Johnny and the Dead Library Binding – Jan 2006
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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 ›
Most recent customer reviews
Johnny and his band of quirky pals are back in "Johnny and the Dead," the second book of Terry Pratchett's "Johnny Maxwell" trilogy. Read morePublished on April 10 2007 by E. A Solinas
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. Read morePublished on Dec 5 2000 by Kilgore Gagarin
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. Read morePublished on Sept. 20 2000 by Kathleen Cobcroft
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