Hugo Cabret is an orphan who lives with the hope of repairing an automaton that his deceased father once discovered abandoned in a museum. After Hugo is left behind by his alcoholic uncle he spends his days diligently maintaining the clocks of the Paris train station and using his free time to pore over his father’s notebooks kept on the automaton. One day as Hugo steals a toy from a train station shop he is caught by an old man and introduced to Isabella. The old man takes away Hugo’s beloved notebook, setting into action a delightful series of actions to get it back. With the help of Isabella and a mysterious friend met in the bookstore, Hugo not only recovers his notebook, but is able to bring the automaton to life. The secrets that the automaton unfolds hinges upon a great discovery that will change the lives of everyone involved forever. What was thought to be lost forever is found and there is celebration in the discovery.
This charming book is told partially through words on the page and partially through wonderfully detailed illustrations. Although the book appears long at 533 pages, it is full of these beautiful illustrations and short bits of prose. Even though you can read this book easily in an hour, its captivating storyline and amazing illustrations will make you want to linger much longer in the enticing wold of Hugo Cabret.
I loved the way that history intertwined with fantasy in this book. I fell in love with young Hugo and cheered for him from start to finish. His friend Isabella is also charming. I love how she always has a book in her hands and when Hugo asks her how she knows how to pick locks she nonchalantly tells him her knowledge is from books. This book is a lovely mystery that unfolds beautifully. It is a story that will delight readers of all ages.
On a side note, I picked up The Invention of Hugo Cabret because we bought the 3-D film based on the book and I always want to read the book before seeing the film. I’m curious to see how the world of Hollywood filmmaking brings to life a book that is in itself an homage to the magic of filmmaking.