The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick

I bought this book for my 12 year old son for Christmas. He started reading it and then, as boys of his age often are – got distracted and left it on the table in the livingroom – where I picked it up and read it from start to finish.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is  a straightforward tale, elevated because of its narrative style. Selznick tells the story in words and full page illustrations – 284 pages of them.

Twelve-year-old Hugo lives in the attic of the Paris train station. He lives there because his father has died and an elderly uncle has claimed him. The uncle is responsible for keeping all the clocks in the station running perfectly and he teaches Hugo to do the same. But when the uncle disappears, Hugo is left to fend for himself.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a book that perfectly marries text and images. Selznick stops his written narration, often several pages at a time, and lets his black and white drawings take over. The pictures tell the story, not just supplement the words. It’s brilliant really.

The story revolves around an automaton – a self-operating  machine with human actions- a mysterious man who operates a toy store in the train station, a young girl and a famous French film director.  The joy of how these things connect is for the reader to discover. It’s quite magical.

You can read more about the book here.


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