The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

A Novel in Words and Pictures

Book - 2007
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When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized.
Publisher: New York : Scholastic Press, 2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780439813785
Branch Call Number: JF Selz
Characteristics: 533 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.


From Library Staff

AR Level: 5.1, Points: 4.0

From the critics

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ArapahoeKati Nov 02, 2020

Inventive and compelling.

Andrew Kyle Bacon
Feb 10, 2020

I really want to give this book five stars, I enjoyed it so much. But there are minor things about it that I find don't work. The art, for example, is rather inconsistent in places, which brings a work of this kind down a notch or two (I would say 60%+ of the page count is illustrations). The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a picture book in one sense and a children's novel in another. The word count is hardly greater than The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, but the sheer volume of pictures makes the book gargantuan to hold. Thankfully, it is a quick read, and the pictures greatly aide the story, giving it a cinematic feeling akin to silent film. As a filmmaker, I think this book is wonderful. Everyone should know about Georges Melies as his work in the invention of cinema. I can't wait to introduce this book to my nephew and see what he thinks of it. I was 15 when this book came out and 19 when it became a film (directed by Martin Scorsese). I loved both the book and the film.


The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a beautiful book with amazing drawings and an amazing story line. In the beginning of the book, Hugo's father dies in a fire and his uncle soon disappears, leaving Hugo to secretly maintain the clocks in the train station. Hugo wants to fix an automaton he salvaged from the fire, but he struggles to procure tools and food for himself. Hugo is caught stealing from the local toy maker, but this allows him to meet and befriend Isabelle, the toy maker's daughter. After many adventures together, they fix the automation and discover something shocking. I recommend this book to all children who are curious as to what this big secret is. On a scale of 1 to 5, I rate this book a 5 because it was an amazing book with a deep meaning and beautiful pictures. Catherine P., grade 11, of the Yorba Linda Teen Book Bloggers

Jul 24, 2019

Magical. I haven't seen the whole movie, yet I'm sure it can't match the magic of having this book in your hands, if art is ever a wonder for you.

Apr 11, 2019

I picked up 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' because I got it for an 11 yr old grand to read. I enjoyed it as magical. The drawings, art and actual photos are mesmerizing. That I found out after finishing 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' it was based on the life of a major character in the story was rather exciting! I understand 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' is the basis of the movie 'Hugo' . I sincerely hope the kids READ the book instead of watching the movie. I rarely watch movies of books I've read - I am usually disgusted with them.

IndyPL_SteveB Mar 01, 2019

Winner of the Caldecott Award for outstanding art in a children’s book and the basis for the fine film, *Hugo*.

Every once in a while there is a book (or film or album or painting) that breaks new ground, that makes everyone step back and say, “Wow, you can do that?” This was one of those books.

Hugo Cabret is an orphan living in a train station in Paris in 1931. His mother died in child birth and his clock-repairman father died in a fire at a museum. Hugo was taken in (more like “seized”) by his drunken uncle who kept the clockworks running at the train station. But his uncle has disappeared and Hugo, unknown to station management, has been repairing and winding the clocks himself, stealing food to survive. Hugo has another secret. From the ruins of the burned-down museum where his father died, Hugo recovered the automaton that his father had been trying to repair. There is someone else in the train station with a secret past: the mysterious old man who runs the toy shop.

This is historical fiction partly based on real events, including the early history of the movies. But the true marvels of the book are the layout and illustrations. This is the first “picture-book novel.” The book is 520 pages long but more than half the pages are double-page drawings that tell the story without words. Selznick’s illustrations are art pieces in themselves and provide us with a story experience different from anything else ever done. The sense of life and motion in each drawing is startling. The reading level of the words is probably 5th-6th grade but the ideas are interesting enough for adults, too. It is not exaggerating to call this a work of genius and one of the 10 most important children’s books of the past 20 years.

