A Cinematic Novel? Brian Selznick's Invention!
So what form did Brian Selznick exactly invent with his Invention of Hugo Cabret? After his dramatic presentation at the last NYC SCBWI convention, Selznick's new book was the talk of the town, so I went to see for myself.
During his SCBWI talk, Selznick himself recognized his debt to film (and his lineage to David O. Selznick of Gone With the Wind fame). Surely, reading Hugo Cabret often feels like watching a movie (the sequence of shots, the black margins suggesting the darkness of the theater hall when the lights go down, the "camera moves," etc.). Besides, the story centers around the idea and the illusion of film. And while the characters could have gained from exhibiting a bit more depth, the sumptuous illustrations and the lively plot and pacing make the reading experience a one-of-a-kind! Brian Selznick's new illusion is a seductive invention!
So how do you call a book that's more like the storyboards of a feature film laid out in a book? In other words, many sequences of illustrated spreads interspersed with text-only chapters and passages? Is it a graphic novel? Nah. A film picture book? A graphic chapter book? How about a cinematic novel? You tell me!