Going to the pictures

This month all your Christmas presents are published. It can be hard to choose, but here is a suggestion.

“What do you make of this?” asked the owner of the local bookshop, somewhat dubiously. So I took it home, again with a mind to eliminate. “It” was Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret. “Looks good” said Daughter. Well, the front cover did nothing for me, but the spine and the back did look interesting.

Leafing through the over 500 pages there were a lot of pictures. 284 pages of pictures, to be precise. So, that’s unusual. And there’s 26159 words, and, no, I didn’t count them. I’ve taken the author’s word for it.

Let me tell you, it’s a wonderful book. If you aren’t spellbound by those pencil illustrations right from the start; well I don’t know. It’s meant to be cinematic, and you’re transported straight into a cinema. The words of the story just help explain what happens.

It’s an old fashioned kind of tale, set in 1931 and based on fact. Hugo lives in the walls of a Paris railway station and keeps the station clocks ticking. It’s the most charming story, unravelling the past of an old man selling toys in the station, Hugo and a young girl who becomes his friend.

And those drawings! They are very, very good, and they completely make this book what it is. I’m doing my utmost to keep it, and don’t want to hand it back.

2 responses to “Going to the pictures

  1. I just picked up “Hugo Cabret” for my sons–what a coincidence! Can you believe how beautiful this book is? And it’s unbelievable that the same guy is responsible for the artwork and the story. Kind of like William Joyce–boy, I envy these guys. Another terrific kids’ book is THE VERY PERSISTENT GAPPERS OF FRIP (by George Saunders with illos by Lane Smith). One of our all-time faves…

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Cliff.

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