The Invention of Hugo Cabret
By Brian Selznick
Most enjoyed by 3rd graders and up
"The Invention of Hugo Cabret" has been the most popular book on our fiction shelves this school year. Our fifth grade reading club read it and loved it. In fact, several parents read it and loved it, too. It is one of two books published this year that demonstrate that authors are constantly creating new ways of telling stories. Later this week, you'll read about the second book in our collection that deserves a look because of the way the author shares his story.
Inspired by old silent movies, author Brian Selznick has created a unique book in "The Invention of Hugo Cabret". Part graphic novel, part storybook, it tells the story of young Hugo, orphaned when his father dies in a museum fire. Hugo has been living in a Paris train station, struggling to repair the automaton his father died trying to save. Hugo repairs the clocks in the station which allows him to keep an eye on the small toy shop from which he steals parts to repair the automaton. Hugo hopes the automaton will reveal a secret message once it is fixed. The toy shop is run by a young girl and her grandfather, who catches Hugo stealing and puts him to work. As Hugo gets to know the grandfather, he realizes that the old man has a secret he's hiding that has to do with the automaton. Hugo hopes that by discovering the old man's secret, he'll finally be able to complete the automaton and discover it's hidden message.
What makes 'Hugo' unique is the way the story is told. Brian Selznick outlined the story, then decided which parts could be told in pictures instead of words. Each picture section is about 30 pages long and seamlessly carries the story forward, connecting to the next narrative section. As the illustrated pages turn, the reader gets the sensation of watching a movie, as the focus of a series of pictures zooms in on one aspect of a setting. While the book is over 500 pages long, it is a quick read. And, surprisingly, not intimidating to most readers. In fact, the combination of story and pictures is what makes this book so appealing.
Brian has created an awesome website for "The Invention of Hugo Cabret". On the site, check out the movie link to see the original silent movie 'A Trip to the Moon' from which Brian got his inspiration.
Parents, if you're looking for a book to give for Christmas, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" would be an excellent choice. It's appeal is greatest for 3rd graders on up.
We currently have a waiting list for this book. Stop by the library and add your name to the list so you don't miss this fascinating book.