Tuesday, December 23, 2008

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman


THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is one of the books being discussed on many Mock Newbery sites. So, I put it on my next read stack. I enjoyed Coraline and heard that this one was even better.
This is my first report on my Newbery Readiness Reading. A few weeks ago, I posted a list of 5 books that I'd like to have read before the Newbery is announced. Well, my pile has grown and I finished the first on the list. I will report out on the books that I do read before the January 26 Newbery announcement. The reviews won't be long because -by this point--so many others have reviewed them. I'll give you my general feeling and a few links to let you decide if the book is worth reading.

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is a great book. It is a spooky kind of ghost story which is not my favorite genre, but I am a character reader and this is definitely a character-based book.

Nobody Owens ("Bod") escaped being murdered as a child when he escaped to a nearby graveyard. The ghosts in the graveyard decide to raise him and keep him safe and he lives most of his childhood in the graveyard. But as he grows up, he wants more from life than the graveyard can give him. He learns that life beyond the graveyard is a scary place but that living life is worth it.

The last 20 pages made the book one that will stay with me. I read this as a mom who has a senior in high school--one that will be entering a new phase of life very soon. Neil Gaiman says that he does not see this as a children's book, although children will enjoy it. It is a great coming-of-age/growing up/letting go story that will have lots of audiences. I am a person who does not enjoy horror and who stays away from things that terrify me. I don't see this as a book that will terrify kids--just spooky enough. But I am also not quite sure about the age range that it will appeal to. There is a depth about it that seems meant for older children. And there are ghosts that can be very scary. I know that my 3rd grader is a bit stressed out by the cover--she has mentioned not liking the gravestone every time that she's seen me reading it. Because I am not a reader of this genre, I don't know how it compares to other spooky tales. But what I do know is that it is a great story with a unique setting that works. Monica at Educating Alice shared it with her 4th graders and posted some of their reactions. I can definitely see why it is making its way into Newbery conversations. (although no one seems sure about whether it is actually eligible...)

Other reviews to read:
Fuse #8's is here.

The Book Swede

Becky's Book Reviews

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