The Invention of Hugo Cabret is the first book I've read this year -- admittedly I have not yet read many -- that I really believe belongs on our Mock Newbery reading list. The presentation of this mystery novel is fascinating, with not only excellent storytelling through the text, but also through the use of full page drawings and stills from old films. It's unlike any book I've read recently. Hugo's character was very well developed and believable; I really cared what happened to him and his automaton. I was captivated by this book and would love to hear what others think of it.
An interesting premise. I enjoyed the inclusion of still shots from old movies. The mystery portion didn't work that well for me, but I loved the book's concept. I want to see the automaton draw pictures.
Much as I enjoy this book, I wonder whether it is eligible for the Newbery Award. The criteria for the award, www.ala.org/ala/alsc/awardsscholarships/literaryawds/newberymedal/newberyterms/newberyterms.htm states "The committee is to make its decision primarily on the text. Other aspects of a book are to be considered only if they distract from the text. Such other aspects might include illustrations, overall design of the book, etc." The pictures certainly do NOT distract, instead they are an integral and important part of the book.
I agree that it is doubtful for the Newbery for the very reasons you state. I didn't try to read the book with text alone. Most of the pictures build up the suspense, visually, but might not be required for the telling of the story. I will have to check out the book again, reading the text (and mostly skipping the pictures) and comment again.
Post by Brian Fahey on May 10, 2007 12:51:55 GMT -5
I agree that the text can not carry the book by itself. The pictures are integral to the narrative, and whether or not it is Newbery eligible I think it's a great concept for a book. I talked to the author a few weeks ago at a bookstore and we had a good chat about the book. The kids in my fifth grade class love the book. Several of them borrowed it from the library or bought the book because they didn't want to wait for me to finish reading it aloud.
Post by Linda Zielinski on Jun 13, 2007 11:31:55 GMT -5
:)I always enjoy Brian Selznick's work. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to everyone. I agree that it is not a Newbery book but a beautiful marriage of words and pictures. A true "children's book" that Brian has masterfully and uniquely illustrated to capture and hold your attention to the very end. I also think it is a great confidence booster to kids when they finish 500+ pages and discover they can actually enjoy a book this large. I will be looking forward to Brian's next creation!
I loved how the pictures were an integral part of the storytelling, and including the movie stills was great because it gives kids (and me) a chance to actually see what the author is talking about. How Selznick ever came up with this invention I'll never know, but it is a great one.
I've just read the first few pages of text and, even though I thought I'd try the text first, without paying attention to the illustrations, it is already clear that method of reading won't work.
Whether it can qualify as a Newbery book or not, I do believe it is one of those we often speak of that will have to be promoted by adults to children--it's thickness might be too daunting for many kids to pick it off the shelf on their own.