Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Picture Book: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

1. Bibliographic data:
Selznick, Brian. The Invention of Hugo Cabret . Brian Selznick, Scholastic Press, New York, 2007. ISBN 10- 0-439-81378-6

2. Brief plot summary:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is about an orphaned boy who must use his knowledge of fixing things to survive. Hugo must continue to care for the clocks at a train station in Paris to keep from going to an orphanage. It is here where he befriends a young girl and her godfather. He does not realize that they will unlock the key to mysterious object his father left behind.

3. Critical analysis:
When I started this book I did not know what to expect. The first forty-five pages are illustrations. At that point I was hooked. Although I knew very little about the characters, I could already feel their pain. Then the writing started and I knew this was going to be one of those books that I HAD to finish in one sitting. Between Hugo, Papa Georges, and Isabelle, the story is driven by heartache, responsibility, and love.
This beautifully written story that has a well-mix of words and amazing illustrations. The pencil drawings, although without color, capture every detail. Many of the pictures focus on the eyes, and they emit the character’s emotions better than words could. It will capture the imagination of the young and the old alike.

4. Review excerpt(s):
a. Awards:
2008 Caldecot Winner
National Book Award Finalist
#1 New York Times Bestseller
New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2007
b. Publisher’s Weekly: “Here is a true masterpiece…”
c. School Library Journal: “This is a masterful narrative that readers can literally manipulate.”

5. Connections:
a. Activities: I would bring in the different elements of the book, such as the mechanics of clocks and the different elements of drawing. This is a book that I would also bring into to a Video Production, Multimedia, or Art class. The creative elements of the book lend themselves to teach students about these elements.
In a Reading class, I would also use this book to teach conflict. By making a chart, you could make connections between the different conflicts and how they intertwine.

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