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The Graveyard Book

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Graveyard Book (2008) Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens lives in a graveyard.

I’ve known this for quite awhile. You see, I read Neil Gaiman’s blog, and he’d been talking about The Graveyard Book long before he every got around to writing it. So I knew there would one day be a book about a boy who grew up in a graveyard and was raised by ghosts.

I even knew the story came about because his son used to play in a graveyard next to their home when he (the son) was a toddler. So why didn’t I order the book when it first came out? No idea. Then I knew it was up for the Newbury award, and then I knew it had won, and that Stephen Colbert had mocked it, and then Neil Gaiman had gone on the Colbert Report and allowed Stephen Colbert to mock him in person about his book. And still I didn’t order the book.

Finally, I broke down and ordered The Graveyard Book. The almost immediately I read it.

Now I will admit one thing. For some reason I thought The Graveyard Book was more like Wolves in the Walls instead of Coraline. Not that I expected it to be anything like those books particularly. I mean the age groups–I thought it was for a younger age group.

Yes. I’d seen the cover. But don’t forget, I love and own The Boy Who Drew Cats and The Spider and the Fly (and have given both as gifts to young friends.) So I have a very different idea of “age appropriate” than most other people. (I clearly remember being a child, and loved reading the story of “The Boy Who Drew Cats” because the image of the cats fangs dripping with blood was awesome. And really, a lot of the best books for kids are quite morbid. Which is why they’re so good.)

Yes, the book starts with a killer with a knife. Yes, there are scary bits. Bit they’re awesome scary bits–just what should appeal to kids. After all, the best children’s books always have orphans as the main characters–how else could a kid have exciting and terrible adventures? If you have a young person in your life, don’t hesitate to get them The Graveyard Book. It’s just the right kind of book to appeal to kids with gruesome and scary and a boy who is brave even when it would be better for him not to be brave.
Rating: 9/10

Categories: 9/10, Fantasy, Kids, Paper
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