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Book Reviews (Children's)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Published by Bloomsbury, 2008

Reviewed by Miltown Malbay Library Children’s Book Club

This is a fascinating story of how a living human boy is raised by ghosts in a graveyard.

It begins with a rather scary scene. A father, mother and daughter are murdered in their home during the night by a character known only as “the man Jack”. When Jack reaches the nursery to finish off his job he finds that the toddler is missing from his cot. Jack searches throughout the house for the child but realises that he is no longer there.

Following the child’s scent the man Jack sets off to the local disused graveyard. Luckily for the toddler he is discovered by two kindly ghosts called Mr. and Mrs. Owens. With the help of another ‘being’ called Silas, who seems to realise the danger that the child is in, they manage to send the man Jack away. Mr. and Mrs. Owens decide to adopt the child and name him ‘Bod’ and Silas gets the job of being the boy’s guardian.

Thus begins the story of Bod and his life in the graveyard. In each new chapter we see Bod’s progress through life from infant to teenager. During these years he meets many unusual and interesting characters both inside and outside the graveyard. Ghouls, werewolves, witches, vampires and an evil ‘sleer’ all play a part in making this an exciting and sometimes humorous book.

As was expected ‘the man Jack’ learns of Bod’s existence and returns to finish off the job he started many years before and Bod finally has to take matters into his own hands. It is at this stage we see how Bod has matured and grown up during his years in the graveyard and we wonder will he escape from the clutches of Jack on this occasion.

Most of the members of the bookclub thoroughly enjoyed this book and found that it was a most appropriate read during the Halloween break. The group gave it 10/10.