Friday, February 10, 2012

Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Title: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Author: Brian Selznick
Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Series: ---
Challenge: Color Challenge
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: January 30, 2007
How Received: Borrowed
Rate: 5

Summary (as quoted from Amazon):Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. 
My thoughts:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a great book! A beautiful combination of words and pictures, the story follows Hugo Cabret, a 12 year old boy who’s father recently died, leaving him in the care of his drunken uncle. When his uncle goes missing, Hugo is forced to take over his job ; winding all the clocks in a Paris train station. While evading the Station Inspector and attempting to keep him from realizing that he is living in the train station alone, Hugo is also trying to fix a broken automaton that he is certain holds a hidden message from his father. But to fix the automaton, Hugo must have the right parts - and he finds those parts in a toy station run by a grumpy old man. Buy one day, while he is stealing some toys, the old man catches him, and takes one of his most prized possession’s - a notebook full of drawings of the automaton, given to him by his father. Cutting him some slack, the old man makes a deal with Hugo : If he works at the toy station long enough to equal the amount of money he should pay for the toys he stole, he might give him back his notebook. Seeing no other alternative, Hugo accepts his offer. While working, Hugo befriends Isabelle, the old man’s adopted daughter, and discovers that she has a key around her neck - a key that could quite possibly fit into the automaton’s chest. When the two children put the key inside of the automaton, it does work, and two pieces of paper come out - one with an image from an old movie, and another with the name “George Méliès” engraved on it. When Isabelle reveals that that is the old man’s name, Hugo realizes that his automaton and the old man are undeniably connected - and he is determined to find out why. Hugo and Isabelle were both amazing in their own way - Hugo with his ability to keep his sprits up in the darkest times, and his ability to never give up - and Isabelle with her wit and courage, which made her both unique and interesting. The old man may be the most interesting an important character of all - sharp, smart, and an all around amazing man, he completed the story. If you are looking for a unique tale filled with adventure, hardship, surprises, and hope, then I highly recommend picking up The Invention of Hugo Cabret today.

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