Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Brian Selznick)

I'm not one to re-read books very often. I have read this book a number of times though and love it every time. I have done this as a read-aloud before (good thing for smart boards where you can easily show all the pictures!) and this year I decided to do it as a novel study. I have done other Brian Selznick books before. It has always been a fantastic experience. The tricky part is getting enough copies of the book. It is an expensive book to buy so I haven't even dared ask the school to buy a class set. Instead, the Calgary Public Library kindly got enough copies that we could share a book amongst two students. It was wonderful!

I love it how kids take more care with illustrations. In this book you cannot ignore the illustrations. They tell the story as much as the words do, and sometimes tell you parts of the story the words have not told you.

Most of my students have not read a book as big as this one (although many claim they have...they are really moreso in the Geronimo Stilton mode as a whole, it seems). This one is a great stretcher and hopefully they will go on to read Wonderstruck and The Marvels this summer.

Recently, I have been reading Notice and Note and have tried to implement its strategies when I'm reading. I definitely plan to start using these strategies next year with book club.

Some of my favorite quotes and some of the Notice and Note signposts I noticed:

This is a great look into how we often can't know everything about someone else. Sometimes people do things that seem mean and they would totally not give themselves the same label because they have reasons for what they're doing.
p. 168 Hugo blinked. He had never thought of himself as mean before. The old man was mean, not him. Hugo had no choice...he had to keep secrets, but he couldn't explain this to the girl.

Again and again (Everytime Hugo is about to steal something he tubs his buttons):
p. 186  Hugo continued flipping through the book, seeing if there was anything at all about automata, but the book was silent on the subject. Still, Hugo wanted it very much. He knew that Monsieur Labisse lent books to Isabelle, but Hugo didn't want to just borrow this one. He wanted to own it.
He slipped it under his arm and inched toward the door. He rubbed the remaining buttons on his jacket...

Ah ha moment (Hugo and Isabelle realize maybe they can help Papa Georges find happiness):
p. 374 "Did you ever notice that all machines are made for some reason?" he asked Isabelle. "They are built ot make you laugh, like a mouse here, or to tell the time, like clocks, or to fill you with wonder, like the automaton. Maybe that's why a broken machines always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do."
Isabelle picked up the mouse, wound it again, and set it down.
"Maybe it's the same with people," Hugo continued. "If you lose your's like you're broken."

then on p. 494 Isabelle and Hugo find out that Papa Georges was the one who painted an interesting picture of Prometheus that they saw. He says: "Then you know that Prometheus was rescued in the end. His chains were broken, and he was finally set free." The old man squinted one of his eyes and added, "How about that."

Goodreads summary:

Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. 

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