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The Graveyard Book

A fantasy novel for young adults written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean.

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The grave necessities

  • Mar 19, 2009
  • by
Look for the grave necessities
The basic grave necessities
Forget about the living and their strife
I mean the grave necessities
Old Mother Nature's returnees
That bring the grave festivities to life

(Adapted from "The Bare Necessities" - The Jungle Book)

This award-winning novel is actually a collection of related short stories that trace the life of an orphaned boy raised by the inhabitants of a graveyard.

An unlikely survivor of the mass murder that plucked his family from the land of the living, the baby boy is adopted by a deceased cabinet-maker and his wife, and given the name "Nobody" or "Bod" for short. An intervention by the "Lady on the Grey" and the guardianship of a non-reflecting night prowling inhabitant named Silas ensures his safety behind the cemetery gates, with some cool benefits like night vision, fading, haunting and dream-walking.

The humorous, enthralling and sometimes spine-tinglingly macabre stories tell of Bod's various expeditions into the world of the living, as well as his adventures with the dead and undead, and of course there's the whole plot behind the murder of his family to be dealt with.

Another winner from the master of the parallel universe, and highly recommended. Book me a seat for the upcoming movie.

Amanda Richards, March 18, 2009

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More The Graveyard Book reviews
review by . July 13, 2010
Perfectly-paced storytelling from Neil Gaiman and stark illustrations from Dave McKean combine to make this a fantastic, enjoyable quick read. I have always found that McKean's art evokes imagery from Gaiman's tales incredibly well, with their sharp, almost woodcut-seeming black lines, and this is certainly the case in The Graveyard Book, as in Coraline.      Though the story opens with serious action, it takes a bit of reading before one becomes truly absorbed by the …
Quick Tip by . March 24, 2011
I've always been fond of slightly dark fantasy adventures about children, whether written by Lewis Carroll, Edward Gorey, Roald Dahl, or J.K. Rowling. Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book is certainly of that same vein and is worthy to sit upon the bookshelf among those authors mentioned above. The novel is a Gothic coming of age story, modeled on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, and tells the story of a young boy, Nobody Owens, whose family was murdered when he was a baby and as a result …
review by . November 29, 2010
Once again, with imaginative and narrative skill, Neil Gaiman has created a children's book unlike any other. At once gothic and phantasmagoric, it is still, at heart, a children's story with perhaps a literary nod to C.S. Lewis and H.P. Lovecraft.     At the beginning of the story a murder happens which leaves the lone survivor-a male toddler-moving out into the open towards a cemetery which is inhabited by a band of spirits from all generations. Once in the graveyard, the spirit …
review by . November 28, 2010
Entertaining and enjoyable
First I want to say how wonderful it was to listen to Neil Gaiman narrate this audio. I love his wry humor and wit, and this book doesn't disappoint.   The Graveyard Book was like a darker combination of Harry Potter and the Jungle Book. A coming of age story where a small boy Nobody Owens finds himself orphaned and being raised by a graveyard full of ghosts and 1 possible vampire (this is never really made clear) while being hunted by an assassin with a keen sense of smell. I was …
review by . July 02, 2010
The concept of this story is refreshingly unique considering the current trend of writing about monsters and death.  The life of the protagonist as he grows up in the graveyard, makes for an interesting story, but the other characters are what make this book a must read.  The book also takes the reader into other worlds as we travel along learning life lessons with Nobody Owens.  This book is not just for kids, its a great read for all ages.
review by . August 30, 2010
Pros: Interesting idea.     Cons: Weak storyline.     The Bottom Line: If this were a meal, it would be missing a lot of meat and potatoes.     Sometimes I wonder if I must be missing something when it comes to some of the books I read.  I enjoyed Hyperion while everyone around me went nuts trying to read it.  American Gods grated endlessly on my nerves while others raved about it.  I guess in the end it just depends upon …
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
Changed the food industry!
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
This is a an engaging, interesting story. I was always together with Bod. The ending in a way disappointed me, but it also made me feel food since it was unexpected and that's what you expect from great writers.
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
I was a little disappointed by the end, but the overall story was good, and the writing kept me going without any problem.
Quick Tip by . May 19, 2010
This is a kids' book? Yep - and good stuff, too!
About the reviewer
Amanda Richards ()
I write reviews for a hobby. Most of my reviews are short and to the point, on account of my short attention span. I try to make my reviews both informative and entertaining, and sometimes I succeed. … more
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About this book


The Graveyard Book is a young adult fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. The story is about a boy named Nobody Owens, whose family is killed by a mysterious man named Jack, and who is subsequently adopted and raised by the occupants of an old graveyard. Gaiman's first full-length children's novel since the bestselling and widely acclaimed Coraline, The Graveyard Book won the 2009 Newbery Award.
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ISBN-10: 0060530928
ISBN-13: 978-0060530921
Author: Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Harpercollins Childrens
Date Published: October 01, 2008
Format: Novel
First to Review

"Deliciously Different"
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