Winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal
Finalist for the 2007 National Book Awards in the Young People's Literature category
While reading this book, I thought: Wow...WOW. With each page, this book just got better and better. When I got to the end, I literally cried out, "Nooo!" It was more than 500 pages, but I didn't want the book to end.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a breakthrough in the novel form: the story is alternately told through words and pictures. Neither the text nor the images can tell the story alone.
It is set in 1931, and it is the stirring story of twelve-year-old Hugo Cabret - an orphan, Timekeeper of a Paris train station, and thief. Hugo solves a mystery involving an automaton with a hidden message and an old toyseller. This story is also about our hopes and dreams and passions. It's about clocks and other machinery, art, genius, and the magic of movies. It's about how all machines are made for some reason; and a broken machine always makes us a little sad because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do. It's the same with people. If you lose your purpose, you are broken. The story is also about how people, like Prometheus in Greek mythology, can be bound, but can break their chains and be free.
It's a beautiful story in beautiful packaging. Book design was given more attention than usual. The book design is simple, yet lovely enough to make the book itself, as an object, a work of art. I found the book compelling, not just because of the mystery I got more and more curious about, but also because I was always thirsty for the pictures. I marveled at the 284 pages of original drawings from Brian Selznick. Actually, I wanted even more pages of drawings!
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a new favorite of mine. I can imagine myself reading it over and over again. And if I had the money, I would buy a copy for everyone I know.
"I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too."
-quote from The Invention of Hugo Cabret