Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Graveyard Book

What a fun audiobook!  JP and I listened to this juvenile/YA fiction story on our way to Illinois from Georgia, and it was more than entertaining while driving through a snowstorm.  Bonus: Neil Gaiman narrates for the audio version, and he has a great British accent. 
Nobody ('Bod' for short) is orphaned one night as a 18-month-old toddler.  A mysterious man sneaks into his house and kills the other three members of his family; Bod makes it out of the house by climbing out of his crib and crawling to a nearby graveyard, where he is taken in by a ghostly couple who never managed to have children in their lives.  Bod is given the 'Freedom of the Graveyard,' and can see its inhabitants and pass through crypts supernaturally.  That being said, he is not immune to needs like food, water, and clothing; for that, his guardian, Silas, goes into the human world and brings back what Bod needs to survive.  Each chapter in the novel describes encounters in Bod's life: the day of the 'Danse Macabre' (one of my favorite chapters of the story), his discovery of the centuries-old Sleer that guards a treasure hidden deep in a hill, his young friendship with another human girl named Scarlett.  Gaiman does a great job of imbuing the stories with a sense of the supernatural that never feels over-the-top, but rather humane and just out of our reach of understanding and reality. 
The man who murdered Bod's family is still searching for the toddler who escaped him, and this story line threads throughout the novel.  The man, named Jack, will not stop until the body has been discovered and 'taken care of.'  Keep your guard up toward the end of the book, as not everything is as it appears...
Now, I can't comment on the illustrations, as we only listened to the book.  I can reassure you that this is an excellent audiobook for a long roadtrip, or even broken up into chapters during long walks or runs with an iPod or the like.  It feels more wintery than anything, so you may want to check it out before the days get longer and hot!

1 comment:

  1. You know I love this book - have read it numerous times, the latest for our 6th grade book club. They liked it too - and didn't figure out Salis until the end. I paired it with Edgar Allen Poe and some "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" by Schwartz. Neil Gaiman is pretty awesome! (And it's a Newbery).