The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Haley Mathew, Staff Reporter

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“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” is a young adult mystery novel by Brian Selznick, told in both words and pictures. The novel revolves round 12-year-old orphan, Hugo Cabret, who lives in an old apartment above a train station in Paris, where he tends to the 27 clocks in the building each day. It is explained that Hugo’s father perished in a fire before the novel begins, and it is Hugo’s uncle who brought him to work as an Apprentice Timekeeper in the train station, though Hugo’s uncle also subsequently died before the novel begins. Hugo, for fear of being thrown out, carries on work as if his uncle is still there.

“The invention of Hugo Cabret is like nothing you’ve seen before. When you or your child first pick it up, it looks like one of those fat fantasies that are so popular these days. When you open it, it seems similar to a graphic novel. But lengthy sections of wordless illustrations (284 pages of drawings) are interspersed with pages of more traditional prose. But neither text nor pictures can stand without the other. Brian Selznick’s brilliant hybrid is put in service of a complex and heartfelt story that involves a plucky orphan, the history of early cinema, the mechanics of clocks and other intricate machinery, and a little bit of magic. The whole is a work of great beauty and excitement, with breathless pacing ramped up even further by the wordless sections. Selznick has created an entirely new art form that succeeds as art, literature, and entertainment,” a review from Matt Berman said.

This book in my opinion is one picture book that is still acceptable to read at a teenagers age. The pictures beautifully illustrate the events that take place in a way words never could. Along with “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” Brian Selznick also wrote and illustrated “The Marvels” and “Wonderstruck.” I highly recommend this book to all readers who appreciate a unique book.

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The Invention of Hugo Cabret