Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Talk #14: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Children's Fiction)

By Brian Selznick
Beautiful, beautiful book.
Verdict: One of the best children's books I've read since...Dahl. 
Age: 6 and up to whatever age.

I'm late to the party.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret is set to be released as a full length, big budget film just in time for the holiday season.  I read this book a couple of years ago but I'm reviewing now because, well, I had to give this book its due.  

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a wildly imaginative story that really brings the physical book to the forefront.  If the book came from a movie adaptation, it would have done the story a great injustice.  I can't imagine the movie capturing the feelings and emotions that captivated me while I read this book. Sorry, Sorcsese.  If children read this book from an ipod, they would miss the intricacies of Mr. Selznick's work of art. The book allows one to discover and touch the illustrations.  It invites the reader to feel, to wonder, and flip on to the next page with great anticipation.

The book, or tome, shall I say, might be a little intimidating for children who see its thickness.  Fear not kids or parents, this isn't Atlas Shrugged, half the pages are beautifully crafted illustrations by the author.  In turn, each of these illustrations contribute to the story. That's how I sell this book to reluctant readers.  I tell children they could be on the 50th page in 10 minutes.  By that time, I hope the great premise has them hooked!

The story is unique.  Part history lesson, part mystery and adventure.  The biggest compliment I could pay this book is that it fired up my imagination.  Whole scenes were crafted in my head.  Breaks were taken to visualize what I was reading.  Someone grabbed me by the hand and refused to let go. I didn't know exactly which way this story would head but I knew that it would be remarkable.  Kinda of like Willy Wonka letting me taste a never ending gobstopper.   Upon finishing the story, I sat up and smiled.  Definitely, a great read.

Growing up, I was a Smashing Pumpkins fan and as read the invention, I was delighted to say "I knew I had seen this scene somewhere before!" (SPOILER ALERT)

Additional: A book you would read with your kids during bed time.  One chapter at a time of course!


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