Book Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Release Date: January 30, 2007
Publisher: Scholastic Press
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

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.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is the story of Hugo, a young boy who secretly lives in the train station. There are several mysteries to be solved about Hugo and the man who own the toy shop that keep the reader turning page after page. I can’t even tell you what most of the mysteries are because that would be spoiling other mysteries!

Don’t be intimidated by the books hefty 511 pages. Probably at least half of that are pages of Selznick’s illustrations. And they are wonderful. The amount of detail in these gorgeous pencil drawings is amazing. He has a gift for drawing facial expressions too. Even without reading the words, the reader knows exactly how the characters are feeling in any given drawing. He also includes a few sketches done by the real Georges Méliès. While Méliès was a real person, Hugo is fictional and therefore so is the story. The acknowledgements at the end clarify which elements of the story were based on facts and real-life events.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an entertaining and original book and would be even without the illustrations. The inclusion of the pictures make the book down-right amazing.

Check out my review of Wonderstruck, also by Brian Selznick.