April 27, 2012

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick (Book + audiobook + film review)

Middle Grade
Pages: 533
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: January 30, 2007

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.

The book:
This was a new and overall different experience altogether. I wish I would have read this as a kid. It's a story told in pictures and words. Artful and atmospheric, it opens up the world of Cinema and it's history to young readers while exploring friendship in odd circumstances. The book is full of mystery that Hugo and Isabelle try to decipher together. The setting comes alive with the pictures in a very effective way that I believe important for the age range because they still don't have the mental snapshots of the past like we do. The book is very short, even though it's very thick, because things are well spread-out throughout and images are plentiful. The illustrations were marvelous.

The audio:
I don't think they could have done a better job in the audio version for this book. I was skeptical of how they would manage to make the reader understand the illustrations while listening, but instead, it comes with the images in a separate disc and the sound effects let you know when to look for them. Not many audiobooks include sound effects, but this one did and they made the story come alive even more. On top of that, the reader was excellent!

The film:
I originally picked up the book wanting to see the movie. I'm one of those who just HAS to read it before watching or else I wont want to. The film was absolutely breathtaking. The story and characters, the setting, and even the additional stuff they added in, were simply amazing. What with it being a Scorsese film, it was slow-paced at points, a bit over the two hours, but ultimately a gorgeous film. Again, because I am a history geek. the early film images won me over big time. The camera angles and shots, the Paris that came alive, and the editing, made it one of the best book adaptations I've seen. Highly recommended.

Audio: Amazon
Movie: Amazon


  1. Excellent review! I always am curious to see how audiobooks handle illustrations.

  2. Every time I see this book in the store I have to pick it up and look at it! It's so pretty! I loved the movie. Maybe one day I'll actually get around to reading it. :)

  3. I'm going to keep this one in mind. The illustrations look very pretty! :) I'm going to watch the movie.


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