I was at the library with my kids when this unusually thick children’s book caught my eye. Someone at the library had placed a Caldecott sticker on the spine, and I thought it was odd that a novel would win an award for its pictures, so I picked it up and was fascinated by the vivid pencil drawings throughout the book. I soon realized that the pictures tell parts of the story instead of merely providing illustrations. The story looked interesting enough for my eight-year-old, and the pictures would keep my almost-six-year-old engaged, so I checked it out.
All three of us loved this book. There was a bit of a mystery, and there was suspense throughout the story in that you weren’t sure what would happen to Hugo in the end. He is a likable character despite his secrecy, and you don’t want any harm to come to him.
We learned a great deal about early theater and how magicians made some of the early movies. The story takes place in a train station in Paris, which provided a unique setting and a behind-the-scenes look at how some parts of the station worked. This book is based on the work of a real person, so we were able to do a little research and find out more about him.
I would highly recommend this book as a read-aloud for younger kids and for older kids to read on their own.