The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick
MG graphic novel. 533 pp.
Scholastic. 2007.

flap copy:

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—like the gears of the clocks he keeps—with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the train 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.

With 284 pages of original drawings, and combining elements of picture book, graphic novel, and film, Brian Selznick breaks open the novel form to create an entirely new reading experience. Here is a stunning, cinematic tour de force from a boldly innovative storyteller, artist, and bookmaker.

So whereas I did not read Rapunzel's Revenge because of Theric, I did read Hugo Cabret because of him. I find the method of storytelling here to be fascinating. I think the subject of old movies works well, particularly when considering how the author has reinforced that feel by framing each page in black. I can't say I'm gaga over the style of the illustrations or even the quality of the writing, but I can say that I'm impressed with how the illustrations and story work so well together and enhance the overall feel. I don't believe the book earned the effusive praise it garnered for quality (as everything is merely average), but it does merit the attention it has received for its uniqueness.

In the end, I'm glad Theric wrote up a review that actually made me want to read this book.

Other reviews:
Abby (the) Librarian
Becky's Book Reviews


Th. said...


Somehow I missed this before (I just saw the link on Technorati) and so I'm a little late to this party, but at least you'll read my reply.

I agree that everything was only so-so, but that the overall effect was more than its so-so parts. A book worth reading, and I suspect it may be the beginning of a trend for kids' lit and comics both.

I'm curious how I talked you out of Rapunzel's Revenge though. Do you mind saying?

Th. said...


Oh---and have you ever seen Voyage to the Moon? (it's on youtube)

Edgy said...

You didn't talk me out of Rapunzel's Revenge; it's just that it wasn't your recommendation that caused me to read it. (I'd heard about it at a writers' conference a couple years ago.)

And I had assumed you hadn't responded because I'd done something to peeve you.

I haven't seen Voyage to the Moon. Now I have something to do tomorrow whilst breaking from work.

Th. said...


Pick a longer version, as some of the shorter ones cut off the ending.