The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book
By: Neil Gaiman

Challenge:  R.I.P. VII

Published:  2008

# of pages:  320

"There were three of them there, then, and Amabella was introducing Bod and he was shaking hands and saying, 'Charmed, I am sure,' because he could greet people politely over nine hundred years of changing manners."

"Really, he thought, if you couldn't trust a poet to offer sensible advice, who could you trust?"

Official description: After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . . 
Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.
My opinion:  It was weird going to the children's section of the library to find this book.  I know that children's literature includes kids in middle school, but it just seems weird that this is in the same genre as picture books.

When it comes to ages, I would let my 5th grader and older read this book.  It starts out with the murder of a boy's family, which is pretty disturbing.  My heart ached thinking of the toddler boy wandering off on his own, even though it meant he was saved. I couldn't help but think of my own little boys wandering out of the house at night.

The book isn't all scary and intense though.  Most of it is pretty lighthearted, actually.  Bod is able to interact with all sorts of "people" from all sorts of time periods.  He learns to speak to adults and learn the truth about historic events from first hand sources.  I love how he was raised by everyone in a safe community, even if they were all ghosts.

The end of the book is definitely bittersweet.  Bod has so many adventures and meets so many people throughout the different chapters of the book.  The novel is a little disjointed at times, since some chapters almost seem like individual stories in themselves, but most of it ties together at the end.

I recommend this to children, young adults, and adults.  It isn't scary, but the beginning is a little and there are intense parts.  It is supernatural, but it isn't over the top or really serious.

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars:  Very unique story; interesting and likable characters; good "growing up" story about a boy who makes mistakes, but learns from them.

Other reviews:
Literary Musings
things mean a lot
Bold. Blue. Adventure.
Bookfoolery and Babble
You Can Never Have Too Many Books

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

1 comment:

marveloustales said...

Sometimes Gaiman's "childrens" books feel a little grown-up... It was in the YA section at my library. I agree this one isn't too SCARY--but a bit creepy in spots. I wonder if the opening chapter would actually be more disturbing to adults than children, for exactly the reason you mention--the idea of a toddler wandering off into the night would probably alarm a grown-up much more than a kid!

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