The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Orphaned and surviving only on stolen food and milk, Hugo Cabret must carry on his uncle’s duties of setting the clocks at the train station while attempting to rebuild an automaton his father and he worked on before his father passed. Hugo continues to steal parts from the toy store set up in the train station for the automaton until he is caught by the owner, who takes his father’s notebook with the only instructions for the automaton. The owner returns the notebook to Hugo the next day, as a pile of ashes, saying it may or may not be the real notebook. Hugo bargains with the owner and agrees to work at the shop to receive the notebook back. He meets the owner’s goddaughter, Isabelle, and discovers she has a key that can wind up the automaton. Hugo steals her key, but not before she discovers he has, and together, they wind up the finished automaton. Will the automaton write out a message Hugo believes from his father, or will Hugo be faced with something even more curious? The Invention of Hugo Cabret combines intricate illustrations and movie pictures with text to create an interesting story about a boy and the magic of machines.
I’ve been looking forward to reading this book, and it was even better than I imagined. Brian Selznick has amazing talent both as an artist and a storyteller, and he really deserved the Caldecott Medal for this book. Selznick does not strictly tell the story through just the text; the pictures actually tell most of the story and the text adds details that cannot be directly inferred from the illustrations. The more into the plot I got, the more I found myself liking the character of the toy store owner (there is more to him than meets the eye) and by the end I had respect for him. I know this book was made into a movie, Hugo, but I have not seen the movie to compare it to what happened in the book. I thought this book was extremely well done and I would recommend it to anyone, even though it is often classified as children’s lit. I feel that anyone could take something from this book, young or old, and the illustrations are just fun to look at.
My Rating: 5/5