Sep 30, 2018

My 5 year old loved this and I found it a wonderful way to ease into film history.

Jul 04, 2018

This majestic series is placed in my top 3 favourite books.
Pros and cons:

Although you do have to flip through 100-200 illustrations between the beginning, middle and end it 100% is worth it because the author used such empathy and emotion writing some chapters, you literally feel like your inside the book! There definitely is some melancholy parts as well, but in my opinion, that's what makes this book amazing!

PLYMC_Jack_Simons Jun 26, 2018

Illustrations really added to the tone of the story. Love it! I wish there were more books written like this one.

May 07, 2018

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book with my 10 & 7 year old sons. It holds a mix of adventure, friendship as well as learning a little history. Would recommend.

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Add a Summary
Jul 25, 2016

One word. Clocks. That is the one word that revolves around Hugo's mind all day everyday. after the accident, he was forced to fend for himself. However, he still tries to fix what his father failed to do himself.

Jul 10, 2016

This book is about a boy whose father dies in a fire, and then his mean uncle who drinks takes him to work with him in the train station. One day his uncle never comes back. Hugo Cabret becomes friends with a girl and her grandfather, and while that goes on Hugo is working on a automaton(robot). I will not say anymore. You will just have to read it yourself!!! ;)

Dec 15, 2015

Good morning everybody,today is a special because I’m going to tell you the story of “The Invention Of HUGO CABRET”.

The story begins in Paris where there was a boy named Hugo who lived in the station and he fixed clocks every day,Hugo stole toys from an old man.

One day the old man caught Hugo when he was stealing a toy from the old man’s toy booth,then the old man told Hugo to empty his pockets.

The old man saw a notebook in Hugo’s pockets he took that notebook from and told him that he’s going to burn it,Hugo got mad so he followed the old man to the old man’s house.

When they were there,Hugo saw a girl looking at him.

She told him that she’s going to bring him his notebook back from the old man which he adopted her.

Hugo went back to the station and he went to the clocks and there was something covered up Hugo uncovered it and guess what it was,it was an automaton.

Hugo’s father left it for him before he died.

The next morning Hugo went to the old man and told him to give him his notebook back,but the old man gave Hugo something covered Hugo took it and opened it but it was only ashes Hugo got so mad and angry that he went back to the clocks .

Remember that girl that I told you about her name is Isabelle,she told Hugo to come to the bookstore this afternoon.

They met each other there Isabelle told Hugo not to worry about his notebook because it’s not burned.

The old man told Hugo that he has to work in his toy booth so he could give him his notebook back.

Hugo told the old man that he would work in his booth as long as he wants but the old man have to give him his notebook back as soon as possible.

Isabelle told Hugo to come to the bookstore tomorrow.

Hugo met Isabelle at the bookstore Isabelle was there she saw Hugo and her old friend and his name is Etienne.

Hugo borrowed a book about magic from the bookstore he wanted to learn about magic that’s why he borrowed that book.

Isabelle told Hugo to meet at the movie theater to watch a movie and Etienne is going to sneak them into the theater.

The manager of the theater saw them in there and he kicked them out,Hugo and Isabelle ran as fast as they could but Isabelle fell down and a key came out of Isabelle’s neck but she tucked it back inside her dress.

Hugo told her where did she get that key from but Isabelle didn't answer him.

The next day Isabelle got Hugo’s notebook back but the old man thought that Hugo stole it.

The old man told Hugo to never come back to his toybooth but Isabelle wanted to give Hugo his notebook back Hugo quickly ran to Isabelle and hugged her so he can steal her key with his magic trick so he can use it for the automaton so it can work,after stealing Isabelle’s key Hugo went back to the clocks so he can use the key .

Isabelle found out that Hugo stole her key she went right after him Hugo was putting the key when Isabelle comes in really quickly,and she started fighting with him while the automaton kept drawing finally the automaton finished drawing he signed a name and that name was Isabelle’s grandfather ……….

