The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Reviewed by Amy Colegrove, BCPL information specialist
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, along with his most precious secret, is 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.
What an amazing book this is! I instantly fell in love with Hugo and his story. Hugo is a boy who was doing all that he could to make the best of an unpleasant situation. After his uncle, a hopeless drunk, disappears, it is up to Hugo to keep the clocks running in the train station. By doing this, he hopes he will be able to stay, unnoticed, in his little room at the station. He does his best to collect lost change each day so that he can pay for what he needs, but sometimes stealing from others is the only way to survive. Hugo spends his free time trying to repair a forgotten automaton that was discovered among other items in the local museum storage room. He uses his father’s notes and his own mechanical know-how to finish the repairs. He makes some new friends along the way and wins the heart of a local toy maker.
I have seen this book, written by Brian Selznick, many times on the shelves at book stores and at BCPL, but I always seem to pass over it. I don’t know why I waited so long! This book is set for the ages of 8-12 with a grade level of 3-7 but I can promise you that a reader of any age will be taken on a wonderful adventure! This book is full of wonderful artwork that was all done by the author. The artwork is a strategic part of the storytelling and the book would not be the same without it.
Other books by Selznick include “The Houdini Box”, “The Robot King”, “A Boy of a Thousand Faces”, and “Wonderstruck”. I can promise you that this is not the last book that I will be reading by this author! Stop by any branch of Boyd County Public Library or reserve your copy today by clicking here. I promise you won’t be sorry!