon finds himself working off his debt to the shopkeeper, a man with secrets of his own. What follows involves a stolen notebook, an oddly familiar drawing, unlikely friends, the magic of silent film, and a giant in cinema, Georges Melies (the most recognizable of his films being A Trip to the Moon or Le Voyage dans la Lune, 1902). While the novel largely defies categorization, it closely resembles a silent film in many respects, and fittingly so. In addition to the novel's rich illustrations, Selznick employs photos and movie stills to show the reader his story as opposed to simply telling it. In the tradition of graphic narrative (or sequential art, whatever your term of choice), the illustrations play as integral a role in the overall story as the text. The use of illustrations is hardly gratuitous, for the pictures quite literally take over and carry out the narrative when the text disappears. And, really, who would care if the illustrations were gratuitous? They're gorgeous. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is full of magic...for the child reader, for the adult reader, the film lover, the art lover, for anyone willing to give it a go. If you're scared of the size or the concept, don't be. Open your mind, pour Selznick's creation in, and be reminded of the dream of childhood.

Curiouser and curiouser

No one can really summarize a book any better than the author proper. So what is, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" anyway? "... this is not exactly a novel, and it's not quite a picture book, and it's not really a graphic novel, or a flip book, or a movie, but a combination of all these things." In short, what you have is a book that can't really be lumped into a single genre. With the rising popularity of the graphic novel, authors have been looking at how to let the visual elements of a given story complement the text. Some will weave graphic novel elements in and out, panels on one page, text on another. Others prefer a kind of "Captain Underpants" melding with cartoonish pictures. And while all these books are fun reads, none of them have ever really had the (for lack of a better word) gravitas you'd find in a classic text-only children's novel. Until now, that is. "Hugo Cabret" is a risk. A 500+ page book that's told just equally by pictures as it is by text. It is also like nothing you've ever seen before. No other children's book has even come close. Without Hugo Cabret, none of the clocks in the magnificent Paris train station he lives in would work. Though he's only a kid, Hugo tends to the clocks every day. But there's something even more important in the boy's life than gigantic mechanics. Hugo owns a complex automaton, once his father's, that was damaged in a fire and it is his life's goal to make the little machine work again. To do so, he's been stealing small toys from an old shopkeeper in the station. One day the man catches Hugo in the act, and suddenly the two are thrown together. Coincidences, puzzles, lost keys, and a mystery from the past combine in this complex tale of old and new. The story is told with pictures that act out the action and then several pages of text that describe the plot elements. The final effect is like watching a puzzle work itself into clarity. Selznick is juggling so many different elements and inspirations in this book that you honestly expect the result to be a muddle. Okay. So you have a story involving old-timey movie-maker Georges Melies (he's the old shopkeeper) whose image in this book was modeled on children's book author Remy Charlip (also an influence). You have an automaton, the history of automatons, and the history of movies themselves. There are photographs of old films mixed in with some bizarre sketches. Then you throw all of this together and add in a story about a boy, a girl, a one-eyed man, toys, keys, and a train station. Boom! Instant book. The fact that this title ISN'T a mess is downright bizarre. They say that the mark of a good musical depends on how well the songs advance the story's plot. You can't just have your characters burst into song and then act like nothing ever happened. The case could be made too for books like "Hugo Cabret". If there is a picture in this story, it has a purpose. Nothing here was included on a whim. When the book breaks from word to image, it has

Objet d'art

THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET is art of a high order. To start with, this book is a beautiful object. The right dust jacket can definitely sell a book. The graphite rendering of Hugo in extreme close-up gracing the book's spine and wrapping around the back cover is what drew me to the bookshelf in the first place. And upon discovering the book's unusual format, I was hooked. The artwork here does not illustrate the text. Rather it advances the plot. It's a little like watching a silent movie and reading title cards...completely appropriate in a story dealing with the origins of cinema. The story lives up to the promise of the packaging. It is immediately engaging and ultimately touching. Hugo is the orphaned son of a clock-maker, living in the walls behind a Parisian train station, maintaining the station's clocks, stealing bread and milk to survive, stealing nuts, bolts, and gears to complete a project his father was working on when he died. His secret existence is threatened as his life becomes entwined with a bitter, old man and a bookish young girl. It's part graphic novel, part mystery, part coming-of-age. There are echoes of Pinocchio but with a twist as here it is a lonely boy building an automaton father figure. This is a timeless book about, among other things, time. This is a book for the ages, and a book for all ages. The story, the artwork, the writing style, the overall design, all first rate parts of a greater whole, like the precisely crafted mechanism of a fine Swiss clock.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret Mentions in Our Blog

The Invention of Hugo Cabret in Kids Will Be Kids...Unless They Are Kidventors
Kids Will Be Kids...Unless They Are Kidventors
Published by Beth Clark • January 17, 2019

Refrigerator art and experimental LEGO cars are proof kids have vivid imaginations, but sometimes they have ideas for ingenious things that change the world, like popsicles (age 11), the trampoline (age 16), swim flippers (age 11), and earmuffs (age 15). What would you do if your kidventor came up with a mind-bending invention that was actually viable? The parents of the kids below all answered, "Patent it, build it, and/or sell it!"

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