December/January Book Post – The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Well, I’d have to say I’m more excited for this book than any other this year. How could I not be?

The Invention of Hugo Cabret (the book has its own website!) is written and illustrated by Brian Selznick. Last year it won the Caldecott Medal. Usually only picture books win that award. This is a novel! That’s crazy!

Mr. Selznick illustrated the cover of a previous GR book, The Janitor’s Boy.

There are not really any other books like this one. Mr. Selznick pushed the boundary of what we think a novel can be. I’m very interested to know what you think about it.

Another reason I’m so excited for this book is that the author is coming to Bellingham in March! It’s a little spendy for kids, but I’ll be going to the Children’s Literature Conference at Western Washington University, and Mr. Selznick is one of the featured authors! I can’t wait to hear what he has to say! I’ll report back to you, for sure.

Have fun reading!

Update: 1/24/09 – I’ve added a bunch of links to things. And the whole movie of A Trip to the Moon!

Here are links to clips movies mentioned in the book:

  • Safety Last, starring Harold Lloyd
  • The Arrival of the Train at La Ciotat, by the Lumiere brothers; one of the first movies ever made!
  • The Vanishing Lady, by Georges Méliès. This is on YouTube, so you can’t watch it at school. It is also not the best quality.
  • The Clock Store, a Disney “Silly Symphony” from 1931.
  • Paris Asleep, by René Clair. It is silent, and the caption cards are in French, but it’s interesting to look at.
  • The Million, also by René Clair. This is just a clip. This movie is the first French musical with singing parts. Sorry, no English subtitles. This one is also YouTube.

In addition to Georges Méliès, who is actually a character in the story, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Jean Renoir were also mentioned in the book.

In his credits at the end, Mr. Selznick said you could find out more about Georges Méliès here.

He also said you could see a real automaton here. One of the videos there features Mr. Selznick himself.


6 Responses

  1. I was finally able to get ahold of copy of Hugo Cabret. It seems to be a popular book here at TMCE. I have just finished the first chapter, and I have some questions about the notebook. I am making some predictions and I shall soon see if I’m right. I can’t wait to read more of the book over the next week. I hope everyone else is enjoying it as much as I am.

  2. You’re one of the lucky ones, then, Mr. F. I’ve got my copy stashed away, but I haven’t started it yet.

    I’m looking forward to this month’s meeting!

  3. I finished the book last night while my wife was working on her college homework. I don’t want to give anything away for those of you still reading it, but it comes together nice. It was interesting, and I wanted to know what happened next throughout the second part of the book. The illustrations are fantastic, along with some of the still photography. I didn’t think the setting of a Paris train station in the 1930’s would be interesting, but I was wrong. I have been in Paris train stations- I wonder if there still is a timekeeper… I do remember seeing vendors like the bookstore. Great choice Mr. S.

  4. I finished! Wow! This book was hard to put down! I would have read it all in one sitting, if I could!

    I’ve updated the post to include a whole bunch of links to the work of Georges Méliès and others mentioned in the book.

  5. Great meeting tonight, guys! Welcome to Will and his mom, and welcome back to Jetson and his mom.

    What an interesting book, eh? Lots to talk about, on all sorts of topics. Movies, history, writing styles, author decisions…

    We had some pain au chocolat for snack. That would be a Pillsbury exploding can croissant with chocolate melted inside it, for those of us who don’t speak French.

    See you next month! Can’t wait!

  6. This Sunday, Feb. 8, at 2 pm, see Buster Keaton’s The General at the Mt. Baker Theatre.

    This is a pretty funny silent movie, and if you go you’ll get to see the fancy organ that they play along to the music. Plus, it goes down into the stage!

    Buster Keaton was mentioned in Hugo. Check it out if you can!

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