Friday, December 30, 2011

Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Title: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Author: Brian Selznick
Genre: Children Mystery
Release Date: January 30th, 2007
This edition: March 1st, 2007
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 533
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read on December 25th, 2011
My rating: 5 stars: I love it! It's amazing!Favorite
Summary: Orphan Hugo Cabret lives in a wall. His secret home is etched out in the crevices of a busy Paris train station. Part-time clock keeper, part-time thief, he leads a life of quiet routine until he gets involved with an eccentric, bookish young girl and an angry old man who runs a toy booth in the station. The Invention of Hugo Cabret unfolds its cryptic, magical story in a format that blends elements of picture book, novel, graphic novel, and film. Caldecott Honor-winning author-illustrator Brian Selznick has fashioned an intricate puzzle story that binds the reader like a mesmerist's spell.


I can't believe I only got to read this awesomeness almost 5 years after its publication. Yes, it is AWESOME. One of the best for me this year!

This mind-blowing book is about a boy named Hugo Cabret. Parentless, he lived with his uncle inside a train station in France for some time, helping him with his job by fixing the clocks in the station. One day his uncle disappeared, but Hugo keeps doing his job anyway. 

In his room, Hugo has a project going on. Hugo's father, while still alive, worked in a museum, and found a broken automaton there, apparently unwanted. He began fixing it, and Hugo was also excited. But unfortunately, one day the fire broke out in the museum and almost everything was destroyed. Hugo lost his father. Somehow the automaton survived the fire. Hugo took it home and began fixing it following his father's drawings and notes in one of his many notebooks given to Hugo. 

Our little Hugo is also a thief. He steals food because he's starving. He steals toys from the toy shop because he needs parts for the automaton. One day he's caught, and that's how he met Papa George, the owner of the shop, and Isabelle, his goddaughter, whom Hugo befriends. Together with some help from Isabelle, Hugo digs deep into the past of Papa George, as revealed by the automaton, and help the man get his life back. 

What do I love about this book? Hmmm.. let's see. The story. Any stories with parent-less protagonists are usually good for me. I cried a little bit when Hugo thinks about his dad (don't I always?). I love how everything is perfectly tied together. When something is mentioned, it isn't just mentioned just for the sake of being mentioned, it actually has a meaning and it also plays a part in revealing the past! For example, Papa George doesn't like the sound of heels clicking, and doesn't allow Isabelle to go see any movies, because he used to make films in the past and the life he once had is haunting him. I also love how strong the characters come out to be. The book is very cleverly written indeed!

However, the illustration is even better than the writing. It's amazing how one picture can say so much, and how much it can make you feel its power just by you looking at it. The artwork is gorgeously drawn. You can see every line and minor detail that together make perfection. So very beautiful. Breathtaking. At first I wasn't sure, but after I've finished it, I felt like I had to own a copy. I know I'll have to look at those illustrations again and again. 

In short: big fat five stars. You can't get enough. Must-read. It's just so incredibly awesome. 


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This review is also posted on Goodreads.

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