My son and I visit our local library every Thursday. Sometimes I go and know exactly what I’m checking out for the week, other times I just wander the shelves and enjoy the quiet of one of my favorite places on the planet.
I grabbed The Invention of Hugo Cabaret by Brian Selznick when it kept being recommended to me on Goodreads in the graphic novel for kids section. I went in into this book not really knowing the plot or what to expect.
The story is about an orphaned boy named Hugo who lives in the walls of a train station in France and takes care of the clocks after his uncle and caretaker has gone missing. He meets a toy maker, with a booth in the train station, and his goddaughter and their lives become intertwined in a otherworldly and fast paced story.
The layout of this book is amazing. Unlike most graphic novels, there are pages of text and then you get a series of two page spreads featuring pencil drawings. Brian Selznick is able to accelerate the story forward with just a few amazing drawings and seamlessly go back into the text of the story. The drawings in The Invention of Hugo Cabaret are detailed yet simple (see below). This would be a great read aloud book for elementary aged children. Reading a chapter or two a night would be a fun experience for you and your child. Additionally, there are no themes in this book that would be considered troublesome. There’s one scene where drunkenness is discussed but not in any great detail. There is separate scene that could be considered “scary” for smaller children where a character is almost hit by a train.
In the end, this magical, captivating story is one that I would highly recommend for children (and parents) who enjoy magicians and a happy ending.
Movie Adaptation: Hugo (2011)