Monday, February 25, 2013

Brad About Books: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Published: April 1, 2007
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 522 pages
Source: Library

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.

The primary inspiration is the true story of turn-of-the-century French pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès, his surviving films, and his collection of mechanical, wind-up figures called automata. Selznick decided to add automata to the storyline after reading Edison's Eve by Gaby Wood, which tells the story of Edison's attempt to create a talking wind-up doll. 

Méliès actually had a set of automata, which were either sold or lost. At the end of his life Méliès was broke, even as his films were screening widely in the United States. He did work in a toy booth in a Paris railway station, hence the setting. Selznick drew Méliès's real door in the book.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a magical and whimsical read filled with beautiful illustrations and a wonderful story for the ages. 

Hugo is such a wonderful protagonist. It's rare to find a character who is both smart and whimsical, but Brian Selznick proves to us that they still exist. He was such a fun character, and I adored every single second getting to travel with him through his adventures in the train station. Plus, I absolutely loved the setting. Inside the walls of a French train station was absolutely brilliant, and this is a world that I am dying to explore.

The illustrations are simply gorgeous. Selznick really brings the world to life with these stunning works of art, and I appreciated that they were put into the story. It made The Invention of Hugo Cabret seem real and authentic and all-around a fantastic story, since not only do we get to use our imagination, Brian Selznick shows us the world through these brilliant illustrations. 

And I know that it seems long {since it is 522 pages}, but trust me when I say that it is a very quick read. I read it in the matter of a day. I think I read somewhere that there are only 25,000 words, which is not a lot. It's an easy book to breeze through with a captivating and gripping story that will captivate readers of all ages.

If you didn't know, this novel was turned into a film (titled Hugo), which I do have to say was also just as great. But I loved the characters, the world, and the illustrations of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Everything was magnificent.

Overall, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a must-read for everybody. Looking for something that is magical and vibrant? Then you need The Invention of Hugo Cabret in your book life.

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