Book Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick


I read this book for my Literature & Media for Children class. I am using it for the Treasure Hunt (a boy’s name), Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge, 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Book Club Friday, and Literary Friday.

Summary from Goodreads: With 284 pictures between the book’s 533 pages, the book depends equally on its pictures as it does on the actual words. Selznick himself has described the book as “not 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.” The Caldecott Medal is for picture books, in 2008 this was first novel to receive. The primary inspiration is the true story of turn-of-the-century French pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès, his surviving films, and his collection of mechanical, wind-up figures called automata. Selznick decided to add automata to the storyline after reading Edison’s Eve by Gaby Wood, which tells the story of Edison’s attempt to create a talking wind-up doll. Méliès actually had a set of automata, which were either sold or lost. At the end of his life Méliès was broke, even as his films were screening widely in the United States. He did work in a toy booth in a Paris railway station, hence the setting. Selznick drew Méliès’s real door in the book.

My review for my class: The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a magical tale of an orphan boy who maintains the clocks in a Paris train station while working on putting back together a robot his father had been working on before his death. Each chapter alternates between long sections of text and beautiful black and white illustrations. This graphic novel also presents some stills from the films of Georges Méliès, a character in Hugo who was also a real filmmaker and toy salesman. Brian Selznick weaves historical facts with a story that is sure to delight both children and adults and inspire readers to follow their dreams.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars! Yet another graphic novel I loved. So much so that I checked out Selznick’s Wonderstruck at the library right after! Hugo won the Caldecott in 2008, which was apparently controversial because the children’s book illustrations medal is usually awarded to picture books, not thick novels!




  1. Hi Jen! Thank you for dropping by my blog 🙂 I’m always happy to see and meet new people in the blogosphere. This sounds like a great book that I can even extend to my young niece. Since it’s graphic, I’m sure she will appreciate it. I will look for this book and add it in my nook 🙂

    Hope we could get to know each other better albeit online. Have a great day!

  2. Pingback: Books Read in 2013 | I Like Big Books

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