Clocks are intricate. Clocks are fascinating. Don’t think so? Ask Hugo.
The book is set in a railway station in the 1930s, France. Hugo Cabret is a 12-year-old orphan boy who lives in the station. He used to be apprenticed to his uncle, the railway station’s timekeeper. When Uncle Claude disappears, Hugo simply keeps the clocks going himself, as he’s been taught. As long as the Station Inspector doesn’t suspect anything, everything will go fine. As well as keeping the clocks ticking, Hugo has an automaton that he’s trying to fix. When he meets an old man and his goddaughter, Hugo learns that just as he’s been keeping the automaton a secret, the automaton has been keeping secrets from him.
I found The Invention Of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick a wonderful book, even the second time around. (gotta love those kinds of books) I read it first because I’d read another of Brian Selznick’s books (Wonderstruck) and loved that. Something that grabs your attention right away in The Invention of Hugo Cabret are the pictures. As someone who likes to draw, I appreciated the pictures very much. Drawings are just another way to tell stories, really, and Mr. Selznick tells bits of his story well with the pictures. I found myself pausing, just to admire the beauty of them. They made me grin. (The pictures also add to the thickness of the book, making it look much longer than it really is.)
There is such wonderful symbolism and linkage throughout the book. Everything fits so neatly together, like the gears of the clocks Hugo works on. The end of the story knots all the loose ends together very tightly. That was extremely satisfying.
I think this book would be appealing to anyone from the ages of 10 to mid-teen years, although I’m sure it could be enjoyable to those older and younger as well. I’d definitely recommend The Invention of Hugo Cabret to anyone looking for a pleasant read.