The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an American historical fiction book written and illustrated by Brian Selznick and published by Scholastic. The hardcover edition was released on January 30, 2007, and the paperback edition was released on June 2, 2008. With 284 pictures between the book's 526 pages, the book depends as much on its pictures as it does on the words. Selznick himself has described the book as "not exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things". The book won the 2008 Caldecott Medal, the first novel to do so, as the Caldecott Medal is for picture books.
The book's primary inspiration is the true story of turn-of-the-century French pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès, his surviving films, and his collection of mechanical, wind-up figures called Automata. Selznick decided to add an Automaton to the storyline after reading Edison's Eve by Gaby Wood, which tells the story of Edison's attempt to create a talking wind-up doll. Méliès owned a set of automata, which were sold to a museum but lay forgotten in an attic for decades. Eventually, when someone re-discovered them, they had been ruined by rainwater. At the end of his life, Méliès was destitute, even as his films were screening widely in the United States. He sold toys from a booth in a Paris railway station, whence the setting of the story. Selznick drew Méliès's real door in the book, as well as real columns and other details from the Montparnasse railway station in Paris.