Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Brian Selznick
Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Young orphan Hugo Cabret carries on the job of Timekeeper, adjusting the gears and wheels of the clocks that surround a Paris train station, which doubles as his home. Over the months, he has successfully slid under the radar of the station inspector and all other eyes as he continued his quiet lifestyle of stealing to eat and hiding away behind the station clocks. Everything begins to change, though, when Hugo finds an old broken automaton that connects him to his past. Fixing the robot is no easy task, and when a grumpy old man catches him stealing in a toy store, all hope seems lost. He finds, however, that those who seemingly stand in his way may in fact be the key for his future.
This Caldecott award winning novel uniquely combines full page illustrations and text to not only tell a story but to transport readers to 1931 Paris alongside Hugo Cabret as dreams become reality. As readers dive into the story of Hugo Cabret and learn more about early cinema and automatons, it becomes clear that the book itself is formatted as a film and reflects the stories told within. Brian Selznick reveals that just as broken clocks that can’t tell time have lost their purpose, those of us who lose sight of our purpose may feel dusty, forgotten, and useless until we find our purpose in life again.