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The Graveyard Book [Kindle Edition]

Neil Gaiman , Chris Riddell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,270 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?

Editorial Reviews 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

Grade 5–8—Somewhere in contemporary Britain, "the man Jack" uses his razor-sharp knife to murder a family, but the youngest, a toddler, slips away. The boy ends up in a graveyard, where the ghostly inhabitants adopt him to keep him safe. Nobody Owens, so named because he "looks like nobody but himself," grows up among a multigenerational cast of characters from different historical periods that includes matronly Mistress Owens; ancient Roman Caius Pompeius; an opinionated young witch; a melodramatic hack poet; and Bod's beloved mentor and guardian, Silas, who is neither living nor dead and has secrets of his own. As he grows up, Bod has a series of adventures, both in and out of the graveyard, and the threat of the man Jack who continues to hunt for him is ever present. Bod's love for his graveyard family and vice versa provide the emotional center, amid suspense, spot-on humor, and delightful scene-setting. The child Bod's behavior is occasionally too precocious to be believed, and a series of puns on the name Jack render the villain a bit less frightening than he should be, though only momentarily. Aside from these small flaws, however, Gaiman has created a rich, surprising, and sometimes disturbing tale of dreams, ghouls, murderers, trickery, and family.—Megan Honig, New York Public Library
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:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,031 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
236 of 254 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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425 of 493 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The gravity of the situation October 3, 2008
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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98 of 112 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I enjoyed every moment of this book...what a delight to read!
Published 1 hour ago by Thrifty Buyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Writing
Good writing. Did not think I would like this novel when started reading. Changed my mind after a couple of chapters. I believe this narrative is very original.
Published 23 hours ago by DJ
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for all ages!
I listened to the audio version of this one narrated by Neil Gaiman. I loved everything about this one even though I was a little hesitant to start it because I thought it would be... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
I really enjoyed this book it had a delicious whimsical innocence to it. The cast of characters were fun and love able. Neil has special way of weaving in magic to all his books. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Ryan foss
5.0 out of 5 stars So good I read it in one sitting
This book was recommended on a website. I got a sample from Amazon and after reading it, I bought the book. Wonderfully crafted story and a real page turner.
Published 4 days ago by Early Riser
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary good!
My daughter really was taken with the Silas character !
Published 4 days ago by JoZ
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Gaiman Rocks!
If you haven't read Neil Gaiman, you are in for a real treat. This guy is one of the most fantastic writers out there. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Barry Gear
3.0 out of 5 stars lovely but ...
the book was lovely but I was disappointed at the end. It is well written and beautiful but I felt like at the end not everything was resolved.
Published 4 days ago by Doukpe
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
So embarrassed to admit that I got teary eyed at the end. Once again, Mr. Gaiman has transported me to a new dimension of being. A great read
Published 5 days ago by Violetta
4.0 out of 5 stars I mean it wasn't horrible at all and kept me interested
Honestly, I'm not too sure about this book. I mean it wasn't horrible at all and kept me interested. However, something was just off. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Holly
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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 more or less up to date.


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Topic From this Discussion
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
Is Neil doing the voice work for this?
I agree ... I can't imagine anyone else performing his work. So ... good news! According to the HarperCollins Web site, Mr. Gaiman does indeed read this audiobook.
Oct 3, 2008 by Robert J. Massey |  See all 2 posts
Thanks to Neil Gaiman for his support of TTS Be the first to reply
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