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The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)

by Brian Selznick, Brian Selznick (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,500640723 (4.3)1 / 544
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.

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» See also 544 mentions

English (624)  French (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Italian (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (638)
Showing 1-5 of 624 (next | show all)
That was a cute little book.

Basically, a young boy lives in the walls of a train station, keeping all of the clocks running. He rebuilds a fantastic automaton and meets a toy maker with a bit more in his past than at first meets the eye.

In particular, I love the world and the visuals. The passageways behind the walls, the clockworks and toys, Hugo's room, all of it. Especially when you combine the words with a number of fantastic illustrations as well, it's quite a fantastic world.

I also enjoy the characterization: Hugo and Isabelle actually read like children, albeit smart ones. Méliès is a well written grumpy old man who makes me wonder just how similar he is to his namesake.

It's not the sort of book I normally would have gone for--usually I enjoy outright scifi and fantasy, with a tendency towards longer books--but I'm glad to have read it. I think I may have to check out the 2011 film now; if the visuals are anywhere near the ones in the book, it should be quite enjoyable.

( )
  jpv0 | Jul 21, 2021 |
Although this innovative, genre-bending work won the Caldecott Medal, you don’t have to be a child to enjoy it. The inventive plot pulled me along and I admired the way that the deft drawings didn’t merely illustrate the texts; at times, they moved the story forward without words. Now it sits on our shelf, waiting for the time I can share it with our grandchildren. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
Very quick read because of the amazing illustrations of Brian Selznick -- although I was annoyed that Hugo Cabret was not consistently drawn. Despite a few minor personality flaws, Hugo's great gift is his ability to care for and fix broken things: mechanical or human. A heartwarming story, good for all ages. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
An orphan repairs an automaton that he associates with his father.

2.5/4 (Okay).

I get nothing out of the story, to the point where it always felt like a chore to pick up the book. What's important is the memorable, unique way the story is told. It's kind of an exercise in using as much paper as possible to print a short story. But it has its reasons for being the way it is, and everything fits neatly into place in retrospect. It might have been a great book if he had been 10x more economical with the prose.

(May 2021) ( )
  comfypants | May 13, 2021 |
  mziebrth | Mar 18, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 624 (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 (9 possible)

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

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