Monday, March 12, 2018

Books With Bean ~ The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Title: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Author: Brian Selznick

Published: January 30th, 2007

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Summary: Hugo is a young boy working in the Paris train station winding the many clocks that passengers use to tell the time. He was helping his uncle, but his uncle recently died. However the head of the station does not know this and hasn't checked in on their apartment in the station to find out. Each day Hugo winds the many clocks as he was taught hoping that no one comes and finds out that he is alone. Besides working on the clocks, Hugo works to fix a machine that his father used to bring home from the museum where he worked when Hugo was younger. Not being able to cash his uncle's checks Hugo has no money for parts to fix the machine. He realizes however that the old man who runs the station toy shop has just the sort of gears and peices to fix his machine. When he attempts to take a toy mouse however the old man catches Hugo and takes his tools and the notebook where he had been keeping all his notes on the machine. Hugo follows the old man to his house in an attempt to get the notebook back. He fails to do this but meets a girl named Isabelle who is about his age who lives there who tells his that she will make sure the old man does not destroy the notebook.
The next day he goes back to the toy booth and the old man shows Hugo ashes that he says are Hugo’s book, however Isabelle tells Hugo that his book is safe. He and Isabelle wander the station and while in the book shop meet a friend of Isabelle’s who promises to let them into the movie theater later. Hugo is hesitant to go at first knowing it will delay his work. 
The old man who Isabelle calls Papa Georges decides to make Hugo work to get his notebook back and sets him to work at cleaning his shop. Hugo is not happy especially as this means he is unable to work on the clocks. Later Hugo and Isabelle go to the theater only to find out that Isabelle’s friend has been fired for sneaking people in, they sneak in anyway but are soon kicked out. Back at the station the station inspector has begun to notice the clocks delays and almost catches Hugo. Isabelle asked Hugo where he lived but he doesn’t tell her fearing someone will come for him and take him away. However when she trips Hugo realizes that on her necklace is the key for winding up his machine and finding out what it does so he comes up with a plan to get her necklace. He gets it the next day when he hugs Isabelle after she tells him she found his notebook. She is mad but when she calms down they put the key into Hugo’s machine and it begins to move.

What I liked about it: The book is very different from a lot of other books in that half of the story is told in drawings. Not just illustrations that show the words but drawings that fill in for text. These beautiful drawings let the imagination figure out it’s own 1,000 words for each picture while not letting you loose track of where the story is going. It makes the book special and unique and unlike anything else you will ever read (that is unless you read his other books done in the same style) I love the story itself and the amazing drawings. (which I have not complimented three times but they are that good)

Language: None

Romance: None

Violence: Hugo’s father dies in a fire and his uncle drowns but it is not described beyond that.

Magic: None and yet so much. There is no actual magic but one of the characters is an early filmmaker and if you ever watch his movies (which I highly recommend) the things he was able to do over 100 years ago with the moving picture will seem like magic. If you do want to see them a lot of them are public domain and can be found online.

Recommended Age: 10 or 11, the story is good but not overly complicated and can be read at any age really.

Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, The Invention of Hugo Cabret


  1. I think they did this as a movie.... the plot sounds very familiar. I enjoyed the movie, I suspect I would enjoy this book

  2. Our family adored this story. It is so different and engaging. A great one to share. - Lori