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The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian…

The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)

by Brian Selznick, Brian Selznick (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7,706615680 (4.3)1 / 524

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English (597)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Spanish (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (613)
Showing 1-5 of 597 (next | show all)
A magical book with lots of great illustrations! The movie actually does a great job portraying it as well. I highly recommend this story in either form. ( )
  KatelynSBolds | Nov 12, 2018 |
Pros: told through images and text, some tense moments, fun characters, fast read

Cons: most of the conflict is due to Hugo keeping secrets

Hugo Cabret lives in the Timekeeper’s room inside a Parisian train station. When an elderly toy maker catches him stealing a toy mouse, the man takes a notebook Hugo received from his deceased father. The notebook contains images of an automaton Hugo’s trying to fix, images that cause a startling reaction from the old man.

The book follows Hugo as he tries to get the notebook back and interacts with the man and his goddaughter, Isabelle. There are old movies, magic, clocks, thefts, and lies. The best part of the book is that the movies and automata discussed are all real.

This is a fun - and fast - read. Some sections are told through full page illustrations rather than text, giving the book the feeling of a movie. The immediacy of the action and Hugo’s point of view narrative enhance that feeling.

There are some tense moments, especially towards the end of the book.

While I can understand Hugo’s fear of being taken from his current home and his fear of what would happen to him, it has to be said that most of the problems he encounters throughout the book are due to his inability to trust others, even after they’ve been proved trustworthy and his compulsive need to keep secrets. Things would have resolved much faster had he told Georges why the notebook was so important to him.

Though it’s a thick book (due to the images) it really is an easy read, perfect for readers of all ages. ( )
  Strider66 | Oct 23, 2018 |
The Invention of Hugo Cabret was an amazing book. It had some sad parts and some exciting parts. I would recommend this to people who love when books have a visionary view of what’s going on and who love art in books. Half the book was a visionary view and the other half is words actually telling the story. ( )
  EvieG.G3 | Oct 11, 2018 |
Georges Méliès was a magician who became a legendary early French filmmaker, the first to use complex special effects to tell imaginative stories that did not reflect the real world. He then lost nearly everything, including his films and his automata, due to business and financial reverses and the development of film beyond where he had taken it. This is a fictional story of Méliès in his later years, and the young boy who helps to pull him out of his decline.

Hugo Cabret is the son of a clockmaker who runs his own shop, and also works at a local museum, repairing clocks, automata, and other machinery. In the attic of the museum he finds an amazing automaton, a man sitting at desk, holding a pen, poised to write. It's in terrible shape, but he shows it to Hugo, and starts work on repairing it during his spare time at the museum.

When the museum burns and his father dies, and Hugo becomes apprentice to his uncle who maintains the clocks at a Paris train station, the memory of the automaton haunts him. After his uncle disappears, and Hugo is struggling to maintain the clocks on his own, and survive while unable to cash his uncle's paychecks, he finds the automaton in the ruins of the museum, brings it back to his train station living quarters, and begins to work on it himself.

This leads to him meeting the old toymaker running the toy shop in the station, when the toymaker catches him stealing small wind-up toys to use the parts in his repairs.

That encounter is the beginning of a marvelous adventure that uncovers secrets buried for many years--the toymaker's past, what the automaton is poised to create with its pen, and the source of the marvelous images Hugo's father remembered from his boyhood movie-going, and reproduced in the precious notebook Hugo has kept. There's magic and grief and joy and friendship, here, and a whole lot of fun.


I borrowed this book from the library. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
A great marriage of terrific illustrations and interesting text used equally to tell the story, this is a real graphic novel. It isn't the kind you find in the graphic novel sections in bookstores and libraries. It looks like its ancestry is the picture book, not the comic book. I'd compare it to Chris Van Allsburg's great picture books the same combination of unsettling but realistic pictures and stories - magical in a subtle way. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 597 (next | show all)
The story is an engaging meditation on fantasy, inventiveness, and a thrilling mystery in its own right. No knowledge of early cinema is necessary to enjoy it, but for those who do know just a little, the rewards are even greater.
The carefully selected details make Hugo Cabret feel like, well, a machine, full of tiny interlocking parts, built to fuel a curious child’s lifelong infatuation with wonder.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is full of magic ... for the child reader, for the adult reader, the film lover, the art lover, for anyone willing to give it a go. If you’re scared of the size or the concept, don’t be. Open your mind, pour Selznick’s creation in, and be reminded of the dream of childhood.
With The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the American illustrator/author Brian Selznick seems to have invented a new kind of book. It's at once a picture book, a graphic novel, a rattling good yarn and an engaging celebration of the early days of the cinema. All in black and white.
It is wonderful.

