Belinda Miller, January 20, 2010 (view all comments by Belinda Miller)
Hugo Cabret elicited gasps from me, my mother-in-law, my 56 year old film buff friend, and my precocious 6 year old. None of us could put it down. My husband and I had to read it over and over to my daughter, and we didn't get tired of it. Plus it inspired our own little silent film festival, introducing us to the wonders of Georges Melies, Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin!
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Here is a true masterpiece — an artful blending of narrative, illustration and cinematic technique, for a story as tantalizing as it is touching.Twelve-year-old orphan Hugo lives in the walls of a Paris train station at the turn of the 20th century, where he tends to the clocks and filches what he needs to survive. Hugo's recently deceased father, a clockmaker, worked in a museum where he discovered an automaton: a human-like figure seated at a desk, pen in hand, as if ready to deliver a message. After his father showed Hugo the robot, the boy became just as obsessed with getting the automaton to function as his father had been, and the man gave his son one of the notebooks he used to record the automaton's inner workings. The plot grows as intricate as the robot's gears and mechanisms: Hugo's father dies in a fire at the museum; Hugo winds up living in the train station, which brings him together with a mysterious toymaker who runs a booth there, and the boy reclaims the automaton, to which the toymaker also has a connection. To Selznick's credit, the coincidences all feel carefully orchestrated; epiphany after epiphany occurs before the book comes to its sumptuous, glorious end. Selznick hints at the toymaker's hidden identity (inspired by an actual historical figure in the film industry, Georges Mlis) through impressive use of meticulous charcoal drawings that grow or shrink against black backdrops, in pages-long sequences. They display the same item in increasingly tight focus or pan across scenes the way a camera might. The plot ultimately has much to do with the history of the movies, and Selznick's genius lies in his expert use of such a visual style to spotlight the role of this highly visual media. A standout achievement. Ages 9-12." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by School Library Journal (Starred Review),
"With characteristic intelligence, exquisite images, and a breathtaking design, Selznick shatters conventions related to the art of bookmaking....This is a masterful narrative that readers can literally manipulate."
by John Schwartz, The New York Times Book Review,
"It is wonderful. Take that overused word literally: Hugo Cabret evokes wonder....The result is a captivating work of fiction that young readers with a taste for complex plots and a touch of magic...can love."
"This hybrid creation...is surprising and often lovely....[B]ookmaking this ambitious demands and deserves attention..."
by Children's Literature,
"Brian Selznick's book is a lush hybrid of a creation, a blend of novel and graphic novel that invites you to linger over each page, but also inspires a hunger to know more that keeps you turning the pages."
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"There is a lot to like in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and for young film buffs reading it, it is worth studying for the deft use of perspective and the scenes of great tension, as effectively fleshed out in pictures as words."
by The Washington Post Book World,
"The problem is that Selznick...is really not much of a writer....[M]ost of the time, the prose has a one-foot-in-front-of the-other quality that's about as interesting as watching a clock hand move..."
"Beautiful, full-page black-and-white illustrations are interspersed throughout the book....Part mystery, part feel-good drama, and part picture book for older readers, this novel will fly off the shelf simply because of its visual appeal."
Combining elements of picture book, graphic novel, and film, Caldecott Honor artist Selznick breaks open the novel form to create an entirely new reading experience in this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. Illustrations.
Identical twins Sonja and Charlotte are musical prodigies with extraordinary powers. Born on All-Hallows-Eve, the girls could play music before they could walk. They were found one night by Tatty, the Tattooed Lady of the circus, in a pail on her doorstep with only a note and a heart-shaped locket. Since then, theyve grown up with Tatty in the circus that roams from place to place in the Outskirts.
But lately, mysterious things are starting to happen when they play their instruments. During one of their performances, the girls accidentally levitate their entire audience, drawing too much unwanted attention. Soon, ominous Enforcers come after them, and Charlotte and Sonja must embark on a perilous journey through enchanted lands in hopes of unlocking the secrets of their mysterious past.
Intrigue, danger, chess, and a real-life hoax combine in this historical novel from the author of The Shakespeare Stealer
Philadelphia, PA, 1835. Rufus, a twelve-year-old chess prodigy, is recruited by a shady showman named Maelzel to secretly operate a mechanical chess player called the Turk. The Turk wows ticket-paying audience members and players, who do not realize that Rufus, the true chess master, is hidden inside the contraption. But Rufuss job working the automaton must be kept secret, and he fears he may never be able to escape his unscrupulous master. And what has happened to the previous operators of the Turk, who seem to disappear as soon as Maelzel no longer needs them? Creeping suspense, plenty of mystery, and cameos from Edgar Allan Poe and P. T. Barnum mark Gary Blackwoods triumphant return to middle grade fiction.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.