What a gorgeous treat!
Do you recognize this still from the early film, “A Trip to the Moon”?
I just viewed it myself for the first time in the last couple of years. It’s bonkers - surreal and imaginative, right? I loved this book because it was a lot of that weaved around a great little fiction of George Melies life and work.
A middle grade sequential art story, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is chock full of secrets and automatons, illusions, magic and BOOKS and dreams, and Hugo - a young, orphaned boy. All good stories need an orphan, right?
Hugo is talented with clockwork and is surviving on his sneaky ability to stay hidden, his hard work and a good dose of broken hearted sentiment. Before his father tragically died he was working on an abandoned automaton found in the attic of a museum, just for Hugo. Hugo just knows that if he can finish the restoration, a message from his father would be found in its completion.
Set in Paris in the 20’s – the mixed media black and white art has a transportive quality - the lack of color does not dull the story and in fact, I think rather enhances it. There’s a somewhat subtle thematic element around dreams and the entire premise floats on your ability to appreciate the wonder. And think about it, do you dream in color or do you dream in black and white?
Hugo’s efforts in rebuilding the automaton, his thievery and run-ins with the old man from the toy booth (guess who!), and his interest and friendship with a mysterious bookshop loving girl who helps him uncover secret after secret, all come together making this a superbly compelling tale. For the curious type of kid, this book also serves as a great little introduction to early film. ;)
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