It's a rare day when my middle grader boys beg for a book, but beg they did to spend some Christmas money on Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was dubious, as the book is so thick it makes the later Harry Potter books look slim in comparison, but buy it they did, and everyone able to read middle grade in this house has read it now.::: The Plot :::The Invention of Hugo Cabret takes place in Paris, in 1931. Hugo is an orphan who has been take in by his alcoholic uncle, and the uncle trains Hugo to do his job: keep the clocks in the train station running. When the uncle disappears, Hugo keeps things going, afraid he will be discovered and shipped off to an orphanage. He must stay in the train station, because he is stealing toys he uses for parts in fixing an automaton his father had been working on before his death.When Hugo is caught by the toy shop owner, he loses his father's book of drawings, and the automaton is his only link back to his father. He has to get it back and finish the automaton, hoping his father has left him a final message, which will be written by the complicated robotic mechanism.::: Brilliant :::The reason The Invention of Hugo Cabret is so huge is because it's a graphic novel: 26,000 words of text and full-size pictures. Unlike the typical graphic novel, which tends to resemble a comic book in form, Selznick has created an elaboriate picture book that is a true homage to movies. It's not surprising a movie based on the book received Oscar nominations, because Selznick's love of film is obvious both in the story as well as in the illustrations.I have two children who love to read, and two reluctant readers. Everyone, except the first-grader, who may be ready for Hugo in another year or so, has read, devoured, and loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and they are dying to see what Selznick's next book is like. If that can't convince you to read this book now, nothing else will.