Sunday, January 22, 2012

Book Review - The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

I know many bloggers love this book (or other books by Selznick). This is my first book by the author, and unfortunately it just didn't work for me. It has an interesting concept - a story combined with pencil drawings. The drawings were nice, but didn't wow me. Maybe because I had seen some really amazing pencil drawings. The story was fine, but a bit simplistic and slow for me. I kept waiting for some magical moments but they never arrived. I don't remember the ending now (3 months later), but whatever it was, it didn't blow my mind. Maybe I am spoiled by Shawn Tan's books? His stories were even simpler, but I felt inspired from his books.

I know I am totally NOT the target audience, so I am sharing my thoughts from an adult's perspective - someone who is not familiar with children's books (at least not for this age range - amazon listed it as 9 years and up). Maybe if I read this with a kid, I'd have felt differently. Or I am just too old and cynical lol.

I know the movie came out not long ago, and had good reviews too. But I doubt I'd be watching it any time soon. There are some quotes I did like from this book:

Some magicians started off as clock makers. They used their knowledge of machines to build these automata to amaze their audiences. The sole purpose of the machines was to fill people with wonder, and they succeeded. No one in the audience could figure out how these mysterious figures danced or wrote to sang. It was as if the magicians had created artificial life, but the secret was always in the clockworks. (p113)

"Sometimes I think I like these photos as much as I like the movies, " she said. "You can make up your own story when you look at a photo." (p193)

"Did you ever notice that all machines are made for some reason?" he asked Isabelle. "They are built to make you laugh, like the mouse here, or to tell the time, like clocks, or to fill you with wonder, like the automaton. Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do." (p374) 

2 / 5 .

Note - The book was borrowed from the library.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.


  1. I enjoyed this book, but didn't care for the movie at all. The scenery was fantastic, but it was too long and boring.

    1. I guess if I thought the book was already too long/boring, then the movie would make it even more so! Guess I'll skip then!

  2. I really liked this book, I only found out about it after the movie trailers came out, but it was well worth the read. There is also a review on it on the Elaine Charles show - The Book Report,, Isn't Elaine just the best?

    1. I know many people like this, and it seems like I am the odd one out! I haven't checked out the Book Report, thanks for the link!