Hugo-the Novel Before the Movie

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Hannah Costa writes, Hugo Cabret used to live with his uncle in the busy Paris train station, until his uncle deserted him.

Hugo Cabret used to live with his uncle in the busy Paris train station, until his uncle deserted him. And before that he lived with his father, who fixed things in a museum. While in the museum, his father discovered a mysterious automaton- a robot. The robot sat at a desk, holding a pen, as if it were waiting to write someone a message. His father drew many, many pictures, and wrote often about the automaton in little notebooks, one of which he gave his son, Hugo, as a birthday gift. Then, one day, his father was killed in a museum fire. Hugo found the automaton in the rubble of the museum, and took it with him to live with his uncle. Until his uncle deserted him. Now Hugo lives alone in the walls of the huge train station, where his uncle used to work. He is always in danger of being discovered and jailed. Hugo does his uncle’s work, oiling and winding the clocks, and picking up his paychecks, though he can’t cash them in. He watches people through the giant, clear window numbers of the clocks. Across from one of his favoritess, is a toy booth. Hugo sometimes steals little gears from the booth, in order to make and fix things. One day, the booth owner catches him. He confiscates Hugo’s notebook, and everything else in his pockets. Hugo feels awful, because now he can never fix his father’s robot. The next day, the booth owner gives Hugo the ashes of his notebook, which he has burned. However, the booth keeper’s god-daughter, Isabelle, saysthe ashes are not from his notebook. She tells Hugo that she will look for it. Hugo demands that the booth owner give him the notebook back. The owner gives Hugo work to do around his toy booth, telling him that eventually, he might get the notebook back, if it still exists. In the meantime, Hugo begins fixing the automaton himself, with little gears he finds and steals. But then one day, Isabelle falls and he sees that she wears a heart-shaped key around her neck. The automaton has a heart-shaped hole at the back of it’s head. Will Hugo get his notebook back? Will he be able to fix the automaton? Why does Isabelle have a key that appears to fit into his robot? Will they be able to solve the mystery? The Invention of Hugo Cabret:A Novel in Words and Pictures, by Brian Selznick, is 526 pages long, but it is a short read, since about half the pages consist of beautiful, black-and-white, full-page pictures. “Hugo” is set in the 1930s, and is a wonderful story that readers will thoroughly enjoy the whole way through, as they try to solve the mystery. This book has been made into a film, scheduled to release November 23, 2011.