A lot of things happened after that,I didn't put all the details in there so that’s why you should read that check it out right here:

Jul 02, 2014

This book tells about a boy how lives in the walls and his sad life and the good thing is he got adopted at the end:]

Mar 31, 2013

There's a 12 year old boy living in the train station where his uncle worked, where he has taken that job over. His life takes a different path after being caught attempting to steal from a toy booth. He has no one to turn to, but people who are willing to help him.

Feb 11, 2013

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is about an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station where his survival depends on secrets. Soon his world suddenly changes when he meets an eccentric girl and a strange old man who runs a toy booth,Hugos undercover life and his most precious secret are put in jeopardy.

Feb 08, 2013

Taking place in Paris 1931, Brian Seilznick's "Hugo Cabret" is a story full of mysterie and suspense.To start you off,Hugo and his father had found a brocken Automatone,and sense those were such valuables, Hugo and his father had taken it in and tried to fix it. During this adventure, Hugo's father died in a fire forcing him to live alone in a clock, in a train station. Hugo then was dedicated to fix that automatone for he felt a meesage from his father would be left for him. Soon after, Hugo meets a girl named Isabelle who happens to own the one thing that would actually fix the automatone as well as being the god-daughter of Georges Melies who is not exactly fond of Hugo. Eventually the Auto. is fixed but Hugo and Isabelle discover that Georges Melies wasa famous filmmaker. At first, Georges Melies was alarmed, but was compforted and then adopted Hugo.
The End

Feb 06, 2013

Hugo Cabret lives in a clock at the train station. He must steal his food but he must steal something else; parts from a toy booth to fix a mechanical man. With the help of Isabelle and Gorges Melies he may be able to solve this mystery, but Hugo must hide from the Station Inspector so he does not get caught and get sent to an orphanage.

Feb 06, 2013

Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is a suspensful, thrill seeking mystery of loss and hope set in the 1930's.An orphan, Hugo, secretly oils the clocks in a Paris train station. Ever since Hugo's father died in a tragic fire, Hugo has been destined to find out the message of his deseased fathers automaton. To find out this message, Hugo must set out to find the key that holds everything for the hope of the past, present, and the future. Will Hugo finally find out what has been haunting all this time, or will he be dreaded by the truth? Read the book to find out!

Feb 06, 2013

In the beginning of the book Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick,Hugo lives in a paris train station.And Hugo wants to fix his automaton,but the old man(Georges Mélies) takes his notebook which told hugo how to fix the hugo works for the old man long enough until he gives hugo his notebook.

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Add Age Suitability
Nov 05, 2020

red_zebra_1625 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over

Dec 07, 2018

blue_bat_3930 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 6 and 6

Dec 20, 2017

anne1212li thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Jul 09, 2014

Marwa_1 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 14

Jun 22, 2013

Violet_Rabbit_51 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Black_Badger_15 Jun 10, 2013

Black_Badger_15 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 7 and 20

angiem99 Apr 30, 2013

angiem99 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Mar 31, 2013

StaceyLB thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Mar 19, 2013

ducttape101 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 14

Feb 08, 2013

nickalicious6886 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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Add a Quote
Jul 19, 2016

“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...Maybe it's the same with people," Hugo continued. "If you lose your's like your broken.”

cals_Leah Oct 05, 2015

“I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”

Jul 29, 2014

“Sometimes I come up here at night...just to look at the city. I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.” - Hugo Cabret, The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Mar 31, 2013

"Hugo quickly realized he had to make it seem like his uncle was still around. He would keep the clocks running as precisely as possible, and he'd take his uncle's paychecks from the office when no one was looking (although he didn't know how to cash them)."

Nov 03, 2009

Hugo looked around. At first he didn't see anyone else in the shop, but then, like a mermaid rising from an ocean of paper, the girl emerged across the room. She closed the book she had been reading and motioned for Hugo to come over.


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