Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Brian Selznick”

Idigepug’s #CBR4 Review #48: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret symbolizes an important moment in my life: it was the first book my son recommended to me.  He and my husband both listened to the audiobook, and my son was bubbling over with talk of automatons afterword.  I picked up the novel the next time we were at the library and was just as excited about the book as they were, but I felt badly for them that they had missed the fantastic illustrations.  As soon as I finished the novel, I passed it on to the kid who also loved the pictures.

The novel focuses on the life of young Hugo Cabret.  Hugo’s father died in a fire, and Hugo has been living with his uncle who fixes clocks in a Paris train station.  Hugo hides his uncle’s unexpected death from the station inspector and continues fixing the station’s clocks to maintain the illusion that his uncle is still alive.  He’s struggling, though, and is eventually caught stealing by Papa Georges, a man who sells clockwork animals in the station.  Hugo is stealing parts to fix an automaton that his father was working on at the museum, and his obsession with the automaton gets him tangled up in the lives of Papa Georges and his goddaughter Isabelle.  The story is really lovely and complicated and sweet all at once.  My kid has great taste in books.

Bunnybean’s #CBR4 Review #18: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Hugo Cabret is a boy who dreams of fixing a broken automaton (sort of like a wind-up robot that almost looks like a person) that was his father’s before he died.  Hugo lives alone in a train station (where he takes care of the clock), and has to steal food from the cafe to survive.  He can also fix broken toys and make them work better than ever.  Hugo lives alone because he doesn’t have a mother or a father.  His father recently died in an explosion at the museum.

He steals toys from the toy booth at the train station, and the old man who runs the booth find out about Hugo.  He introduces Hugo to his god-daughter Isabelle, and they become friends.

Hugo is always on the run from the train station inspector, because all of the shop owners know that he is stealing from them.  In the end, the inspector finds Hugo, but he is rescued by the old man from the toy booth and his new friend Isabelle.

Later, Hugo goes to live with Isabelle and her godparents, and the old man helps him to fix the automaton.

I really liked the book, it had beautiful illustrations that told the story along with the words.
I also saw the movie, which I loved.  I liked the book and the movie equally.

You can read more of Bunnybean’s reviews on her mom’s blog.







DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #10 Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Wonderstruck is indeed, as the title page announces, a novel in words and pictures.  It is a double narrative set fifty years apart that brilliantly tells one of those stories with drawings alone.  Some readers may have already heard of this Caldecott Medal Winner and creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret (the movie HUGO is nominated for 11 Academy Awards).  This story was inspired by many things from museums to Deaf Culture and the demise of the Silent Movie. Selznick’s beautiful and captivating crosshatched drawings, done with pencil on watercolour paper, convey such a wide range of emotions and nuances, you almost forget parts of the story are told with so few words.

The book is lovingly dedicated to Maurice Sendak, whose innovative book Where The WIld Things Are forever changed how we look at picture books.  It is easy to see the influence and inspiration that Sendak provided to Selznick, but the magic and energy in these drawings is uniquely his own.  Part storyboard, part silent movie, all masterful storytelling at its finest, Wonderstruck sweeps the reader along until at last the two threads of narrative intermingle and combine to form a touching and supremely satisfying ending.

If I had one complaint about this book, it would be that the hardcover format and higher price ($29.00 in both Canada and the US)  for a “shorter read” story may keep some readers from adding this amazing book to their library. Hopefully, it will be released as a thick paperback with a slightly lower price point at a later date. Wonderstruck was loaned to me by a friend who knew that as an illustrator and an author, I would be fascinated by the combination of text and story.  Despite the high page count, the book is a quick evening’s read for most people… or just over an hour’s gulp for my fast reading pace.  Regardless of how fast or how slowly you devour this delectable, artistic creation, I have no doubt that you will be, like me, completely Wonderstruck.

Hardcover format, 637 pages, 2011 by Scholastic Press

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