The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Brian Selznick, Author, Jeff Woodman, Read by
Brian Selznick, Author, Jeff Woodman, Read by , read by Jeff Woodman. Scholastic Audio $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-545-00363-6
Reviewed on: 03/12/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007

Selznick's unique, visually arresting illustrated novel is transformed into an equally unique audiobook-plus-DVD presentation here. The story of 12-year-old Hugo Cabret—orphan, clockmaker's apprentice, petty thief and aspiring magician—and how a curious machine connects him with his departed father and pioneering French filmmaker Georges Méliès is full-bodied material for Woodman. The narrator dives in, reading with both a bright energy and an air of mystery—befitting the adventurous plot. Listeners will likely cotton to Woodman's affable tone and be fascinated by all the unusual elements here, including the sound-effects sequences (footsteps, train station noises) that stand in for Selznick's black-and-white illustrations, which appear like mini–silent movies in the book. Selznick himself takes over as host on the making-of style DVD, in which he divulges his love of film and his inspiration for the book, discusses (and demonstrates) his drawing technique and even performs a magic trick. The "chapters" of his interview are interspersed with excerpts from the audiobook, as he explains how the recording was a translation of both his words and pictures to sound. This inventive audio-visual hybrid will be a welcome addition to both home and classroom libraries. Ages 9-12. (Mar.)

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