The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens, called Bod for short, was rescued from an evil man called Jack who had slaughtered all the other members of his family when he was just a baby.  He is bought up by the occupants of the graveyard and learns the vital skills of fading and other handy tricks to prevent mortal people from discovering them.  As Bod grows towards boyhood he explores more and more of his world within the boundaries of the graveyard, including beneath the gravestones and into the depths of the world of the gouls, very scary!  Bod is a character I became quickly very fond of, his adopted guardians and family of graveyard inhabitants, who all look out for him are beautifully written.  There is lots of fun and wit for a grown-up as well as for kids.

This book has been reviewed all over the place by people far more skilled than I, and there is quite a lot of debate about it’s suitability for young readers.  I think I would have read it aloud to my kids when they were little as a scary bedtime story and they would have loved it.  It is gripping right from the first sentence and I just adored reading it, I tried to eek it out so that it lasted longer.  I can’t wait to get my boys at school reading this book, there are some that I know will just adore it.  There is a video you can watch with Neil Gaiman reading from the book and lots of places you can check out the art by Dave McKeen – who works with Gaiman regularly – which is throughout the book.

It is a book to treasure and would make a lovely gift for a young person who loves to read.   Although the very beginning is totally terrifying it quickly moves on to more gentle territory of life in the graveyard.  I heartily recommend it to everyone!

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