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The Invention of Hugo Cabret Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 533 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (January 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439813786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439813785
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 3.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (591 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Book Description:
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 with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the 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.


Amazon.com Exclusive

A Letter from Brian Selznick

Dear readers,

When I was a kid, two of my favorite books were by an amazing man named Remy Charlip. Fortunately and Thirteen fascinated me in part because, in both books, the very act of turning the pages plays a pivotal role in telling the story. Each turn reveals something new in a way that builds on the image on the previous page. Now that I’m an illustrator myself, I’ve often thought about this dramatic storytelling device and all of its creative possibilities.

My new book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is a 550 page novel in words and pictures. But unlike most novels, the images in my new book don't just illustrate the story; they help tell it. I've used the lessons I learned from Remy Charlip and other masters of the picture book to create something that is not a exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things.

I began thinking about this book ten years ago after seeing some of the magical films of Georges Méliès, the father of science-fiction movies. But it wasn’t until I read a book called Edison's Eve: The Quest for Mechanical Life by Gaby Woods that my story began to come into focus. I discovered that Méliès had a collection of mechanical, wind-up figures (called automata) that were donated to a museum, but which were later destroyed and thrown away. Instantly, I imagined a boy discovering these broken, rusty machines in the garbage, stealing one and attempting to fix it. At that moment, Hugo Cabret was born.

A few years ago, I had the honor of meeting Remy Charlip, and I'm proud to say that we've become friends. Last December he was asking me what I was working on, and as I was describing this book to him, I realized that Remy looks exactly like Georges Méliès. I excitedly asked him to pose as the character in my book, and fortunately, he said yes. So every time you see Méliès in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the person you are really looking at is my dear friend Remy Charlip, who continues to inspire everyone who has the great pleasure of knowing him or seeing his work.

Paris in the 1930's, a thief, a broken machine, a strange girl, a mean old man, and the secrets that tie them all together... Welcome to The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Yours,

Brian Selznick




Amazon.com Exclusive

Brian Selznick on a "Deleted Scene" from The Invention of Hugo Cabret

This is a finished drawing that I had to cut from The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was still rewriting the book when I had to begin the final art. There was originally a scene in the story where this character, Etienne, is working in a camera shop. On one of my research trips to Paris I spent an entire day visiting old camera shops and photographing cameras from the 1930's and earlier, as well as the facades of the shops themselves. I researched original French camera posters and made sure that the counter and the shelves were accurate to the time period. I did all the drawings in the book at 1/4 scale, so they were very small and I often had to use a magnifying glass to help me see what I was drawing. After I finished this drawing I continued to rewrite, and for various reasons I realized that I needed to move this scene from the camera shop to the French Film Academy, which meant that I had to cut this picture. I tried really hard to find ANOTHER moment when I could have Etienne in a camera shop, but, as painful as it was, I knew the picture had to go. I'm glad to see it up on the Amazon website because otherwise no one would have ever seen all those tiny cameras I researched and drew so carefully!

--Brian Selznick


More from Brian Selznick


The Houdini Box


Walt Whitman: Words for America


The Boy of a Thousand Faces

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Here is a true masterpiece—an artful blending of narrative, illustration and cinematic technique, for a story as tantalizing as it is touching.Twelve-year-old orphan Hugo lives in the walls of a Paris train station at the turn of the 20th century, where he tends to the clocks and filches what he needs to survive. Hugo's recently deceased father, a clockmaker, worked in a museum where he discovered an automaton: a human-like figure seated at a desk, pen in hand, as if ready to deliver a message. After his father showed Hugo the robot, the boy became just as obsessed with getting the automaton to function as his father had been, and the man gave his son one of the notebooks he used to record the automaton's inner workings. The plot grows as intricate as the robot's gears and mechanisms [...] To Selznick's credit, the coincidences all feel carefully orchestrated; epiphany after epiphany occurs before the book comes to its sumptuous, glorious end. Selznick hints at the toymaker's hidden identity [...] through impressive use of meticulous charcoal drawings that grow or shrink against black backdrops, in pages-long sequences. They display the same item in increasingly tight focus or pan across scenes the way a camera might. The plot ultimately has much to do with the history of the movies, and Selznick's genius lies in his expert use of such a visual style to spotlight the role of this highly visual media. A standout achievement. Ages 9-12. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Brian Selznick is the illustrator of "Frindle" by Andrew Clements, "Riding Freedom" and "Amelia and Eleanor Go For A Ride," both by Pam Munoz Ryan; as well as his own book "The Houdini Box," winner of the 1993 Texas Bluebonnet Award. Mr. Selznick lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Bought this book for my 7 year old son who loves to read.
Sara J. Corrice
Selznick's illustrations and pictures carry parts of the story without the use of any words at all.
Viola Chen
The story is very good and the illustrations are wonderful.
Debbie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

