What’s it all about?:
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.
What did I think?:
Shockingly to some people I’m sure, this was my first foray into the magical world of Neil Gaiman! The Graveyard Book was our August read for Beth and Chrissi do Kid Lit 2015 and I’m so, so glad we picked it. Warning – this book probably isn’t suitable for much younger readers as there are some scary moments that young children might find a bit too much to take. Consider the opening: a man called Jack is methodically making his way through a family home, knife in hand (for reasons we do not know as yet) and ends up killing the entire family save for one toddler who manages to escape into a graveyard. Yikes. The spooks are quite amused by this living creature turning up and are aware of the danger he is in so by a ghosty vote decide to look after and protect the child themselves. Mr and Mrs Owens are to be the boy’s parents, and a man called Silas (who flits between both the living and the dead) is to be his guardian. They name the child Nobody, or Bod for short.
The rest of the novel follows Bod as he grows up in the graveyard, including his adventures with the undead, lessons on how to “fade,” walk through walls and world history. Which by the way is much more accurate when you can actually speak to the people who were there at the time! Bod even goes to school outside the graveyard for a short period, cut short when he witnesses bullying and decides to give the bullies a taste of their own medicine. In doing this, unfortunately Bod has brought a lot of attention to himself which is not something his guardian Silas wants. Especially as the man called Jack is still out there and still hunting Bod down as the child he failed to kill.
Oh my goodness, what can I say about this book? First of all, the idea – so unique and kooky and I really loved the idea of a child growing up in a graveyard protected by centuries-old spooks that both look after and teach him. I loved the character of Bod, he was so unusual (which is what you get when you’re raised by ghosts I suppose?) and so fiercely moral. The way he stood up to school bullies was wonderful and at times, side-splittingly funny as he reversed the roles and gave them a taster of what it would be like to be afraid. This is also a great anti-bullying statement from Neil Gaiman and almost made me wish we had those tools at our disposal in today’s schools! Finally, the illustrations in this book from Chris Riddell were fantastic and complimented Neil Gaiman’s words beautifully. This is my first Neil Gaiman but it definitely won’t be my last. In fact, after I finished this book, I immediately downloaded all his other work, that’s how good it was. Read it, suspend your disbelief and just enjoy!
To see Chrissi’s fabulous review, visit her blog HERE.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):