The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick I started coveting this book when I first saw it at Borders in 2007. I thought it was gorgeous, but I just wasn’t willing to pay full price for a book that I thought of as a “picture book for the sophisticated”. And yes, I know it’s a middle grade book, but the artwork is gorgeous. Anyway, I knew it held promise but it never went on sale and then I just sorta forgot about it until the movie came out. But, by then I was knee deep in other books to really make an effort to check it out. Then the other day I discovered the “middle grade” section of the library, saw this bad boy and snatched it up. Whoohoo!

Man, this book is unique, creative, genius and all kinds of awesome. Selznick creatively combines multiple forms of storytelling to create this gem. It’s a combination of text, pictures, flip book and yes, even silent film all in one package. The pages are bordered in black making it reminiscent of an old black and white movie. A lot of the action is told through the pictures, so you can flip through them. Some pictures are used simply to state a point. I wish more authors (ahem, Jonathan Safran Foer I’m referring to you) would take note on how the pictures help to enhance the text rather than distract.

It’s not all about the pictures though. There is a good story within all those pictures. Hugo is the story of a young orphaned boy who suffers a series of losses and ends up living in a Paris train station. This is how he comes across real life filmmaker Georges Méliès. When I first started reading this book, I didn’t understand why it was labeled historical fiction. Admittedly, I was so taken by the cover and the innovative story telling that I didn’t pay much attention to the book description. Turns out this story has a pretty good history lesson in it as well.

Since reading Hugo, I’ve finished Selznick’s other book [b:Wonderstruck|10128428|Wonderstruck|Brian Selznick||14826219], which also uses a combination of text and pictures. I really love Selznick’s brand of story telling and I can’t recommend him enough. I think his books will definitely get kids turning the pages and enjoying stories.

Favorite Quote (This quote makes me want to go to my nearest bookstore and stack the books so I can recreate this scene.):
"Hugo looked around. At first he didn't see anyone else in the shop, but then, like a mermaid rising from an ocean of paper, the girl emerged across the room." (p. 147)