25 January 2008

Caldecott for Hugo Cabret!

Absolutely delighted to hear that this year's Caldecott Medal has gone to The Invention of Hugo Cabret. (Announced about a week ago, but somehow I missed the news...) It's an extraordinary book, and the one I chose every time I was asked for my 'book of the year' for 2007; not surprised at all that I'm clearly not the only one to think it's just remarkable.

If you don't know it, it's the story of a boy who lives in a Paris train station, and about the early days of silent cinema; and it's told in a combination of words and pictures that work together like in no book I've ever seen before. Some of the story is taken by the words, some by the pictures (no page has both), and it works amazingly well, giving you an experience partway between reading a beautiful book and seeing an atmospheric silent film.

Since I was introduced to it I've bought countless copies for adults who've all felt the same way; so go buy it if you haven't already! My mother in London loved it, my friend Monique in Boston, my cousin Antonio in Rio, Susan too... - this one, I think is unanimous.


PS Also delighted that Brian Selznick - the author/illustrator, who I met at Cheltenham for an event together and subsequently in New York, and who is as well as being a fantastically talented illustrator a lovely man - just before receiving the prize found time to write us a little piece about The Borrowers, a favourite of his, for the forthcoming updated 8-12 UBG. Hugo Cabret itself is going in too, of course, recommended by illustrator David Roberts. And the new US teen UBG has also included it, with an American librarian writing "I don't think I've ever read a book quite like this". I quite agree.

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