Young Adult Lit/Crit

March 11, 2008

Hugo Cabret

Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — Mandy @ 10:56 am

Yesterday I read the graphic novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick, yet I don’t think of this as a graphic novel. It isn’t in standard book or graphic novel form, but deviates from both. However, because there is so much more text than I personally associate with typical graphic novels, I think of it more as a book.

Although it was approximately 500 pages long, I flew through the book, finishing in about two hours. Probably close to half of the story is written and the other half is in the form of full page pictures, which are simply a continuation of the story, and allow for some individual imaginative play. Further, the pictures are unreal and beautifully done.  Due to the abundance of visuals and the level of the language used, I think this is an appropriate book for younger adolescents, or perhaps reluctant readers. I know I felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished the 500 pages, and I am sure that adolescents will feel the same. Selznick also has some interesting layouts throughout the text with his written words. Some pages are full, whereas others only have 3 lines of writing on each page. Selznick also includes historical information and pictures as well, that work with his story.

The story was also endearing with a “rags to riches” theme. However, it is also about friendship, courage, independence, etc. While reading this book, I immediately came up with an activity that would be cool to do with students. Since there are so many visuals, they could do a writing project or assignment and fill in the missing pieces by using the pictures as clues. While the pictures really do go with the story, I think this activity could nonetheless allow for some individual creativity and fun!

Has anyone else read this book?



  1. I haven’t read the book but it sounds fascinating. So the first half of the book is mostly words and the second half all pictures? How succesful is the transition from one form to the other? Is there a problem with continuity? When you were reading it and got to the pictures, did you still feel like you were reading the same story?


    Comment by scrollman — March 11, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

  2. Nice interview w/author Selznick at the Weekly Reader website. KES

    Comment by sunyprof — March 13, 2008 @ 8:08 am

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