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The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures
Contributor(s): Selznick, Brian
ISBN: 0439813786     ISBN-13: 9780439813785
Publisher: Scholastic Pr
    OUR PRICE: $22.49  
Product Type: Hardcover - Other Formats
Published: March 2007
Qty:
Annotation: 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. Illustrations.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Robots; Fiction.
Orphans; Fiction.
Railroad stations; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Mysteries & Detective Stories
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Orphans & Foster Homes
- Juvenile Fiction | Historical | Europe
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2006007119
Lexile Measure: 820
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Series: Caldecott Medal Book
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.75" W x 2.00" (2.60 lbs) 544 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 113692
Reading Level: 5.1   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 4.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q40340
Reading Level: 5.2   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 7.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>In addition to The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick is the illustrator of the Caldecott Honor winner, The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, and The New York Times Best Illustrated Walt Whitman: Words for America, both by Barbara Kerley, as well as the Sibert Honor Winner When Marian Sang, by Pam Muńoz Ryan, and numerous other celebrated picture books and novels. Brian has also worked as a set designer and a puppeteer. When he isn’t traveling to promote his work all over the world, he lives in San Diego, California, and Brooklyn, New York.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Fall)
Over a sequence of twenty-one double-page wordless, illustrated spreads, a story begins. The tale that follows is a lively one, involving the dogged Hugo, his ally Isabelle, an automaton that can draw pictures, and a stage magician turned filmmaker. The interplay between the illustrations and text is complete genius, and themes of secrets, dreams, and invention play lightly but resonantly throughout. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #2)
Here's a dilemma for the Newbery committee...and the Caldecott: what do you do with an illustrated novel in which neither text nor pictures can tell the story alone? Not to mention the drama to be found in the page turns themselves. A brief introduction sets the time (1931) and place (Paris) and invites readers to imagine they're at the movies. And with a turn of the page, they are, as, over a sequence of twenty-one double-page wordless spreads, a story begins. A picture of the moon gives way to an aerial shot of Paris; day breaks as the "camera" moves into a shot of a train station, where a boy makes his way to a secret passage from which, through a peephole, he watches an old man sitting at a stall selling toys. Finally, the text begins: "From his perch behind the clock, Hugo could see everything." The story that follows in breathtaking counterpoint is a lively one, involving the dogged Hugo, his tough little ally Isabelle, an automaton that can draw pictures, and a stage magician turned filmmaker, the real-life Georges MŽlis, most famously the director of A Trip to the Moon (1902). There is a bounty of mystery and incident here, along with several excellent chase scenes expertly rendered in the atmospheric, dramatically crosshatched black-and-white (naturally) pencil drawings that make up at least a third of the book. (According to the final chapter, and putting a metafictional spin on things, there are 158 pictures and 26,159 words in the book.) The interplay between the illustrations (including several stills from MŽlis's frequently surreal films and others from the era) and text is complete genius, especially in the way Selznick moves from one to the other, depending on whether words or images are the better choice for the moment. And as in silent films, it's always just one or the other, wordless double-spread pictures or unillustrated text, both framed in the enticing black of the silent screen. While the bookmaking is spectacular, and the binding secure but generous enough to allow the pictures to flow easily across the gutter, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is foremost good storytelling, with a sincerity and verbal ease reminiscent of Andrew Clements (a frequent Selznick collaborator) and themes of secrets, dreams, and invention that play lightly but resonantly throughout. At one point, Hugo watches in awe as Isabelle blithely picks the lock on a door. "How did you learn to do that?" he asks. "Books," she answers. Exactly so. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2007 January #1)

Here is a true masterpieceâ€"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: Hugo's father dies in a fire at the museum; Hugo winds up living in the train station, which brings him together with a mysterious toymaker who runs a booth there, and the boy reclaims the automaton, to which the toymaker also has a connection.

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 (inspired by an actual historical figure in the film industry, Georges Mlis) 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.)

[Page 50]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2007 March)

Gr 4–9— With characteristic intelligence, exquisite images, and a breathtaking design, Selznick shatters conventions related to the art of bookmaking in this magical mystery set in 1930s Paris. He employs wordless sequential pictures and distinct pages of text to let the cinematic story unfold, and the artwork, rendered in pencil and bordered in black, contains elements of a flip book, a graphic novel, and film. It opens with a small square depicting a full moon centered on a black spread. As readers flip the pages, the image grows and the moon recedes. A boy on the run slips through a grate to take refuge inside the walls of a train station—home for this orphaned, apprentice clock keeper. As Hugo seeks to accomplish his mission, his life intersects with a cantankerous toyshop owner and a feisty girl who won't be ignored. Each character possesses secrets and something of great value to the other. With deft foreshadowing, sensitively wrought characters, and heart-pounding suspense, the author engineers the elements of his complex plot: speeding trains, clocks, footsteps, dreams, and movies—especially those by Georges Mlis, the French pioneer of science-fiction cinema. Movie stills are cleverly interspersed. Selznick's art ranges from evocative, shadowy spreads of Parisian streets to penetrating character close-ups. Leaving much to ponder about loss, time, family, and the creative impulse, the book closes with a waning moon, a diminishing square, and informative credits. This is a masterful narrative that readers can literally manipulate.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

[Page 218]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.