Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Hugo is a scruffy french orphan caught in an impossible situation. His father was killed in a museum fire and left Hugo with an uncle who lives in the bowels of the train station and must wind and maintain all the station's clocks. He is mean and cheap and forces Hugo to steal to be able to eat. And then, he disappears.

Hugo secretly keeps the clocks running as he works on a project to amazing to really contemplate.

Before his father died he had been a clockmaker and had discovered an automaton - a man machine poised to write a secret message. The automaton was in the museum attic where he worked and that's why he was in the museum when it burned. Hugo rescued the automatan from the rubble of the museum and set out to rebuild the damaged parts. To do this - he had to steal toys from the toy maker stand at the train station. That is where he meets an old grumpy man and his god daughter.

This sets in motion a series of events that bring all the details of the mysterious machine, the old man and a history of making dreams together.

What makes this book truly spectacular is the drawings that intersperse the text. The book becomes a slow moving movie - starting with a broad shot and slowly tightening down to the main focus. There are also photographs of actual events which add a sort of newsreel feel to parts of the book. This is a big fat book that took only an hour or two to read - but it's a book that a second reading would be beneficial - it feels like there might be hidden clues and magic secrets woven into the book just waiting to be discovered.

This is an award winning book for all ages!

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