The Invention of Hugo Cabret

By Brian Selznick

From Goodreads: 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.

Why it’s my type/Standout Script: “You will eventually spot a boy amid the crowd, and he will start to move through the train station. Follow him, because this is Hugo Cabret. His head is full of secrets, and he’s waiting for his story to begin.”

So ends the first page of this magical story, which is filled to the brim with so many of my favorite bookish things–killer illustrations, an intricate mystery, and so, so much heart. I don’t want to give too much away of the script, because it seems to me that all of the best parts are best because of their places among the others–their places within the story as a whole. But trust me when I write that there are many that are worth reading through to find.

The book itself is bulky enough to appear more than a little intimidating at first, but moves at a much quicker pace than anticipated as it’s mostly packed with original black and white drawings so detailed and seemingly fresh, you’re sure some pencil must have rubbed off on you after every flipped through page. If you love art, or even if you’re just a casual admirer, this book is worth picking up just for that–to gape at and sniff–story be damned. Fortunately, there’s more: intrigue, an automaton, dreams of the most bizarre and beautiful kind, and an awesome chase scene! I’m already anticipating buying this for my youngest brother for Christmas, and he’s not even in the ‘children’s’ market. I think the cinematic nature of the book, the frequency of pictures especially, will be more inviting to him than a traditional novel.

Recommendation: Hugo has stolen a little piece of my heart (and even a couple tears) with his story, and I’d be willing to bet he’s clever enough to do the same to you. This one’s a keeper.

Published: 2007 by Scholastic.

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