Friday, June 11, 2010
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Have you ever been to a graveyard and wonder what goes on after dark when the gates are locked for the night? Let me introduce you to Nobody Owens. Nobody has lived in the graveyard since he was a toddler. He followed his instincts one night when his family was murdered and was adopted by the ghosts in the graveyard. Bod Owens occupies the sphere between the living and the dead. He can communicate with both the living and the dead and belongs to both worlds.
This book is a scary adventure story. It reminded me of Harry Potter and the Jungle Book. I definitely think that Gaiman plans to write a sequel and a movie of the book is in the works. This book will appeal to middle and high school students. I think it will be too scary for the kids in upper elementary grades. The murders take place at the beginning of the book, but there are also lots of ghosts, goblins, witches and Jack. Jack is still trying to find Nobody and kill him throughout the book. It is an exciting, eclectic cast of characters and I loved thinking about what takes place in real graveyards at night that our human minds don't see.
I am totally fascinated by cemeteries and curious about all the people who rest there. When I was a little girl my aunt Sherry lived across the street from a graveyard and it became my playground whenever I came to visit. Frequently we would go for walks there or I would be sent with a cloth, a bucket and garden shears to clean off long forgotten graves. I grew up with a fascination not a fear of cemeteries. Maybe that is one of the reasons I became a history teacher, to learn about all those dead people. What an epiphany!
The Graveyard Book won the Newberry Award in 2009. It is very deserving of the award. The artwork is dark and lovely and fits the story perfectly. This is the second book I have read by Gaiman, the first was Coraline. Coraline was also an entertaining read but this book is far more superior in my mind. I think I need to read one of Gaiman's adult books. Hmmm, which one should I pick?