Jan 14, 2013

Review | The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Publication: 05.01.2007 by Scholastic
Format: Audio
Rating: ★★★★★
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

In a sentence: This is a gorgeously illustrated, magical book that I adored and definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys middle grade books.

Audio book: I made the mistake of picking up an audio book version of this book. Why was it a mistake? Because I later found out that about half of this book is illustrated and I was missing out. But, I have to admit, I don't regret listening to the audio. Since it is such a unique book to read out loud, it is done different than any other book I've listened to. Instead of the narrator just reading the story, there were great sound effects added in. I could hear the crowds of the train station, hear his footsteps as he climbed through the walls were he lived, and even listen to him fix the toys that were broken. It was an amazing story that I immersed myself in and couldn't stop listening to.

Hardcover: I accidentally found this book on the shelves of Book Soup, an independent book store in Hollywood, CA. When I pulled it down from the shelf, I was shocked at the size of it. It's HUGE! I knew I had to look through it. As soon as I opened the first page though, I knew I wasn't going to be able to just skim through it and be satisfied. Instead, I made myself comfortable in the corner of the store and dived in. The pictures in this book are amazing, drawn in pencil, all black and white. I was able to skip through the words, but with the illustrations alone, I was able to hear the story again in my head. For every page of writing, there were several pages of drawings, each providing a vivid illustration of what was happening to Hugo along the way. I didn't put the book down until I had looked at every single picture and afterwards, I felt as if I had just read the book again.

Final thoughts: I am really glad I randomly picked up The Invention of Hugo Cabret from the library, because it is a wonderful read that I am glad I didn't miss out and recommend to others, if only to look at.


  1. Wow...yeah, I am sure this wouldn't really work as an audio book. While the story is interesting and cute, it really is the melding of the graphics with the literary that make this book amazing. I absolutely loved it and recommended it to so many of my friends after reading it. The movie was entertaining and had some good visual elements, but the book itself was totally fabulous.

  2. I haven't read this one but I began reading Wonderstruck a while back, It was also beautifully illustrated and I really enjoyed it, I have to continue reading it soon. Glad you enjoyed it, the movie was great and I'm sure the book was 10 times better :)

  3. Glad to see you enjoy this one. I think Brian Selznick is simply brilliant. His books really don't work as audio though :) so I'm glad you got to look at the illustrations too.