419 of 445 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
No one can really summarize a book any better than the author proper. So what is, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" anyway? "... this is not exactly a novel, and it's not quite a picture book, and it's not really a graphic novel, or a flip book, or a movie, but a combination of all these things." In short, what you have is a book that can't really be lumped into a single genre. With the rising popularity of the graphic novel, authors have been looking at how to let the visual elements of a given story complement the text. Some will weave graphic novel elements in and out, panels on one page, text on another. Others prefer a kind of "Captain Underpants" melding with cartoonish pictures. And while all these books are fun reads, none of them have ever really had the (for lack of a better word) gravitas you'd find in a classic text-only children's novel. Until now, that is. "Hugo Cabret" is a risk. A 500+ page book that's told just equally by pictures as it is by text. It is also like nothing you've ever seen before. No other children's book has even come close.

Without Hugo Cabret, none of the clocks in the magnificent Paris train station he lives in would work. Though he's only a kid, Hugo tends to the clocks every day. But there's something even more important in the boy's life than gigantic mechanics. Hugo owns a complex automaton, once his father's, that was damaged in a fire and it is his life's goal to make the little machine work again. To do so, he's been stealing small toys from an old shopkeeper in the station. One day the man catches Hugo in the act, and suddenly the two are thrown together. Coincidences, puzzles, lost keys, and a mystery from the past combine in this complex tale of old and new.
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129 of 135 people found the following review helpful By Andi Miller on March 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick, is a children's novel weighing in at an intimidating 533 pages, but the reader brave enough to dive headlong into its pages will find a multi-layered text that consists of not only a delightfully written tale, but rich illustrations that take over the telling of the story at regular intervals. Selznick's creation navigates the grey area between picture book and graphic novel in what certainly constitutes a visual and narrative achievement and a truly original book.

Hugo is a 12-year-old boy strapped with responsibility beyond that which a child should have to shoulder. After his uncle--a hopeless drunk in charge of tending the station's clocks--disappears, Hugo takes it upon himself to maintain the clocks in hopes that his uncle won't be missed and he can keep his dwelling and enjoy the freedom of coming and going, living within the walls, and repairing an artifact cherished by both Hugo and his late father. The artifact at the center of the tale is a forgotten automaton discovered among the dust and rot of a museum storage room. It is a mechanical man, pen in hand, poised to deliver a message; Hugo feels certain that if he can repair the automaton by using his late father's notes, the mechanical man will write a message from beyond the grave. Hugo resorts to stealing toys from the toy booth in the train station, and soon finds himself working off his debt to the shopkeeper, a man with secrets of his own. What follows involves a stolen notebook, an oddly familiar drawing, unlikely friends, the magic of silent film, and a giant in cinema, Georges Melies (the most recognizable of his films being A Trip to the Moon or Le Voyage dans la Lune, 1902).
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93 of 99 people found the following review helpful By John D. Bartone on February 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET is art of a high order. To start with, this book is a beautiful object. The right dust jacket can definitely sell a book. The graphite rendering of Hugo in extreme close-up gracing the book's spine and wrapping around the back cover is what drew me to the bookshelf in the first place. And upon discovering the book's unusual format, I was hooked. The artwork here does not illustrate the text. Rather it advances the plot. It's a little like watching a silent movie and reading title cards...completely appropriate in a story dealing with the origins of cinema.

The story lives up to the promise of the packaging. It is immediately engaging and ultimately touching. Hugo is the orphaned son of a clock-maker, living in the walls behind a Parisian train station, maintaining the station's clocks, stealing bread and milk to survive, stealing nuts, bolts, and gears to complete a project his father was working on when he died. His secret existence is threatened as his life becomes entwined with a bitter, old man and a bookish young girl. It's part graphic novel, part mystery, part coming-of-age. There are echoes of Pinocchio but with a twist as here it is a lonely boy building an automaton father figure.

This is a timeless book about, among other things, time. This is a book for the ages, and a book for all ages. The story, the artwork, the writing style, the overall design, all first rate parts of a greater whole, like the precisely crafted mechanism of a fine Swiss clock.
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