“Wistful, witty, and wise—and creepy. . . . Closer in tone to American Gods than to Coraline, but permeated with Bod’s innocence, this needs to be read by anyone who is or has ever been a child.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
By turns macabre, uplifting, sinister, and heartwarming, Neil Gaiman’s #1 national bestseller is an ingenious reimagining of Rudyard Kipling’s classic adventure The Jungle Book. Called a “novel of wonder . . . a tale of unforgettable enchantment” by the New York Times Book Review, The Graveyard Book will captivate readers of all ages with its timeless meditation on love, loss, survival, and sacrifice . . . and what it means to truly be alive.
In The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman has created a charming allegory of childhood. Although the book opens with a scary scene--a family is stabbed to death by "a man named Jack” --the story quickly moves into more child-friendly storytelling. The sole survivor of the attack--an 18-month-old baby--escapes his crib and his house, and toddles to a nearby graveyard. Quickly recognizing that the baby is orphaned, the graveyard's ghostly residents adopt him, name him Nobody ("Bod"), and allow him to live in their tomb. Taking inspiration from Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Gaiman describes how the toddler navigates among the headstones, asking a lot of questions and picking up the tricks of the living and the dead. In serial-like episodes, the story follows Bod's progress as he grows from baby to teen, learning life’s lessons amid a cadre of the long-dead, ghouls, witches, intermittent human interlopers. A pallid, nocturnal guardian named Silas ensures that Bod receives food, books, and anything else he might need from the human world. Whenever the boy strays from his usual play among the headstones, he finds new dangers, learns his limitations and strengths, and acquires the skills he needs to survive within the confines of the graveyard and in wider world beyond. (ages 10 and up) -–Heidi Broadhead