I read “The invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick few years back and then at the end of last year, I finished his other two books. His books are a blend of stunning artwork and great storytelling. In all these three books that I read of his, half of the pages have text and the other half are filled with beautiful sketches which drive the story forward. He blends history, fact and fiction with some stunning art. I have never seen any other author use this unique style of storytelling in a book. Books like these are worth owning just for the artwork. His books are mostly targeted for children but I am sure adults will love these books too.
The invention of Hugo Cabret – 5 stars
This was the first book by this author that I read. The illustrations are too beautiful! Please buy a hardcover copy of this book as even the cover illustrations at the front and the back of the book were gorgeous. If you love art, you will love this book even more. Even if you don’t love artwork much, the story itself is worth reading the book. I never thought the story would be that great. I got this book only because of the illustrations so I am doubly impressed with the book.
This book is about an orphan boy who lives alone in a railway station and repairs clocks. He meets a girl and an old man from whose shop he ends up stealing and then getting caught. You initially think that it is a simple story but only when you read more than 50% of the book do you realize that there is much more to the story. It has references to movie industry and a mystery that you would not expect. What was more exciting was learning that it was based on a real person and is partly a true story. This is one of my most favorite reads ever.
Wonderstruck – 5 stars
Amazing just like the Hugo Cabret book by this author. I regret taking so long to pick his other books. There are two characters, one character’s story is entirely written in sketches (a deaf girl) and the other had text (a boy who goes in search of his father). Their stories get interconnected as the book progresses.
The sketches are so beautiful! I love how this author creates historical fictions after doing lot of research on the topic. Even this book had solid history backing to it. Best part was that the story was based in Natural History museum in New York which is one of my favorite museums where I had spent an entire day. Also loved references to various places in New York City. Now I want to see the museum again, especially the diorama with wolves.
The Marvels – 3.5 stars
This one was not as good as the Hugo or Wonderstruck books but is still a good story. Even this book was partly based on a true story that I was not aware of. In this book, first half of the book only had sketches and the second half had text.
It starts with a boy Billy Marvel whose ship gets wrecked and he ends up joining a theater. After that, the story continues for multiple generations. Then the story switches to Joseph Jarvis who lands in London looking for his uncle. Again there is a mystery in this story that I don’t want to spoil for you.
I am eagerly waiting for a new novel from him. He has also written some other books like The Houdini Box, The Robot King and The boy of a thousand faces. They do not seem to be that popular on Goodreads but I think I will still give them a try someday. I just realized while writing this post that he has illustrated covers for a new set of Harry Potter books which are getting released this year. I so badly want to get these new editions!! :O
Have you read anything by this author? What was your favorite book by him?