Orphan, clock keeper, thief: Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. Combining elements of picture book, graphic novel, and film, Caldecott Honor artist Selznick breaks open the novel form to create an entirely new reading experience in this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
About The Author
Brian Selznick is the author and illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. He was born in 1966 in New Jersey. Brian studied at The Rhode Island School of Design. After graduating from college, he worked at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City. While at Eeyore’s, he also painted the windows for holidays and book events.
Selznick's first book, The Houdini Box, which he both wrote and illustrated, was published in 1991 while he was still working at the bookstore. Since then, he has illustrated many books for children, including Frindle by Andrew Clements, The Doll People by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin, Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, which received a 2001 Caldecott Honor. Brian has also written a few other books, including The Boy of a Thousand Faces.
Brian lives in Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.
Selznick's unique, visually arresting illustrated novel is transformed into an equally unique audiobook-plus-DVD presentation here. The story of 12-year-old Hugo Cabret orphan, clockmaker's apprentice, petty thief and aspiring magician and how a curious machine connects him with his departed father and pioneering French filmmaker Georges Méliès is full-bodied material for Woodman. The narrator dives in, reading with both a bright energy and an air of mystery befitting the adventurous plot. Listeners will likely cotton to Woodman's affable tone and be fascinated by all the unusual elements here, including the sound-effects sequences (footsteps, train station noises) that stand in for Selznick's black-and-white illustrations, which appear like mini silent movies in the book. Selznick himself takes over as host on the making-of style DVD, in which he divulges his love of film and his inspiration for the book, discusses (and demonstrates) his drawing technique and even performs a magic trick. The "chapters" of his interview are interspersed with excerpts from the audiobook, as he explains how the recording was a translation of both his words and pictures to sound. This inventive audio-visual hybrid will be a welcome addition to both home and classroom libraries. Ages 9-12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Hugo Cabret is upset when his unusual notebook is confiscated by the owner of the wind-up toy stand at the Paris train station. When the old man says he intends to burn the notebook, Hugo is beside himself. It is, after all, the only connection he has left with his father. It is the key to a critically important mystery. Within its pages lies the reason why Hugo Cabret, recently abandoned by his uncle, continues to hide in the Paris train station, tending the clocks and hoping nobody notices him. He must get it back! So we have the beginning of the end for Hugo's life to this point and the beginning of something more. Brian Selznick's book is a lush hybrid of a creation, a blend of novel and graphic novel that invites you to linger over each page, but also inspires a hunger to know more that keeps you turning the pages. This unforgettable work is homage to early cinema, to human curiosity, and to magic, that manages to evoke, in even the most the modern, high-tech, wired reader a sense of wonder at the splendid creations of the world in 1931.
VOYA - Sarah Squires
Orphaned twelve-year-old Hugo Cabret lives in a train station in Paris in 1931, managing to survive by stealing food and keeping his uncle's disappearance a secret. Hugo runs the clocks in the city for his uncle and pilfers small toy parts in the hopes of fixing an automaton that he received from his father. Eventually his plan of surviving on his own fails, and he befriends a young girl and her grandfather, who owns a toyshop in the train station. The grandfather recognizes Hugo's talent for repairing machinery and employs him at the toy store. The girl's grandfather turns out to be the famous filmmaker Georges Melies, who adopts Hugo and fosters his love for magic. Selznick's artwork in this "novel in words and pictures" is stunning. Beautiful, full-page black-and-white illustrations are interspersed throughout the book and advance the story, often in critical areas of the plot. Readers will also love the still film images that are used when the characters discuss Melies's films. The novel is loosely based on the actual French filmmaker, and the credits section at the end gives more information about Melies, films from the early movie era, and automatons. Part mystery, part feel-good drama, and part picture book for older readers, this novel will fly off the shelf simply because of its visual appeal.
From Selznick's ever-generative mind comes a uniquely inventive story told in text, sequential art and period photographs and film. Orphaned Hugo survives secretly in a Parisian train station (circa 1930). Obsessed with reconstructing a broken automaton, Hugo is convinced that it will write a message from his father that will save his life. Caught stealing small mechanical repair parts from the station's toy shop, Hugo's life intersects with the elderly shop owner and his goddaughter, Isabelle. The children are drawn together in solving the linked mysteries of the automaton and the identity of the artist, illusionist and pioneer filmmaker, Georges Melies, long believed dead. Discovering that Isabelle's godfather is Melies, the two resurrect his films, his reputation and assure Hugo's future. Opening with cinematic immediacy, a series of drawings immerses readers in Hugo's mysterious world. Exquisitely chosen art sequences are sometimes stopped moments, sometimes moments of intense action and emotion. The book, an homage to early filmmakers as dreammakers, is elegantly designed to resemble the flickering experience of silent film melodramas. Fade to black and cue the applause! (notes, film credits) (Fiction. 9-12)
For Ages: 8 - 12 years old
For Grades: 3 - 7
Number Of Pages: 534
Published: March 2007
Dimensions (cm): 21.5 x 13.5 x 4.6
Weight (kg): 1.293