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The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Cover of The Invention of Hugo Cabret
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
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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,...
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,...
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  • 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.

 

Awards-

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 1, 2007
    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: 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 Méliès) 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.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 12, 2007
    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.

  • AudioFile Magazine Inside a Paris train station in 1932, a small boy named Hugo Cabret secretly keeps all the clocks running. Like the workings of a clock, the parts of this intriguing story interlock, and the audio program is a marvel in itself. Jeff Woodman narrates Hugo's story, which introduces listeners to an automaton, a mechanical figure that writes and draws, and the early science fiction films of Georges Méliès. Woodman clearly captures Hugo and his friends as they try to discover the secrets of an old man. Sound sequences are placed within the narrative where in the print edition of the book a series of illustrations occurs. A bonus DVD accompanies the set, and it's a dynamic "extra." The disc contains not just a filmed interview with Selznick, in which he talks about his writing and illustration process, but also images of the actual illustrations. This wholly original integration of audio narration, soundscapes, illustration, and author discussion is an experience listeners of all ages should not miss. Discovering how the intricate puzzle of elements fits together like clockwork will provide repeated listenings to figure out. R.F.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
  • School Library Journal

    July 1, 2007
    Gr 3-6-Brian Selznick's atmospheric story (Scholastic, 2007) is set in Paris in 1931. Hugo Cabret is an orphan; his father, a clockmaker, has recently died in a fire and the boy lives with his alcoholic Uncle Claude, working as his apprentice clock keeper in a bustling train station. When Hugo's uncle fails to return after a three-day absence, the boy decides it's his chance to escape the man's harsh treatment. But Hugo has nowhere to go and, after wandering the city, returns to his uncle's rooms determined to fix a mechanical figurean automatonthat his father was restoring when he died. Hugo is convinced it will "save his life"the figure holds a pen, and the boy believes that if he can get it working again, it will deliver a message from his father. This is just the bare outline of this multilayered story, inspired by and with references to early (French) cinema and filmmaker George Mé liè s, magic and magicians, and mechanical objects. Jeff Woodman's reading of the descriptive passages effectively sets the story's suspenseful tone. The book's many pages of pictorial narrative translate in the audio version into sound sequences that successfully employ the techniques of old radio plays (train whistles, footsteps reverberating through station passages, etc.). The accompanying DVD, hosted by Selznick and packed with information and images from the book, will enrich the listening experience."Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal "

    Copyright 2007 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Scholastic Audio
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Brian Selznick
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