Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Today the movie Hugo is out in theaters.  It is a Martin Scorsese adaptation of Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret - and it looks awesome. In September I heard Brian Selznick speak at the National Book Festival and he said he was very pleased with the movie and that when he met Scorsese on the set Scorsese had his book in hand.  I am reposting my previous review of the book along with the movie clip.  I am hoping that I can sneak away sometime this weekend to see it . . . 

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.  


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Rena J. Traxel said...


I'm new here. I just bought this book because the pencil drawings just blew me away. The movie was okay. I thought the movie was a bit slow, but my husband loved it.