Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic) won the Caldecott medal late last month, much to the surprise of many who know their way around a picture book. The book weighs in at a hefty 533 pages (very unusual for a picture book); is a novel (first novel to win the Caldecott); and is not a book for 4 and 5 year-olds (the usual picture book audience).
This being said, Hugo Cabret uses pictures in a highly inventive and carefully-crafted way to convey the story of a boy in a 1930's vintage Paris train station and his friendship with a very mysterious toymaker. The detailed drawings are spectacular and add layer after layer to the entertaining and well-written story.
About the Caldecott
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.