The School Library Journal's Top 100 Children's Novels #39
I went a bit out of order and read The Invention of Hugo Cabret with the intention of seeing the movie based on the book, "Hugo." I never made it to the movie. I will wait for it to come to Redbox!
Author: Brian Selznik
Genre: Children's Fiction (Ages 7 and up), Mystery
The Recipe: Orphaned Hugo lives in within the walls of the Paris train station. After his father dies and his uncle disappears, he is left to thieve and maintain his uncle's job to avoid suspicion. Determined to complete his father's last obsession-the repair of a mysterious automaton-Hugo and his new friend Isabella unlock a discovery of secrets that could change Hugo forever.
The Frosting and Sprinkles: The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an exciting and adventurous page-turner. I read it in one sitting because I was dying to know what happens.
The highlight of this novel is the illustrations. The book appears thick, but much of it is Selznik's illustrations and photos, so don't let the 525 pages intimidate you or your child! The story is told with a combination of pictures and words, which creatively add emotion to the characters and story. Isolated, the writing would fall short and the pictures would make no sense, but together they weave a compelling story about a broken boy finding repair.
I love Hugo's character. He is a deep character and easy to which to relate. You can't help liking and sympathizing with him despite the fact that he is a thief. I could take or leave the other characters, though they are needed for the story development. Isabella is incredibly annoying at times, but it shows that Selznik is good at portraying characters well-the fact that a character can affect your feelings shows good writing.
This novel is a very symbolic one, which may be lost on most kids. However, it also has many layers that allow it to be understood and enjoyed at different levels by different ages.
I never found the story boring and the ending is surprising. My 7 year-old niece LOVED it, so it gets a kid's thumbs up!
The Hair That Fell Into the Batter: I have few complaints about The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but I do feel the ending was a little too neatly resolved and wrapped up. The book failed to address and explore Hugo's fear that it was his fault his father died. This is a deep issue and since Selznik brings it up at the beginning, I was disappointed that he just ignored it in the rest of the novel, as it had the potential for great character development. Oh well! There is so much I love about the book that these seem minor!
4 Out of 5 Cupcakes!
(I really liked it)