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The Graveyard Book [Kindle Edition]

Neil Gaiman , Chris Riddell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,060 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard?

Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family.

A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman has created a charming allegory of childhood. Although the book opens with a scary scene--a family is stabbed to death by "a man named Jack” --the story quickly moves into more child-friendly storytelling. The sole survivor of the attack--an 18-month-old baby--escapes his crib and his house, and toddles to a nearby graveyard. Quickly recognizing that the baby is orphaned, the graveyard's ghostly residents adopt him, name him Nobody ("Bod"), and allow him to live in their tomb. Taking inspiration from Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Gaiman describes how the toddler navigates among the headstones, asking a lot of questions and picking up the tricks of the living and the dead. In serial-like episodes, the story follows Bod's progress as he grows from baby to teen, learning life’s lessons amid a cadre of the long-dead, ghouls, witches, intermittent human interlopers. A pallid, nocturnal guardian named Silas ensures that Bod receives food, books, and anything else he might need from the human world. Whenever the boy strays from his usual play among the headstones, he finds new dangers, learns his limitations and strengths, and acquires the skills he needs to survive within the confines of the graveyard and in wider world beyond. (ages 10 and up) -–Heidi Broadhead

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5–8—"There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." So begins the tale of Nobody Owens, a child raised in a graveyard by ghosts. The man Jack, a member of an elite and despicable organization, is sent to slit the throats of an entire family. As he prepares to finish off the last and most important family member, he is enraged to discover that the baby boy has eluded him by climbing from his crib and going out the door. The youngster toddles to a nearby graveyard, where the ghostly inhabitants take him in. Little Nobody (Bod) flourishes in the graveyard, a place alive with adventure and mystery. But he longs to enter the world of the living, a place where danger, and the man Jack, await. What a wicked delight to hear this inventive, sinister story (HarperCollins, 2008) read by multi-talented author Neil Gaiman. His voice ranges from silky to gravelly and gruff to sharp-edged. Those who enjoyed Gaiman's Coraline (HarperCollins, 2002) will be eager to hear his inspired reading of this novel. Winner of the 2009 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Produciton, This captivating production makes the story accessible to younger students as well as reluctant readers.—Lisa Hubler, Memorial Junior High School, South Euclid, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1850 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens; 1 edition (November 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0034C8LZM
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,314 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
225 of 243 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a fun read. It kept me up 'til 7 in the morning yesterday, and I do not regret it a bit.

The story of Nobody Owens--his adopted name, as this is a wee human child spared the murderous spree of a dreadful assasin, then taken in by a cemetery full of ghosts from assorted centuries, and guarded by them because the assasin has not given up the quest to kill him--is unputdownable. Every adventure as he grows from toddler to teenager mixes wonders and frights and humor. It's just such fun to see him learn ghostly ways and interact with humans and nonhumans.

There's so much to recommend in the story (and my fellow reviewers cover plenty, so I need not repeat it), but I agree that the trip into the world of the ghouls was a wild ride. I have to give props to Gaiman for the total magic that he infused into the chapter on the Danse Macabre. It would have been a terrific short story--that strange, strange day--but it worked wonderfully in the tale, showing us clearly a thing or two about Nobody and his mysterious, powerful Guardian, Silas. (His particular fantasy niche, while never said specifically in so many words is , nevertheless, no great riddle.)

The near-end brings Nobody into confrontation with the horrible killer, and Nobody comes into his own, but it costs him. It's a well-crafted ending that is inevitable given all Nobody's learned as the story progressed. If you don't figure it out pretty well in advance, you werent' paying attention.

The bittersweet--but natural and fitting-- ending made me sad as I closed the book. It feels complete, yes, but I so want to see more written on Nobody Owens. I have no idea if Mr.
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412 of 479 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The gravity of the situation October 3, 2008
Format:Hardcover
I've noticed that there's been an increased interest in the macabre in children's literature lately. Sometimes when I've had a glass or two of wine and I'm in a contemplative mood I try weaving together a postulation that ties the current love of violent movies into this rise in children's literary darkness. Is the violence of the world today trickling down into our entertainment? Hogwash and poppycock and other words of scoff and denial, says sober I. But I've certainly seen a distinct rise in the Gothic and otherworldly over the last few years, and one wonders if it's because kids want more of that kind of stuff or publishers are merely getting less squeamish. All that aside, generally I'll read a May Bird book or an Everlost title and they'll be fun examinations of the hereafter, but not the kind of things that touch my heart. Great writing doesn't have to transcend its genre. It just has to be emotionally honest with the reader. And The Graveyard Book is one of the most emotionally honest books I've yet to have read this year. Smart and focused, touching and wry, it takes the story of a boy raised by ghosts and extends it beyond the restrictive borders of the setting. Great stuff.

