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Johnny and the Dead [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

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

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Audio, Cassette, Audiobook, February 1998 --  
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Book Description

February 1998 The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy
Sell the cemetery? Over their dead bodies...Not many people can see the dead (not many would want to). Twelve-year-old Johnny Maxwell can. And he's got bad news for them: the council want to sell the cemetery as a building site. But the dead have learnt a thing or two from Johnny. They're not going to take it lying down ...especially since it's Halloween tomorrow. Besides, they're beginning to find that life is a lot more fun than it was when they were ...well ...alive. Particularly if they break a few rules...

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Living it up with the dead April 10 2007
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Library Binding
Johnny and his band of quirky pals are back in "Johnny and the Dead," the second book of Terry Pratchett's "Johnny Maxwell" trilogy. Pratchett was surer this time around, endowing this hilarious sequel with quirkier dialogue and stories, and snappier writing.

Johnny Maxwell sees dead people. (Yes, like the little boy in "Sixth Sense.") For whatever reason, he sees the dead in their graveyard -- not really ghosts, but not alive either: a crabby former soldier, a distant relative of Einstein, a sprightly suffragette who died in a freak mishap, and a staunch Communist who STILL doesn't believe in life after death. All in all, they are a fairly harmless bunch.

But a massive, mercenary, progress-obsessed corporation has just bought the graveyard for fivepence, and it will soon be razed for new construction. The only people more dismayed than the living inhabitants of Blackbury are the dead ones. So as the dead break their bonds to "unlive," Johnny and his friends will try to save the graveyard from... a fate worse than death?

Yes, it's the sort of bizarre, slightly twisted plot that only Terry Pratchett could cook up, and then pull off. And yes, the same could be said of "Only You Can Save Mankind." But by the time he wrote this -- pre-Discworld -- Pratchett had obviously grown into his skills.

In particular, the Big Message in this book is more subtle -- that money and progress aren't worth anything if they destroy the past. Despite that heavy moral, the handling of it is light and entertatining, such as when the dead Communist calls up a radio talk show host and speaks frankly about being "vertically challenged.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dead alive Feb. 23 2007
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Johnny and his band of quirky pals are back in "Johnny and the Dead," the second book of Terry Pratchett's "Johnny Maxwell" trilogy. Pratchett was surer this time around, endowing this hilarious sequel with quirkier dialogue and stories, and snappier writing.

Johnny Maxwell sees dead people. (Yes, like the little boy in "Sixth Sense.") For whatever reason, he sees the dead in their graveyard -- not really ghosts, but not alive either: a crabby former soldier, a distant relative of Einstein, a sprightly suffragette who died in a freak mishap, and a staunch Communist who STILL doesn't believe in life after death. All in all, they are a fairly harmless bunch.

But a massive, mercenary, progress-obsessed corporation has just bought the graveyard for fivepence, and it will soon be razed for new construction. The only people more dismayed than the living inhabitants of Blackbury are the dead ones. So as the dead break their bonds to "unlive," Johnny and his friends will try to save the graveyard from... a fate worse than death?

Yes, it's the sort of bizarre, slightly twisted plot that only Terry Pratchett could cook up, and then pull off. And yes, the same could be said of "Only You Can Save Mankind." But by the time he wrote this -- pre-Discworld -- Pratchett had obviously grown into his skills.

In particular, the Big Message in this book is more subtle -- that money and progress aren't worth anything if they destroy the past. Despite that heavy moral, the handling of it is light and entertatining, such as when the dead Communist calls up a radio talk show host and speaks frankly about being "vertically challenged.
Read more ›
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