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The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian…

The Invention of Hugo Cabret (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Brian Selznick

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,407535600 (4.31)1 / 497
Title:The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Authors:Brian Selznick
Info:Scholastic Press (2007), First Edition, Hardcover, 542 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:children's literature, historical fiction, clocks, Paris

Work details

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (2007)

  1. 50
    Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (Unoriginality)
    Unoriginality: It is the same author with many beautiful illustrations. Hugo is superior in my opinion, but Wonderstruck is still a very good read.
  2. 40
    The Arrival by Shaun Tan (teelgee)
  3. 20
    The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: If you like books with (meaningful) illustrations for older readers, you might like this one, too.
  4. 10
    You Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum (Picture Puffin) by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: Great illustrations tell the story as well as any words!
  5. 21
    Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (FFortuna)
  6. 00
    A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (kaledrina)
  7. 00
    The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (MField)
  8. 00
    Mystery of the Silent Friends by Robin Gottlieb (infiniteletters)
  9. 00
    The Second Mrs. Gioconda by E. L. Konigsburg (Runa)
  10. 00
    The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (zjeszay)
  11. 00
    Silent Movie by Avi (raizel)
    raizel: The medium reflecting the message.
  12. 01
    The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas (FFortuna)
  13. 01
    The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby (infiniteletters)

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English (519)  French (3)  Italian (2)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (533)
Showing 1-5 of 519 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed reading this chapter book. One major reason why I liked this book were the beautiful illustrations. The illustrations take the reader back to the time of early movies. They are a stunning, necessary addition to the story. It helps the reader really envision what it would be like to be in the story. I also liked how relatable and believable the characters were. The reader grew attached to each character, and I think other children will feel the same way as they read the story. You become really engaged and curious about Hugo, Georges, and Isabelle's story. The big idea from this book is about creativity and finding purpose in life. Hugo is a smart young boy who needs to use his creativity to find the message his father left for him. He also realizes that he, like his automaton, serves a purpose in life which inspires him to help Papa Georges. ( )
  lmorte1 | Sep 22, 2015 |
I liked this book for two reasons. First, the characters are well developed. I enjoyed learning about Hugo Cabret and his life as the story progressed. More and more answers to my questions, like why Hugo is an orphan, are revealed throughout the book. The second thing I liked about the book was the illustrations. Each chapter included a series of wordless pictures that helped tell the story. For example, when the automaton that Hugo fixed finally worked, the book actually showed the picture that the automaton drew. Hugo said something that made a lasting impression on me. He told his friend Isabelle, "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." I believe that this explains the message of the story. Everybody and everything in the world has a purpose, even if that purposed hasn't been discovered yet. ( )
  jwrigh28 | Sep 17, 2015 |
In my opinion, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is an amazing story with beautiful illustrations that really help you picture the story based on how the author sees it. I really loved how his drawings were so detailed that I felt like I could feel exactly what the characters felt by the detail in their expressions. While reading, you feel this growing need to know more about what happens next. Especially in the third part of the book where you finally learn a few answers about how the characters fit together and what the automaton really can do. For example, Hugo Cabret thought that the automaton was going to write him a note that would give him all the answers but instead it drew a picture of a man in the moon with an object sticking out of its eye. The same drawing that was created by the man that ran the toy booth, George Melies. This book really makes you think and try to figure out how the characters are all connected together. For some reason the automaton brings them all together but carries so many secrets with it. At the beginning of the book it states, “Here you will meet a boy named Hugo Cabret, who once, long ago, discovered a mysterious drawing that changed his life forever.” Not only did it change his life, but many others too. ( )
  kstano1 | Sep 15, 2015 |
I found the style intriguing, this hybrid of novel/short story and picture book. My son and I enjoyed reading a book that seemed overwhelming in size in such a short time, and the beautiful illustration interludes were, I'd say, "neat." We did find the plot suspenseful enough to keep us anxious to resume reading each night, but I found the plot extremely disappointing...a lot of suspense and mystery for nothing; a very unrealistically dramatic secret was revealed after all.

Together we just finished reading the climax, and I read ahead to discover the resolution while he was sleeping, so I'm not sure how he'll feel about it at the end, but I expect that my son will think it's a fantastic book because he actually made it through with ease, it was exciting, he enjoyed predicting and analyzing what the mystery really is, and he absolutely LOVED the visual details. I'm anxious to see his review.

I recommend the book as a read-aloud with a child who is extremely into art, cinema, magic (the slight-of-hand kind), or adventure. I especially recommend the book to a kid who is mechanically-inclined. It can also boost a child's confidence in tackling chapter books because, as I mentioned, the book is immense, seemingly sophisticated, and intimidating but is actually quite easy to read. For this purpose, I recommend purchasing the book instead of borrowing it, as I'm sure that my son would keep it as a reminder of what a great reader he is! ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
All things considered I did not hate this book, I even enjoyed it but it fell somewhat flat for me. The highlight were the great pictures and my favorite part was the build up in mystery during the first half of the book but the build up for me did not amount to something great like I expected. There were still great moments in this books but things that i just plucked holes into that didn't quite fit with me. The book is a good one and if it gets children excited and more of them to read then by all means keep reading it and praising it for it does deserve the praise, but for me personally the story lacked and by the end I was unfortunately a bit disappointed. ( )
  alejandro.santana | Jul 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 519 (next | show all)
Readers will pore over not only the illustrations, but also the words, which are rarely wasted and often contain real wisdom.
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.

» Add other authors (11 possible)

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

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Important events
Related movies
Hugo (2011IMDb)
Awards and honors
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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Book description
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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

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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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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