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Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
Starred Review. Here is a true masterpiece—an artful blending of narrative, illustration and cinematic technique, for a story as tantalizing as it is touching.Twelve-year-old orphan Hugo lives in the walls of a Paris train station at the turn of the 20th century, where he tends to the clocks and filches what he needs to survive. Hugo's recently deceased father, a clockmaker, worked in a museum where he discovered an automaton: a human-like figure seated at a desk, pen in hand, as if ready to deliver a message. After his father showed Hugo the robot, the boy became just as obsessed with getting the automaton to function as his father had been, and the man gave his son one of the notebooks he used to record the automaton's inner workings. The plot grows as intricate as the robot's gears and mechanisms [...] To Selznick's credit, the coincidences all feel carefully orchestrated; epiphany after epiphany occurs before the book comes to its sumptuous, glorious end. Selznick hints at the toymaker's hidden identity [...] through impressive use of meticulous charcoal drawings that grow or shrink against black backdrops, in pages-long sequences. They display the same item in increasingly tight focus or pan across scenes the way a camera might. The plot ultimately has much to do with the history of the movies, and Selznick's genius lies in his expert use of such a visual style to spotlight the role of this highly visual media. A standout achievement. Ages 9-12. (Mar.)
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Brilliant. Kids loved it, and were so drawn into the story they almost made me stop reading when the tension got to its peak... but they prevailed.Published 1 month ago by blarger
I read it over and over (adult). Kids aren't into it so much (primary-junior grades). A magical book.Published 9 months ago by evintage
I might be bias as a film graduate, but I absolutely loved this book. The first page asked to "picture yourselves sitting in the darkness, like the beginning of a movie"... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Book Cupid
I loved the story, but particularly the pictures in the book. They add so much to the story and it's obvious that the author spent a lot of time making them... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Fleur
By now you know what you are about to purchase. However I am not so sure I was. I have to confess I did not know of this book until I saw the trailer for the movie. Read morePublished 21 months ago by bernie
My kids have read this many many times. That must be the true gage of an awesome book!!!
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Arrived in record time. The book was exactly what I wanted. Much easier than driving to a store to look for it!Published on Dec 30 2012 by Catherine Munn
I enjoyed this comic-book novel so much that I decided to buy a copy for my son. It is a tale that, like a never-ending story, takes the reader on a journey through time and space... Read morePublished on April 6 2012 by Ian Gordon Malcomson