Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

I love picture books.  I always feel a little sad when I hear parents say "My child has outgrown picture books - they read chapter books now."  I strongly believe that one should never outgrow picture books.  Although as we grow older we will add chapter books, young adult novels and Dickens' classics to our reading repertoire - picture book reading does not need to end.  There is a lot to be gained from reading not only the text on the page but the pictures as well.


One picture book that I love, and is clearly written for an older audience, is the 2008 Caldecott winner The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brain Selznick.  This is a 500 page picture book.  It tells the story of a young orphan boy named Hugo who keeps the time in an old train station.  No one knows that it is Hugo who keeps the time - it is his uncle's job - and he must remain hidden to keep the job - and thus shelter and food.   But when Hugo crosses paths with a young girl and a grumpy old man from the toy shop in the train station the mystery of a drawing from his deceased father begins to unravel.

The story goes between text and extended pages of black and white pencil drawings with incredible detail. In order to read this story both the text and pictures must be read for the complete story to come together.  Selznick's illustrations are amazing as is the way he combines the text and illustrations to create the whole.

I think this book would be great for children 8 or older and adults.  It is a fantastic picture book. But whether you pick up The Invention of Hugo Cabret or A Sick Day for Amos Magee - I hope you feel as I do.  That one is never too old for a good picture book.  

**  I went to Brian Selznick's website and saw that it is going to be made into a movie directed by Martin Scorsese and will have Ben Kingsley in it as well.


Cara said...

I love this book.

debbie said...

"one is never too old for a good picture book" - I completely agree. One is also never too old for a good YA novel. It drives me crazy when literary critics express surprise at the 'new' trend of adults reading and enjoying YA. The ability to understand and value literary fiction should enhance appreciation of all literature - including picture books - not decrease it. And who doesn't like a good picture?