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Selznick, BrianAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Selznick, BrianIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Paracchini, FabioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santen, Gert vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Hugo (2011IMDb)
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For Remy Charlip and for David Serlin
First words
From his perch behind the clock, Hugo could see everything.
Hugo felt sure that the note was going to answer all of his questions and tell him what to do now that he was alone. The note was going to save his life.
The coffee was hot, and as Hugo let it cool, he looked around the cavernous station at all the people rushing by with a thousand different places to go. When he saw them from above he always thought the travelers looked like cogs in an intricate, swirling machine. But up close, amid the bustle and the stampede, everything just seemed noisy and disconnected.
Hugo though about his father’s description of the automaton. “Did you ever notice that all machines are made for some reason?” he asked Isabelle. “They are built to make you laugh, like the mouse here, or to tell the time, like clocks, or to fill you with wonder, like the automaton. Maybe that’s why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn’t able to do what it was meant to do.”
“I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”
When you wind it up, it can do something I'm sure no other automaton in the world can do. It can tell you the incredible story of Georges Méliès, his wife, their goddaughter, and a beloved clock maker whose son grew up to be a magician.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0439813786, Hardcover)

Book Description:
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.

Amazon.com Exclusive

A Letter from Brian Selznick

Dear readers,

When I was a kid, two of my favorite books were by an amazing man named Remy Charlip. Fortunately and Thirteen fascinated me in part because, in both books, the very act of turning the pages plays a pivotal role in telling the story. Each turn reveals something new in a way that builds on the image on the previous page. Now that I’m an illustrator myself, I’ve often thought about this dramatic storytelling device and all of its creative possibilities.

My new book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is a 550 page novel in words and pictures. But unlike most novels, the images in my new book don't just illustrate the story; they help tell it. I've used the lessons I learned from Remy Charlip and other masters of the picture book to create something that is not a 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.

I began thinking about this book ten years ago after seeing some of the magical films of Georges Méliès, the father of science-fiction movies. But it wasn’t until I read a book called Edison's Eve: The Quest for Mechanical Life by Gaby Woods that my story began to come into focus. I discovered that Méliès had a collection of mechanical, wind-up figures (called automata) that were donated to a museum, but which were later destroyed and thrown away. Instantly, I imagined a boy discovering these broken, rusty machines in the garbage, stealing one and attempting to fix it. At that moment, Hugo Cabret was born.

A few years ago, I had the honor of meeting Remy Charlip, and I'm proud to say that we've become friends. Last December he was asking me what I was working on, and as I was describing this book to him, I realized that Remy looks exactly like Georges Méliès. I excitedly asked him to pose as the character in my book, and fortunately, he said yes. So every time you see Méliès in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the person you are really looking at is my dear friend Remy Charlip, who continues to inspire everyone who has the great pleasure of knowing him or seeing his work.

Paris in the 1930's, a thief, a broken machine, a strange girl, a mean old man, and the secrets that tie them all together... Welcome to The Invention of Hugo Cabret.


Brian Selznick

Amazon.com Exclusive

Brian Selznick on a "Deleted Scene" from The Invention of Hugo Cabret

This is a finished drawing that I had to cut from The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was still rewriting the book when I had to begin the final art. There was originally a scene in the story where this character, Etienne, is working in a camera shop. On one of my research trips to Paris I spent an entire day visiting old camera shops and photographing cameras from the 1930's and earlier, as well as the facades of the shops themselves. I researched original French camera posters and made sure that the counter and the shelves were accurate to the time period. I did all the drawings in the book at 1/4 scale, so they were very small and I often had to use a magnifying glass to help me see what I was drawing. After I finished this drawing I continued to rewrite, and for various reasons I realized that I needed to move this scene from the camera shop to the French Film Academy, which meant that I had to cut this picture. I tried really hard to find ANOTHER moment when I could have Etienne in a camera shop, but, as painful as it was, I knew the picture had to go. I'm glad to see it up on the Amazon website because otherwise no one would have ever seen all those tiny cameras I researched and drew so carefully!

--Brian Selznick

More from Brian Selznick

The Houdini Box

Walt Whitman: Words for America

The Boy of a Thousand Faces

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:11 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized.

» see all 5 descriptions

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