Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Graveyard Book

By Neil Gaiman

Rated: PG

I am writing this two days before Halloween and thus it seemed appropriate to write about something a bit spooky. What better than a graveyard? And this book is about a little boy who grows up in a graveyard. When Nobody is just a toddler, a mysterious man named Jack kills his parents and sister and, if plans had worked out, Nobody would have died as well. But by good fortune, Nobody wandered out the open door and ended up in an old graveyard down the street where he is protected from the man Jack who so desperately wants him dead. Here Nobody Owens stays, raised by Mistress and Mister Owens, ghosts from long ago who have taken him in as their own, and his self-appointed guardian Silas, who is neither alive nor dead but something in between. Nobody is given "Freedom of the Graveyard" and walks a unique line between the living and the dead as he grows up. Of course, a graveyard provides excellent opportunities for exploring and mischief and when Nobody gets away from classes with his various dead tutors, he finds plenty in hill crypts with hissing guardians, ghoul gates, and a witch. His greatest and most dangerous adventures, however, come when he sneaks into the forbidden world outside the graveyard. In the end, the evil that has never stopped searching for him comes calling and Nobody must defeat his enemy in order to truly live.

I really enjoyed this book. Nobody is a likeable character and his interactions with his extended ghost "family" are adorable. It is well written although at times it almost seems like a collection of short stories about Nobody's life than a single flowing storyline but it all comes together quite nicely in the end. There is some infrequent mild British swearing. This book is rated PG because Jack may be a little bit scary for sensitive readers. He's really the only truly creepy part of the story. In fact, the book starts with Jack walking up the stairs to kill the toddler Nobody after killing his family. But the book is not gory and the plot line with Jack is resolved without further bloodshed. Also, and very importantly, the book does not leave you feeling scared or bad. Mostly it is just a charming read with a bit of adventure thrown in. I think it will fine for most tweens but if you want a quick check for your child, I suggest reading the first few pages and pages 265-285 as they are the ones that have the creepiest scenes with Jack.

clean books, books that are clean, clean book reviews, clean books for tweens