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21 April 2010

Book Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick 


An excellent book to give a child a sense of finishing a monumental task. Made up mostly of illustrations and pages with minimal word content, this book weighs in at a whopping 550 pages. It is an impressive book to have read, even if one is not a child.

The story is interesting and intriguing but not mind-blowing. To an adult anyway. It may be different for children. The illustrations add depth to the story, particularly if one has made a habit of watching silent films at some point in one's life. The appendices and credits give a good overview of information to encourage further research.

All in all, if I were 8, this would be a 5 star book. Maybe. I did, however, completely enjoy the moments of discovery with my five year old as we read this aloud; why Papa Georges hates shoe heels, who really wrote the book, etc.

Three good quotes:
"Did you ever notice that all machines are made for some reason? They are built to make you laugh, like the mouse here, or to tell the time, like clocks, or to fill you with wonder, like the automaton. Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do. Maybe it's the same with people. If you lose your purpose ... it's like you're broken."

"Sometimes I come up here at night, even when I'm not fixing clocks, just to look at the city. I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason too."

"Time can play all sorts of tricks on you. In the blink of an eye, babies appear in carriages, coffins disappear into the ground, wars are won and lost, and children transform, like butterflies, into adults."