It starts with three murders. There were supposed to be four. The man Jack was one of the best, maybe THE best, and how hard is it to kill a toddler anyway? But on that particular night the little boy went for a midnight toddle out the front door while the murderer was busy and straight into the nearby graveyard.
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93 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaiman riffs on Kipling's Jungle Book September 30, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Gaiman's latest finds the popular author channeling Rudyard Kipling's 1894 story collection The Jungle Book, particularly the story of the boy, Mowgli, who was raised in the jungle by animals, specifically by his mentors, Baloo the bear, Kaa the snake, and Bagheera, the panther. As indicated by its title, Gaiman's take on the story involves a boy who is raised by the denizens of a graveyard.

Like many ideas he's developed, it is one that occurred to Gaiman a long way back, and stayed with him over the years. In the author's own words:

"Around 1985 or 1986, we lived in a house with no garden, but we had a graveyard just over the run, so that was where my son Michael (three or four at the time) rode his little tricycle. And I remember watching him, and thinking it would be fun to do The Jungle Book, only set in a graveyard instead of a jungle, and that was the start of it. Because I tend to be fairly slow about these things, it's taken me...twenty-two years to get to it."

The first half of Chapter One (which I was fortunate enough to hear Gaiman read aloud at a November, 2007 gathering at the University of Minnesota) describes how a man named Jack enters a house and kills its occupants, except for an infant, a boy, who manages to escape the killing zone and ends up in a nearby graveyard. There, the denizens of the graveyard reach a momentous decision, deciding to raise the toddler as a member of their extended family. After much humorous and heated debate, they name him Nobody, because he's like nobody else in the cemetery. Bod, as he comes to be known, is still in danger, however, as Jack (like the lethal and murderous tiger Shere Khan in The Jungle Book) is still looking for him, hoping to finish his task of eliminating the members of Bod's family.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not Gaiman's best.
I read this just after reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which I thought was much better.
Published 12 hours ago by Overseas Shopper
3.0 out of 5 stars Why? - 3.5 stars
This book opens with “the man Jack” in the midst of murdering a family of four. He’s just offed the parents and their young daughter and is headed upstairs to finish the job with... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Dienne
5.0 out of 5 stars clear winner
You don't need my review to know this is a great book. I bought it for myself and loved it.
Published 4 days ago by zoezoo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
.
Published 7 days ago by Elizabeth C Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Lovely if creepy.
Published 7 days ago by R. Feathers
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wow
Published 7 days ago by ChrisH
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Fun quick read.
Published 7 days ago by Jerry V. Jack
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I LOVED this story. As a middle school teacher, I highly recommend this for ALL students, but especially our students who are interested in something a little darker. Read more
Published 8 days ago by julietqt
4.0 out of 5 stars how can you not love Neil Gaiman!
Wonderful book! Any kids book that starts with a family being murdered, but still is sweet and smart with so much heart is a thing to be treasured! Read more
Published 8 days ago by Morticia Munster
2.0 out of 5 stars Ehhhh
I picked this up because of the title. It's okay. Not overly violent, interesting, or thought provoking. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Scranchella
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More About the Author

I make things up and write them down. Which takes us from comics (like SANDMAN) to novels (like ANANSI BOYS and AMERICAN GODS) to short stories (some are collected in SMOKE AND MIRRORS) and to occasionally movies (like Dave McKean's MIRRORMASK or the NEVERWHERE TV series, or my own short film A SHORT FILM ABOUT JOHN BOLTON).

In my spare time I read and sleep and eat and try to keep the blog at www.neilgaiman.com more or less up to date.

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This is a juvenile fiction book - FYI.
Actually if you look at the recommanded age group for the book, you could've deducted it. And it's quite dark for a children's novel. I just finished reading an advance copy of the book and it's completely amazing, like everything else gaiman writes. I couldn't put it down.
Sep 23, 2008 by Sebastien Pharand |  See all 6 posts
The Graveyard Book -- Enlighten me please
For your first question, it's explained on pages 270-271. Basically, there was a prophecy that said a child who walked the borderland between life and death would be the end of their order if he grew to adulthood. So, Bod was the target. His family was just 'collateral damage', I guess you could... Read More
Mar 11, 2009 by T. A. Kleinhans |  See all 10 posts
The Graveyard Book
The initial chapter is really scary, but then, Harry Potter gets quite dark. My overall feeling is that The Graveyard Book is fantastic--you might want to tell Abigail about how the book was inspired by The Jungle Book. She can think of the killer as Shere Khan! There are ghouls and other creepy... Read More
Oct 29, 2008 by Kate Coombs |  See all 2 posts
The Graveyard Book -- Recommendations if I loved this book?
I live in South Carolina and have been researching The Graveyard for my 11 year old to read. Her school picked it as their fantasy book. My concerns lay in the fact that my husband - her father - died very suddenly at the age of 37 three years ago. We are of the Christian faith and although... Read More
Sep 7, 2010 by Mary Gue Berry |  See all 5 posts
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