Hugo Cabret is an orphan living in the walls of a Paris train station doing his utmost to stay alive and undiscovered. He has in his possession two items from his deceased father: a broken mechanical man (or automata) and his father's notebook containing sketches on how to fix it. Hugo believes the pen-holding automata, when repaired, will write a message from his father intended for Hugo alone. Determined to perform the repairs, Hugo steals parts from an elderly toymaker only to uncover an even greater mystery than his own.
I bought The Invention of Hugo Cabret simply for it's notoriety: it was a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal. I wanted to have the book that had reputedly changed the face of children's book publishing forever. As I read, I was awestruck by the inextricable use of words and illustration. I found myself wishing I were a writer-illustrator with the freedom to go non-verbal whenever the spirit and story moved me. I can't say the tale, itself, will become a personal favourite, but its telling is unprecendented and an experience I won't soon forget.
Bravo, Mr Selznick.