Published: March 2007
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Caldecott Honor artist Brian Selznick's has 284 pencil drawings and actual photos (an old train engine falling from upper story to street below, Harold Lloyd in "Safety Lost", film stills) basing his story on facts. Automatons who could draw pictures, write poems, and sign the maker's name Maillardet, really existed, neglected in a museum. George Méliès, 1861 magician turned film-maker, son of shoemaker-magnate, built his own camera Kinétographe, and was rediscovered in 1926 working at his Gare Montparness railroad station toy kiosk. Fiction: orphan clock-winder 1931 Paris lad Hugo steals to eat and repair robot from father's notebook, until he meets Méliès' pretty god-daughter Isabelle accompanied by helpful film student Etienne. An unusual blend of graphic novel and history lesson results.
It's the gorgeous illustrations by Brian Selznick that truly made The Invention of Hugo Cabret - every page was a treat to turn, every illustration perfectly plotted and drawn. I loved how the illustrations were laid out in a sort of flip book or storyboard series that seemed to mimic an old movie, lending itself perfectly to the theme of the book. I guess it doesn't technically count as reading, but it was a pleasure to follow along image by image. And to be honest, the writing was nice but not particularly special in any way - though perhaps that's because it is aimed toward a young age group.
Despite the average writing, I do still recommend reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret based on the wonderful illustrations alone. And it's a quick read! And I also highly recommend the movie adaptation, Hugo, which I actually liked more.
Alison Can Read
YA Book Reads