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Johnny and the Dead [Hardcover]

Terry Pratchett
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2006 Johnny Maxwell Trilogy (Book 2)

Post-life citizens
Breath challenged
Vertically disadvantaged
(buried, not short)

Johnny Maxwell's new friends not appreciate the term "ghosts," but they are, well, dead.

The town council wants to sell the cemetery, and its inhabitants aren't about to take that lying down! Johnny is the only one who can see them, and and the previously alive need his help to save their home and their history. Johnny didn't mean to become the voice for the lifeless, but if he doesn't speak up, who will?

In Johnny Maxwell's second adventure, Carnegie Medalist Terry Pratchett explores the bonds between the living and the dead and proves that it's never too late to have the time of your life -- even if it is your afterlife!


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From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7–In this sequel to Only You Can Save Mankind (HarperCollins, 2005), 12-year-old Johnny discovers that he can see, hear, and communicate with spirits in the town cemetery. The cemetery, the only spot of unblighted land in the town, is about to be bulldozed and developed by a large corporation, so Johnny and his friends set about trying to save it (and its denizens) from destruction. Unfortunately, no one particularly famous was ever buried there, so the boys' publicity plan seems doomed–until the dead take things into their own innovative and rebellious hands, and Johnny finds the courage to take a stand against all odds. Fans of Gregory Maguire's books will appreciate the tongue-in-cheek tone and wry humor, and the quarrelsome yet friendly chatter among the dead spirits is reminiscent of Eva Ibbotson's titles. The plot (kids versus big corporation, à la Carl Hiassen) is tied up rather too neatly, but that's beside the point. Readers will take immense pleasure in the jokes, some broad and some subtle and dry, that come sailing at them from all sides. This book stands alone easily, but after reading it, kids will want the first one.–Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. In the previous volume of the Johnny Maxwell trilogy, Only You Can Save Mankind (2005), aliens solicited Johnny's help. Here Johnny is buttonholed by dead people worried about a developer's plans to bulldoze their cemetery. Assisted by three skeptical but loyal sidekicks, Johnny delves into city history and mounts an eloquent plea for preservation, while the ghosts revel in modern technology and pop culture. Aspects of the telling are imperfectly blended, especially the thread involving Johnny's ineffable sense of connection to a local battalion decimated in World War I. Nonetheless, Pratchett's fans will revel in the idiosyncratic touches, such as the quirky euphemisms for dead ("breathily challenged," "post-senior citizens"), and his thematic juggling act, which incorporates wit and slapstick, philosophies of the afterlife, and a gritty view of a struggling, working-class community ("The point about being dead in this town is that it's probably hard to tell the difference"). First published in England in the early 1990s, which accounts for some dated references, the trilogy was previously available to U.S. readers only in a book-club edition. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't really live until you're dead March 22 2003
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Johnny Maxwell is just a normal twelve-year old kid, or at least he tries to be. Things just seem to happen to him that don’t happen to anyone else—aliens inside a computer game surrender to him and name him their Chosen One, for example (as told in the first book of this series). Compared to that adventure, seeing dead people almost seems rather prosaic. The Trying Times Johnny has been living in have advanced past his parents’ shouting and Being Sensible About Things to Phase 3, which sees him now living with his grandfather. He often takes a short cut to school through a local cemetery, and it is there that he meets the Alderman, the long dead and buried Alderman. His friends Yo-less, Bigmac, and Wobbler can’t see dead people the way Johnny suddenly can, but events soon convince them that Johnny isn’t just fooling around with them. Johnny meets all of the dead people in the cemetery, all of whom are quite put out when they learn that their cemetery, a place which the rules of being dead say they cannot leave, has been sold by the city (for only five pence) to a corporation planning on building office buildings there. Since Johnny is the only human who can see them (and why Johnny can see them is rather a mystery, although the Alderman thinks it is because he is too lazy not to see them), the dead look to him to save their eternal resting place. Stopping a big corporation from doing something the city has granted them the legal right to do is no easy task, especially for a twelve-year-old boy and his friends, but Johnny is wonderfully resourceful.
The ending of this book didn’t have much spark to it, but overall Johnny and the Dead is an even better read than the first Johnny Maxwell novel Only You Can Save Mankind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You don't really live until you're dead July 25 2006
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Johnny Maxwell is just a normal twelve-year old kid, or at least he tries to be. Things just seem to happen to him that don't happen to anyone else - aliens inside a computer game surrender to him and name him their Chosen One, for example (as told in the first book of this series). Compared to that adventure, seeing dead people almost seems rather prosaic. The Trying Times Johnny has been living in have advanced past his parents' shouting and Being Sensible About Things to Phase 3, which sees him now living with his grandfather. He often takes a short cut to school through a local cemetery, and it is there that he meets the Alderman, the long dead and buried Alderman. His friends Yo-less, Bigmac, and Wobbler can't see dead people the way Johnny suddenly can, but events soon convince them that Johnny isn't just fooling around with them. Johnny meets all of the dead people in the cemetery, all of whom are quite put out when they learn that their cemetery, a place which the rules of being dead say they cannot leave, has been sold by the city (for only five pence) to a corporation planning on building office buildings there. Since Johnny is the only human who can see them (and why Johnny can see them is rather a mystery, although the Alderman thinks it is because he is too lazy not to see them), the dead look to him to save their eternal resting place. Stopping a big corporation from doing something the city has granted them the legal right to do is no easy task, especially for a twelve-year-old boy and his friends, but Johnny is wonderfully resourceful.

The ending of this book didn't have much spark to it, but overall Johnny and the Dead is an even better read than the first Johnny Maxwell novel Only You Can Save Mankind.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Odd book not morbid Dec 5 2000
Format:Paperback
My nine year old son has to do an oral book report a week so I'm always looking for things that might interest him. JOHNNY AND THE DEAD fit the bill and was fun for me to read also. For americans, we had to get past the barrier of a common language (Pratchett uses British colloquialisms, not american ones - e.g., lift, Maths, etc.) but actually ended up having fun discussing the use of language. This book is absolutely not morbid and the "vertically challenged" (buried 6 feet under) are far more amusing than scary. I'd call this a book full of sweetness and gentleness and the best of the Johnny Maxwell series (3 total titles?). It's probably more suited for a slightly older reader, but 9 year olds on up will enjoy this work. Addendum: my 3 year old was listening attentively as I read a chapter or two as well!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Save the Blackbury cemetery! Sept. 20 2000
Format:Paperback
In the second book about Johnny Maxwell, a 12 year old who is aware of things most people just don't notice, he finds more than he expects when he wanders into the local cemetery. Fortunately, the Dead are a lot more like old people than the shambling undead that you see in late night movies, and they develop a keen interest in what's going on out there.
I found this book to be more fun than the first book "Only you can save mankind." The dead are very likable, and it raises some thoughts about where you go when you become "vertically challenged." It stands alone well if you have not read the earlier book.
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