Publishers Weekly (01/01/2007):
Here is a true masterpiecean 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. "(Mar.)" Copyright 2007 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.
Selznick's "novel in words and pictures," an intriguing mystery set in 1930s Paris about an orphan, a salvaged clockwork invention, and a celebrated filmmaker, resuscitates an anemic genre\emdash the illustrated novel\emdash and takes it to a whole new level. The result is somewhat similar to a graphic novel, but experiencing its mix of silvery pencil drawings and narrative interludes is ultimately more akin to watching a silent film. Indeed, movies and the wonder they inspire, "like seeing dreams in the middle of the day," are central to the story, and Selznick expresses an obvious passion for cinema in ways both visual (successive pictures, set against black frames as if projected on a darkened screen, mimic slow zooms and dramatic cuts) and thematic (the convoluted plot involves director Georges M\'e9li\'e8s, particularly his fanciful 1902 masterpiece," A Trip to the Moon" .) This hybrid creation, which also includes movie stills and archival photographs, is surprising and often lovely, but the orphan's story is overshadowed by the book's artistic and historical concerns (the heady extent of which are revealed in concluding notes about Selznick's inspirations, from the Lumi\'e8re brothers to Fran\'e7ois Truffaut). Nonetheless, bookmaking this ambitious demands and deserves attention\emdash which it will surely receive from children attracted by a novel in which a complex narrative is equally advanced by things both read and seen. (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2007, American Library Association.)
School Library Journal (03/01/2007):
Gr 49With characteristic intelligence, exquisite images, and a breathtaking design, Selznick shatters conventions related to the art of bookmaking in this magical mystery set in 1930s Paris. He employs wordless sequential pictures and distinct pages of text to let the cinematic story unfold, and the artwork, rendered in pencil and bordered in black, contains elements of a flip book, a graphic novel, and film. It opens with a small square depicting a full moon centered on a black spread. As readers flip the pages, the image grows and the moon recedes. A boy on the run slips through a grate to take refuge inside the walls of a train stationhome for this orphaned, apprentice clock keeper. As Hugo seeks to accomplish his mission, his life intersects with a cantankerous toyshop owner and a feisty girl who won't be ignored. Each character possesses secrets and something of great value to the other. With deft foreshadowing, sensitively wrought characters, and heart-pounding suspense, the author engineers the elements of his complex plot: speeding trains, clocks, footsteps, dreams, and moviesespecially those by Georges Mé liè s, the French pioneer of science-fiction cinema. Movie stills are cleverly interspersed. Selznick's art ranges from evocative, shadowy spreads of Parisian streets to penetrating character close-ups. Leaving much to ponder about loss, time, family, and the creative impulse, the book closes with a waning moon, a diminishing square, and informative credits. This is a masterful narrative that readers can literally manipulate."Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library" Copyright 2007 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Horn Book Magazine (03/01/2007):
Here's a dilemma for the Newbery committee...and the Caldecott: what do you do with an illustrated novel in which neither text nor pictures can tell the story alone? Not to mention the drama to be found in the page turns themselves. A brief introduction sets the time (1931) and place (Paris) and invites readers to imagine they're at the movies. And with a turn of the page, they are, as, over a sequence of twenty-one double-page wordless spreads, a story begins. A picture of the moon gives way to an aerial shot of Paris; day breaks as the "camera" moves into a shot of a train station, where a boy makes his way to a secret passage from which, through a peephole, he watches an old man sitting at a stall selling toys. Finally, the text begins: "From his perch behind the clock, Hugo could see everything." The story that follows in breathtaking counterpoint is a lively one, involving the dogged Hugo, his tough little ally Isabelle, an automaton that can draw pictures, and a stage magician turned filmmaker, the real-life Georges Mlis, most famously the director of A Trip to the Moon (1902). There is a bounty of mystery and incident here, along with several excellent chase scenes expertly rendered in the atmospheric, dramatically crosshatched black-and-white (naturally) pencil drawings that make up at least a third of the book. (According to the final chapter, and putting a metafictional spin on things, there are 158 pictures and 26,159 words in the book.) The interplay between the illustrations (including several stills from Mlis's frequently surreal films and others from the era) and text is complete genius, especially in the way Selznick moves from one to the other, depending on whether words or images are the better choice for the moment. And as in silent films, it's always just one or the other, wordless double-spread pictures or unillustrated text, both framed in the enticing black of the silent screen. While the bookmaking is spectacular, and the binding secure but generous enough to allow the pictures to flow easily across the gutter, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is foremost good storytelling, with a sincerity and verbal ease reminiscent of Andrew Clements (a frequent Selznick collaborator) and themes of secrets, dreams, and invention that play lightly but resonantly throughout. At one point, Hugo watches in awe as Isabelle blithely picks the lock on a door. "How did you learn to do that?" he asks. "Books," she answers. Exactly so.(Copyright 2007 by The Horn Book, Incorporated, Boston. All rights reserved.)
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.
Includes bibliographical references.;When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized.;New York Times Best Illustrated Book, 2007;Caldecott Medal, 2008;National Book Award finalist.
Awards and Praise for The Invention of Hugo Cabret
2008 Caldecott Medal winner
National Book Award Finalist
#1 New York Times Bestseller
New York Times Best Illustrated Book
Los Angeles Times Favorite Children's Book of the Year
TIME Magazine's 100 Best Children's and Young Adult Books of All Time
"Evokes wonder . . . like a silent film on paper." --
The New York Times
"A fast-paced treat." --
The Wall Street Journal
Los Angeles Times Book Review
"If your kid loves the J.K. Rowling series, then [they are] bound to enjoyThe Invention of Hugo Cabret. . ."--
* "A true masterpiece."--
Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Fade to black and cue the applause!"--
Kirkus, starred review
* "Complete genius."--
Horn Book, starred review
* "Breathtaking . . . shatters conventions."--
School Library Journal, starred review
* "An original and creative integration of art and text."--
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
"Visually stunning . . . raises the bar." --
San Antonio Express-News
Brian Selznick is the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of the New York Times bestsellers
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, adapted into Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning
Wonderstruck, adapted into Todd Haynes's eponymous movie, and
The Marvels. Among the celebrated picture books Selznick has illustrated are the Caldecott Honor Book
The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, and the Sibert Honor Book
When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan. His books appear in over 35 languages. He has also worked as a bookseller, a puppeteer, and a screenwriter. He divides his time between Brooklyn, New York and San Diego, California.
2008 Caldecott Medal winner
The groundbreaking debut novel from bookmaking pioneer, Brian Selznick!
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--like the gears of the clocks he keeps--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.
With 284 pages of original drawings and combining elements of picture book, graphic novel, and film, Brian Selznick breaks open the novel form to create an entirely new reading experience. Here is a stunning cinematic tour de force from a boldly innovative storyteller and artist.
Publishers Weekly 01/01/2007 pg. 50 (EAN 9780439813785, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
Booklist 01/01/2007 pg. 97 (EAN 9780439813785, Hardcover)
Kirkus Review - Children 01/15/2007 pg. 81 (EAN 9780439813785, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
Voice of Youth Advocates 02/01/2007 pg. 532 (EAN 9780439813785, Hardcover)
Kirkus Best Books 01/15/2007 pg. 18 (EAN 9780439813785, Hardcover)
School Library Journal 03/01/2007 pg. 218 (EAN 9780439813785, H