The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

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Back in April, I wrote a movie review on Hugo, which at the time I didn’t know was based off of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick until after I watched the movie. I had originally planned on buying the book through my Kindle, since I am out of shelf space and have at least 30 books piling up on my floor. But then one night a few months back I had gone on a trip to Target and saw The Invention of Hugo Cabret sitting on a lower shelf in the book section. I was first surprised by the size of it. Knowing it was a children’s book, I had imagined it to be a slim paperback, only to find a 500 page monster of a hardback waiting for me to pick it up. And I’m glad I did. After looking through the first few pages, I immediately bought the book.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is not a book that can be owned on a Kindle or a Nook. A mixture of a picture book and graphic novel, this book is styled to be like a silent film with a black boarder around bright white pages with text in the middle, never fully stretching the whole page (which explained the size). The pictures are the real reason that I feel like the book needs to be owned in hardback/paperback. Beautifully drawn, these 284 pictures each show a close up of Hugo’s world, the life he leads, and the adventures that come of it, as well as scenes from several of Georges Melies’s films. While the pictures can easily be viewed on a Kindle or Nook, I really feel drawings as artistic as these will lose something on an electronic. For me, they were definitely more special on paper where they belong.

I’m usually very picky and skeptical when it comes to books turned into movies. However, with The Invention of Hugo Cabret I feel like the book and the movie go hand in hand because the book is just the shell of what the movie expands. While the book focuses on Hugo and Isabella and their schemes and goals, the movie expands and includes the lives of the Station Inspector and some other characters in the train station. Also where the book would be lacking without it’s pictures, the movie helps by bringing the film aspect to life. My recommendation is if you’ve read the book, see the movie, and if you’ve seen the movie, read the book.

Grade: A+

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