Review #59: The Invention of Hugo Cabret


The Invention of Hugo Cabret


Brian SELZNICK (author-illustrator)

511 pages

Graphic Novel

Publication: 2007, by Scholastic Press


As you may know, I am very choosy for what I read, and if the quality does not seem worth my time, I quickly give up on a book. I am even more choosy when it comes to graphic novels.  But I recently ran into this title on a few other blogs, and it looked very well done. It is.

I enjoyed this book very much. It is a very thick book, but many pages are just the story told through illustrations: fabulous black and white pencil drawings, great portraits, amazing zooms on eyes, for instance. So the story is told through an alternation of drawings and short paragraphs. I liked very much this alternation, it perfectly fit the story, with drawings for example when the story was accelerating, when the boy was running away.

The plot is very interesting as well, with nice suspense, and some unexpected turn involving Georges Méliès.

If you are not familiar with graphic novels, I suggest this one for you, it is a nice smart one. And a quick read, I read it in one sitting.

If you are not convinced yet, go to his website, so cool! You will have a good inkling, and you can even see there the trailer of the movie Hugo, by Scorsese, with Ben Kingsley!

ADDED 09/01/2021:
By now, you probably have all watched the movie. If not, it’s a must. Even better if you can watch it in 3D.
I have since read several books by Selznick, all so brilliant. I have reviewed Wonderstruck and Baby Monkey, Private Eye.


Orphan Hugo Cabret lives in a wall. His secret home is etched out in the crevices of a busy Paris train station. Part-time clock keeper, part-time thief, he leads a life of quiet routine until he gets involved with an eccentric, bookish young girl and an angry old man who runs a toy booth in the station. The Invention of Hugo Cabret unfolds its cryptic, magical story in a format that blends elements of picture book, novel, graphic novel, and film. Caldecott Honor-winning author-illustrator Brian Selznick has fashioned an intricate puzzle story that binds the reader like a mesmerist’s spell. [Goodreads]


Here is his self-presentation on Goodreads:
Hello there. My name is Brian Selznick and I’m the author and illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was born in 1966 in New Jersey. I have a sister who is a teacher, a brother who is a brain surgeon, and five nephews and one niece. I studied at The Rhode Island School of Design and after I graduated from college I worked at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City. I learned all about children’s books from my boss Steve Geck who is now an editor of children’s books at Greenwillow. While I was at Eeyore’s I also painted the windows for holidays and book events.

My first book, The Houdini Box, which I both wrote and illustrated, was published in 1991 while I was still working at the bookstore. Since then, I have illustrated many books for children, including Frindle by Andrew Clements, The Doll People by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin, Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, which received a 2001 Caldecott Honor.

I have also written a few other books myself, including The Boy of a Thousand Faces, but The Invention of Hugo Cabret is by far the longest and most involved book I’ve ever worked on.

I live in Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California


2008 Randolph Caldecott Medal
National Book Award Finalist
#1 New York Times Bestseller
USA Today Bestseller
#1 BookSense Bestseller
New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2007
Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2007
Kirkus Best Book of 2007
New York Public Library Best Book for Reading and Sharing
American Library Association Notable Children’s Book
American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults
2007 Quill Award Winner



7 thoughts on “Review #59: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

  1. I remember seeing this graphic novel in a store recently and I loved the cover. I haven’t read too many graphic novels but I am curious about them. So many people love them.


    • This one is REALLY cool! There are all kinds of graphic novels, including classics – I just got the Odyssey and King Lear, or even non-fiction. Unfortunately, most of them are to my mind too violent Japanese manga stuff


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