“With 284 pictures between the book’s 533 pages, the book depends equally on its pictures as it does on the actual words. Selznick himself has described the book as “not exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things.” The Caldecott Medal is for picture books, in 2008 this was first novel to receive.” (description from Goodreads)
I picked this book up at my local used bookstore after flipping through it and admiring the illustrations throughout its pages. Visually, the presentation of the book was like nothing else I’ve seen before.
I sat down to read The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and I was instantly in love. Through the combination of text and scenes “told” through illustrations, Selznick’s book has easily become one of my favorites that I’ve read this year.
It’s hard to find just a few things I enjoyed about Hugo. The story touched the heart so effectively. It’s about an abandoned, talented young boy. It’s about an old man with a troubled past. Finding friendship and much more. There’s also a fascinating tale surrounding the automaton and the history of inventions similar to it. I think the fact that there is real-life history behind the story helps makes this book even more enjoyable.
Even though this is a book written for a younger crowd, I feel that I appreciated it more in my mid-twenties than I would have if I had read this when I was younger. A child will love the story, and enjoy the pictures, as well. For me, this is an experience that doesn’t depend on one’s age. It’s all about the magic created within this book. It knows no age.
You can find copies of this book through your major retailers. I don’t see an ebook version, so here are some places I found it cheapest.
There’s also a movie based on this book, titled Hugo. I recommend watching that as well. I don’t normally like move is based off books, but I feel that due to the nature of the book’s use of visuals, the movie did a great job of staying true to the book and bringing even more to the experience.
About the Author:
Hello there. My name is Brian Selznick and I’m the author and illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was born in 1966 in New Jersey. I have a sister who is a teacher, a brother who is a brain surgeon, and five nephews and one niece. I studied at The Rhode Island School of Design and after I graduated from college I worked at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City. I learned all about children’s books from my boss Steve Geck who is now an editor of children’s books at Greenwillow. While I was at Eeyore’s I also painted the windows for holidays and book events.
My first book, The Houdini Box, which I both wrote and illustrated, was published in 1991 while I was still working at the bookstore. Since then, I have illustrated many books for children, including Frindle by Andrew Clements, The Doll People by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin, Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, which received a 2001 Caldecott Honor.
I have also written a few other books myself, including The Boy of a Thousand Faces, but The Invention of Hugo Cabret is by far the longest and most involved book I’ve ever worked on.
I live in Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.
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