I had my eye on this one every since Nymth reviewed it earlier this summer. Then I saw the trailer for the movie and knew I wanted to read it before the movie was released. The book itself is quite unique; it combines the novel with a picture book and scenes from old French movies. Even though it's over 500 pages, it's actually a fast read because pages alternate from traditional text to illustrations. Each do their part to tell the story of Hugo Cabret, an orphaned boy who lives in the walls of a Parisian train station, winding the station's clocks every night and working to fix a broken automaton, which he believes holds a message from his deceased father.
What interested me most about this book was not Hugo himself, but the way it paid homage to early 20th century French film. I went abroad to study French film in college, so I found the references to the films and filmmakers most captivating. The novel really captures the magic and excitement that early film evoked. Further, Selznick's illustrations are placed carefully within the book so that when the reader turns the pages, they almost read like a black and white movie. The arrangement of pages and the act of turning them are significant to the telling of the narrative. While I wasn't completely blown away by the overall plot, the medium of the book is so innovative, I think this one is worth checking out.
In a related note, Martin Scorsese directed the film "Hugo", based on this novel. It looks like it has the potential to be awesome. You can watch the trailer here.
Publisher: Scholastic, 2007