The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard BookI’d heard a lot about The Graveyard Book even before it won the Newbery since it’s by Neil Gaiman, a man who inspires a following like few others.

And then, when it did win, it was heralded as the redeeming book for the Newbery award; it was considered proof that sometimes the Newbery committee doesn’t pick obscure, heavy books, but instead ones that appeal to actual real children and that even boys would like (I know. . .a book boys will like. Who knew such a thing even existed?).

Of course, it still has dead parents in it, so it’s not like it’s strayed ALL that far from one of the time-and-Newbery-honored themes.

the graveyard book by neil gaiman

Anyway, it obviously meant I had high hopes for The Graveyard Book, expecting it to be fun reading. And when the book started out with a murderer named Jack creeping through a dark house, having murdered the parents and a sister and now ready to off the little baby boy, I assumed I was right.

But then it kind of slowed down for me. I kept thinking, “Hmm, what a very odd choice.”

I continued to hear comparisons to the Jungle Book – a series of semi-related stories, rather than one long storyline – and this didn’t thrill me at all. I don’t really like that kind of thing – give me a novel over a short story every single day of the week (actually every single day of my life).

Fortunately, though, The Graveyard Book really picked up in the second half and wow, by the end, I just wanted to weep a little, it was so lovely and poignant and also sweet and funny. The story comes together more tightly and cleverly than I’d expected, and I absolutely fell in love with Bod, the escaped baby boy who grows up in a graveyard, raised by ghosts and the mysterious non-ghost/non-human Silas.

It really was an excellent Newbery choice – you can’t ask for much more in a book than this one offers.

Neil Gaiman, you came through.

If you liked this review of the graveyard book, you might also like these books:

Similar Posts


  1. I’m so glad you liked it, because I’ve got it right by my bed at home–I just haven’t had time to crack it open yet. This weekend, for sure!

  2. While I realize this is a Newbery and probably can’t be too scary, is it too scary for me? I love a good murder story like anyone else, but when it involves children at all I get a little too into it. And hey! My boy loves books! 🙂

  3. I love short stories. They were all I read for awhile. I’ve read quite a bit of Gaiman so I’m sure I’ll get around to this sooner or later.

  4. I haven’t blogged about it yet, but I LOVED this book. Finished it and then handed it straight to my 11-year-old who also loved it. I was a little bit wary at the beginning, what with the knife and the dead family—but it ended up being the perfect amount of scary. I think it was a great choice for the Newberry! Go Neil!

  5. Oh, doesn’t he just always? Well, actually not really, but most of the time I adore him. Also, thanks for commenting on my blog! I guess I’m not just writing to my mom and my sister anymore, I’d better start classing up the joint!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *