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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It takes a graveyard
Imagine Rudyard Kipling's "Jungle Book"... but replace the animals with ghosts, ghouls, werewolves and other such supernatural creatures.

Such is the concept of "The Graveyard Book," which cleverly turns Kipling's classic story into an exquisitely-written, darkly witty fantasy. While it starts as the assorted supernatural adventures of a young boy raised by...
Published on Oct. 9 2008 by E. A Solinas

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Novel, but not Gaiman's Finest.
From any other author, I would probably be more lenient with The Graveyard book and hail it as excellent work but as all of Gaiman's work is excellent, I must grade this on a curve. The Graveyard Book is fine but of Gaiman's work it is not my favourite. It is missing just a bit of Gaiman's originality and exciting characters. It is an alright novel, probably worth a read...
Published 22 months ago by hyperbeeb


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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, Jan. 19 2013
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Another great read from a master at fantasy story telling. What can you say that hasn't already been said? This story was very quick read. I think I read it in two sittings. While the story was not original (The Jungle Book), Gaiman put his own twists into it and it produced another great read. Highly recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting and Will read again, Jan. 17 2013
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This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
I would definitively recommend for younger readers and for their parents. I love children's literature it allows for a certain escape from some of the harsher realities of the more adult books. Very witty and clever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Grave Circumstances, Sept. 1 2012
By 
Dave_42 "Dave_42" (Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Paperback)
Neil Gaiman has proven that time and again he can write the most incredible and unique fantasy stories. He has done so with comics and graphic novels, as well as novels aimed at adults: "American Gods", "Anansi Boys", etc. and in stories aimed at younger readers, such as "Coraline". These books are not only tremendous wonderful to read, but have been nominated for, and won, numerous awards. "The Graveyard Book" is yet another example of his incredible work. Aimed at younger readers, this book is still enjoyable for adults to read. "The Graveyard Book" was originally published on September 30th, of 2008.

Undoubtedly one of the reasons for his books success is that Gaiman is not afraid to give his readers something different. In this case, we have a story for younger readers that is based on the premise of a toddler's entire family being murdered and the killer coming after the toddler. Yet in spite of such a dark and scary beginning, Gaiman is able to keep a lighter feeling in the writing. He also avoids the traditional happy endings, which means that the reader dare not take for granted how a story will end.

The novel starts with Jack (a.k.a. the man Jack) in the process of killing off a family, the last member of which is a toddler, who has escaped his cot and made his way out of the house. Jack searches for the toddler, but the child has wandered into a Graveyard, where the Owens decides to protect him, and other key denizens of the Graveyard agree to help. The child is given the name Nobody, and the Graveyard becomes his home. Each of the chapters introduces Nobody to different aspects of his home and those that inhabit it. Information which is important for the final confrontation between Nobody and those who want him killed.

The book is like a collection of short stories which have been turned into a novel, and indeed the fourth chapter had been published in the anthology "M is for Magic" and "Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy, and in the form had won the 2008 Locus Award for Best Novelette. The novel itself also has accumulated a large number of awards, starting with the American Newbery Medal and British Carnegie Medals for Best Children's books, the Locus Award for Best Young Adult book, and the Hugo Award for Best Novel. It was also nominated for the British and World fantasy awards.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Neil wows me again!, April 30 2012
By 
G. Larouche (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Paperback)
Neil Gaiman is an incredible writer, and his homage to Kipling's "The Jungle Book" is a gem of so-called children's literature (by that I mean that you can enjoy at any age). The plot follows the young life of Nobody Owens, who after his family was murdered, is raised and looked after by the ghosts and creatures that inhabit an old graveyard. This seems straightforward enough, until Bod gets old enough to start wondering what happened to his family.

Besides giving the reader a very fresh take on the usually terrifying graveyard creature (why can't a ghost be a caring mother to a small baby, after all?), and by depicting children as sharp and resourceful, this rather unique book gives a gorgeous voice to an unlikely story no one could have tackled as well as Gaiman.

It's not very long (I finished it in a couple of days), but it left me deeply touched and happy. I just wanted to hug the storyteller!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jewel waiting to be discovered, Jan. 5 2009
This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
I can add no more to EA Solinas' wonderful review of The Graveyard Book. I sought it out after hearing it praised by bookshop owners on CBC Radio. I was not disappointed. This book's adroit handling of sensitive subject matter (the mysterious murder of a sleeping family)and well fleshed characterization make it one of the best reads I have had in months. Particularly notable in that it is juvenile fiction. Engrossing and highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Graveyard Book, May 13 2010
This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
Like a talented spider, Neil Gaiman spins his dark web. After reading any of his children's books I'm left wondering if I should equate him to Stephen King for kids or Lemony Snickett for adults. A master word-smith, Gaiman creates visions that are darkly tangible; that slip into your mind and play with the focus on your inner eye. At the same time, they touch your heart, evoke laughter and make you loose track of time.

Nobody Owens, a young lad raised by the graveyard folk is confronted by bullys both natural and super natural. He learns to value life, respect his elders ( some of them Very Elder), speak several languages, appreciate the wisdom of his somewhat terse temporary nanny, show bravery and compassion and choke down beet soup.

This is a book worth sharing with your spook-loving kid or Goth grandchild...or just to savor for yourself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic, April 20 2009
By 
Peter Cantelon (Morden, Manitoba, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is an honest book. It is that rare book that tells the truth about living in a way that continues to draw you deeper and deeper into the characters and the story till you don't want to put it down. The book was awarded the prestigeous John Newbery Medal for the most Distinguised Contribution to American Literature for Children and for good reason - it really is an amazing work.

The book tells the story of Nobody 'Bod' Owens, a boy raised his entire life in a graveyard by it's ghostly inhabitants. There are Mr. & Mrs. Owens, who never had a child in life and now have the opportunity to raise orphaned Bod. There is Silas, the quiet, stoic guardian who comes only at night and walks the world between the living and the dead. He helps with the acquisition of food and books and other items necessary for survival. There are many others as well.

Ultimately The Graveyard Book uses the dead to teach us the value (and sometimes the very real dangers) of life. As one of Bod's ghostly friends says "Us in the graveyard, we wants you to stay alive. We wants you to surprise us, and disappoint us and impress us and amaze us."

I had to read the acknowledgements at the end of the book before I realized that The Graveyard Book is really a modern take on the children's classic by Rudyard Kipling - The Jungle Book. This is no fault of Gaiman's but my own thickheadedness for all I needed was a quick glance at Kipling's title for the similarities to come rushing in.

Maybe one of the best compliments I can pay to this book is that I didn't want it to end. Gaiman is true to his material. The book does not end the way I want it to but it ends the way it must - and still exceptionally satisfying. I hope to see more tales like this.

This is a book of adventure and friendship, a book that highlights the values of family, friendship and virtue and ultimately the value of life. I highly recommend it and have no doubt it is bound to be a classic. Best suited to ages 10 and up.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A completely entertaining read from start to end, July 1 2013
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I am a fan of Neil Gaiman, and this book is one of his best. Excellent characters, interesting story. It could even lead into further stories about Bod.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Newbery Winner of This Century, Feb. 4 2009
By 
Nicola Mansfield (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
After his family is killed a baby escapes by wandering out the open door and making his way to the graveyard. A married ghostly couple adopt him and name him Nobody Owens, Bod for short. Nobody then commences to grow up in the graveyard and can see and talk with all the ghosts of those buried there. In fact, he himself is not quite in the land of the living but somewhere between the life and death. He must stay here in the graveyard until he is old enough to look after himself on the outside as the man who killed his family is still looking for him and will continue until his job is completed.

I really enjoyed this book. Finally a 21st century Newbery winner I can rave about and recommend. The story and the characters are just wonderful. I really enjoyed the premise. It reminded me a bit, at first, of Terry Pratchett's Johnny and the Dead even though the plot's are completely different. Even though I don't believe in ghosts and my religion tells me differently what will happen in the afterlife, it still is so much fun to imagine a world of ghosts. To imagine graveyards are full of the people buried there talking to each other. The book is really well written, fun and exciting. I think this is the type of book that will appeal to pretty much anyone, even those who don't like fantasy as a rule. Finally a Newbery winner that *will* be enjoyed through the ages!

My only reason for not giving a full rating of 5 is that I really did not like the illustrations at all. They were dark, hard to see the details and I thought the faces were horrible. They definitely did not enhance the reading experience at all. From looking at covers at LibraryThing I see there is an edition with illustrations by Chris Riddell. Now that is someone whose art I appreciate and I'd love to have a look at those illustrations.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Too Ghoul for School, Oct. 8 2011
By 
Jonathan Stover (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Paperback)
After a run of stinky book and comic-book projects, Gaiman returned to form with this riff on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book that won several major awards, including children's novel honours the Carnegie Medal and the Newbery. Rather than being raised by a forest of animals like Mowgli, young Nobody Owens is raised by the mostly dead inhabitants of an English graveyard.

He doesn't start off as Nobody Owens. Instead, an 18-month-old toddler fortuitously wanders into a no-longer-active graveyard on the same night his parents and sister are killed by a mysterious, knife-wielding man called only Jack. The ghosts of the graveyard and the mysterious Guardian we know only as Silas -- supernatural but not a ghost -- band together to protect and raise the baby they christen Nobody Owens (or 'Bod' for short) over the next 13 years or so. The killer continues to look for Bod, so the child remains for the most part inside the graveyard at all times.

Thankfully, being granted The Freedom of the Graveyard by its inhabitants also grants Bod a number of supernatural powers, though he does have to practice to perfect them. Eventually, he can walk through walls while in the graveyard, fade from sight almost anywhere, and induce a certain measure of fear in others if he concentrates.

Needless to say, all these powers will be needed by the end of the book. Jack's still out there, and he has friends. In a subtextual narrative reminiscent of Clive Barker's Nightbreed (though much, much more child-friendly), The Graveyard Book pits the mysterious supernatural "monsters" of horror fiction's long history against the knife-wielding maniacs of horror's more recent past.

The ghosts of the graveyard are a lively bunch from throughout history -- the graveyard has been active in one form or another for several thousand years. A mysterious but strangely pitiful magical being that calls itself a Sleer guards a treasure cache and a grave hidden within a mound; one of the tombstones is a "Ghoul Gate" (every cemetery has one) through which carrion-eating ghouls come and go from their strange, red-skied land; adjacent to one part of the graveyard is an unhallowed, unmarked grave area in which witches and others were interred. Bod's Guardian Silas has physical form outside the graveyard, and so he can fetch food, clothing and books when necessary.

Gaiman portrays Bod's journey to being a teenager with a lot of zing, sentiment, and cleverness. Homages and references to other works of the supernatural abound, either obliquely in the persons of Silas and the stern but helpful Miss Lupescu, or slightly more noticeably with the episode that involves the ghouls and pays homage to H.P. Lovecraft's odd, dream-like narrative The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. All in all, this is a jolly, engaging book from the writer of The Sandman and Stardust and Coraline, suitable for anyone above the age of 8 or thereabouts.
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The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Paperback - Sept. 20 2010)
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