Do you remember reading picture books as a kid? Big pictures, few words? Would you think to read a picture book as a teen or even as an adult? Probably not-I know I sure didn’t. But then a co-worker showed me The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.
This is an absolute beautiful masterpiece of a book! The pictures do not describe the text, instead the pictures further the story by becoming the story itself. You read the words, then you ‘read’ the pictures. The artwork is stunning (and even earned a Caldecott Medal in 2008).
Hugo is an orphan and lives in the walls at the train station repairing and winding the clocks. He makes a discovery that changes his entire life, and the lives of people around him. Don’t be fooled by the 525 pages, this book is a fast read what with the words and black and white drawings.
Next up we have The Arrival by Shaun Tan. In this book, a man leaves his home and goes to a new country to build a new life for his family. (I am not going to go in to too much detail for it would more than likely give away all of the book.) The Arrival differs from Hugo drastically. Where Hugo blends words and pictures to tell the story, The Arrival is completely wordless.
You, the reader, must decide for yourself the story and what takes place based on the pictures. What I gather from it may be slightly different from you. The details bring out subtle ideas-a bent and slightly crumpled drawing of a family says to me it is well loved; someone else may see it as discarded or not cared for.
Give both books a try-you won’t be disappointed!
Till next time, keep flipping those pages!