Young Hugo lives behind the walls of a train station in France. What's he doing back there? He keeps the clocks on the correct time. Hidden away from everyone, Hugo also has a tendency to steal things that catch his eye. However, when he's spotted by a toymaker and his daughter (Hugo's age), his life starts to change. Suddenly, Hugo finds out that his secrets are not unique to him, but a part of something much larger! Citation: Selznick, B. (2007). The invention of Hugo Cabret. New York: Scholastic Press.
Selznick, B. (2007). The Invention of Hugo Cabret. New York: Scholastic Press.
I thought this was a wonderful book. The use of text and pictures was masterful by Selznick. At several moments while I was reading did I feel like I was almost watching a movie. The illustrations did a wonderful job of contributing detail to the story that words might not have been able to describe. I would like to check out the audio book of this story from my library because the audio/dvd combination intrigues me. It would be interesting to see how the creators of the audiobook brought the storyline across.
Gr. 5-8 Selznick's 'novel in words and pictures,' an intriguing mystery set in 1930s Paris about an orphan, a salvaged clockwork invention, and a celebrated filmmaker, resuscitates an anemic genre-- the illustrated novel--and takes it to a whole new level. The result is somewhat similar to a graphic novel, but experiencing its mix of silvery pencil drawings and narrative interludes is ultimately more akin to watching a silent film. Indeed, movies and the wonder they inspire, 'like seeing dreams in the middle of the day,' are central to the story, and Selznick expresses an obvious passion for cinema in ways both visual (successive pictures, set against black frames as if projected on a darkened screen, mimic slow zooms and dramatic cuts) and thematic (the convoluted plot involves director Georges Melies, particularly his fanciful 1902 masterpiece, 'A Trip to the Moon'.) This hybrid creation, which also includes movie stills and archival photographs, is surprising and often lovely, but the orphan's story is overshadowed by the book's artistic and historical concerns (the heady extent of which are revealed in concluding notes about Selznick's inspirations, from the Lumiere brothers to Franceois Truffaut). Nonetheless, bookmaking this ambitious demands and deserves attention-- which it will surely receive from children attracted by a novel in which a complex narrative is equally advanced by things both read and seen. (Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2007). Jennifer Mattson. 531pg. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2007.
Matteson, J. (2007). [Book Review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret]. Booklist, 103(9/10), 97.
From School Library Journal:
Gr 4-9--With characteristic intelligence, exquisite images, and a breathtaking design, Selznick shatters conventions related to the art of bookmaking in this magical mystery set in 1930s Paris. He employs wordless sequential pictures and distinct pages of text to let the cinematic story unfold, and the artwork, rendered in pencil and bordered in black, contains elements of a flip book, a graphic novel, and film. It opens with a small square depicting a full moon centered on a black spread. As readers flip the pages, the image grows and the moon recedes. A boy on the run slips through a grate to take refuge inside the walls of a train station--home for this orphaned, apprentice clock keeper. As Hugo seeks to accomplish his mission, his life intersects with a cantankerous toyshop owner and a feisty girl who won't be ignored. Each character possesses secrets and something of great value to the other. With deft foreshadowing, sensitively wrought characters, and heart-pounding suspense, the author engineers the elements of his complex plot: speeding trains, clocks, footsteps, dreams, and movies--especially those by Georges Melies, the French pioneer of science-fiction cinema. Movie stills are cleverly interspersed. Selznick's art ranges from evocative, shadowy spreads of Parisian streets to penetrating character close-ups. Leaving much to ponder about loss, time, family, and the creative impulse, the book closes with a waning moon, a diminishing square, and informative credits. This is a masterful narrative that readers can literally manipulate.--Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library. 531pg. CAHNERS PUBLISHING, c2007.
Lukehart, W. (2007 March 1). The Book Review: Grades 5 & Up [Book review for The Invention of Hugo Cabret]. School Library Journal, 53(3), 218.
Library setting uses:
Since the illustrations are such an integral part of working with the plot of the story, it would be a fun idea to have a group of elementary students make a flip book that illustrates either a scene from the story or one they make up on their own. If the budget allows, it would be a great idea to use the book as a celebration of illustrators and Caldecott winners by getting an artist to donate their time to conduct the workshop.