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The Graveyard Book Paperback – September 28, 2010
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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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 --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
From School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—Gaiman's beloved novel gets the full-cast treatment in this new audio edition. Due to ghastly circumstances, the ghosts of a graveyard take in a young toddler whom they name Nobody, or Bod for short. The enigmatic Silas becomes Bod's guardian and makes it his duty to protect the boy from those who intend harm. Bod grows up in the graveyard, and although he is still alive, the Freedom of the Graveyard allows him to see in darkness, fade from view, and slide through walls. As he matures, Bod encounters ghouls, a werewolf, and a witch, but none as terrifying as the man who killed his family and now wishes him dead—Jack. For the first time, listeners can hear the music of the Danse Macabre, the slithering echo of the Sleer, and the transformation of Bod from inquisitive child to self-assured young man. The full cast, including Gaiman, skillfully depicts each character's unique traits and idiosyncrasies. Listeners will also hear some background on the book, read by the author himself, and music by Béla Fleck. A must-have for fans of the original novel and anyone who enjoys engaging fantasy.—Amanda Spino, Ocean County Library, NJ --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Top customer reviews
I've read it before. It has an exotic, vaguely dark, odd feel to it, and yet it captures your attention and makes you love the characters. At the last scene of the book (SPOILERS) -----*******when he leaves the cemetery, I cried my eyes out. (Granted I recently had become a father and a friend had lost their baby so the scene was particularly poignant). I recommend it highly.
Reading other reviews, I see that many people write a summary of what the book is about. When I read reviews, I look for why people like one book over another. Much like picking out the write brand of blender, I'd rather know how reading a good story made someone feel over the plot summary. That's what reading the inside cover of a book or Amazon's little blurb is for.
First, I collect books that I would want my child to read one day and meanwhile will recommend to my tutoring students. I recommend books with a sense of adventure, compassion and and well defined relationships. To me, a great story is all about the relationships. Second, I collect books I will read over and over again until I can no longer get anything new or I can't feel the great emotion that comes from the reading journey. Lastly, I collect books from authors who consistently tell a fantastic story and appeal to my sometimes dark sense of humor.
All that said, I love Neil Gaiman. His sense of how relationships work and the stakes he raises for his characters are always thrilling and always placed in the realm just outside of reality. Nobody Owens is a beautiful simple character whose experiences create relationships for the reader to everyone he encounters in his life at the boundary between living and death. We begin with such high suspense and then while we are still gripping the ride's safety bars we allow the journey into life in the cemetery. Enjoy watching Bod grow into adulthood and you will happily accept the open ended ending.