The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book

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Annotation: Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.
Catalog Number: #27007
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
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Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Teaching Materials Receive a FREE Teacher's Guide for this title with a purchase of 20 or more copies of this book. You do not need to add a copy of the Teacher's Guide to your list, it will be automatically included with your order after the minimum number of copies is ordered.
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition Date: 2010
Illustrator: McKean, Dave,
Pages: 312 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-053094-4 Perma-Bound: 0-605-19518-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-053094-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-19518-9
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2008013860
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
After fortuitously escaping the murder of his family, a toddler is taken in by the ghostly denizens of a local graveyard. Growing up in this strange setting entails many adventures, leading to a final showdown with the murderer. Occasional art enhances the otherworldly atmosphere with a flowing line and deep grays and blacks. This ghost-story-cum-coming-of-age novel is both bittersweet and action-filled.
Kirkus Reviews
Wistful, witty, wise—and creepy. Gaiman's riff on Kipling's Mowgli stories never falters, from the truly spine-tingling opening, in which a toddler accidentally escapes his family's murderer, to the melancholy, life-affirming ending. Bod (short for Nobody) finds solace and safety with the inhabitants of the local graveyard, who grant him some of the privileges and powers of the dead—he can Fade and Dreamwalk, for instance, but still needs to eat and breathe. Episodic chapters tell miniature gems of stories (one has been nominated for a Locus Award) tracing Bod's growth from a spoiled boy who runs away with the ghouls to a young man for whom the metaphor of setting out into the world becomes achingly real. Childhood fears take solid shape in the nursery-rhymeinspired villains, while heroism is its own, often bitter, reward. Closer in tone to American Gods than to Coraline , but permeated with Bod's innocence, this needs to be read by anyone who is or has ever been a child. (Illustrations not seen.) (Fantasy. 10 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 58 Somewhere in contemporary Britain, "the man Jack" uses his razor-sharp knife to murder a family, but the youngest, a toddler, slips away. The boy ends up in a graveyard, where the ghostly inhabitants adopt him to keep him safe. Nobody Owens, so named because he "looks like nobody but himself," grows up among a multigenerational cast of characters from different historical periods that includes matronly Mistress Owens; ancient Roman Caius Pompeius; an opinionated young witch; a melodramatic hack poet; and Bod's beloved mentor and guardian, Silas, who is neither living nor dead and has secrets of his own. As he grows up, Bod has a series of adventures, both in and out of the graveyard, and the threat of the man Jack who continues to hunt for him is ever present. Bod's love for his graveyard family and vice versa provide the emotional center, amid suspense, spot-on humor, and delightful scene-setting. The child Bod's behavior is occasionally too precocious to be believed, and a series of puns on the name Jack render the villain a bit less frightening than he should be, though only momentarily. Aside from these small flaws, however, Gaiman has created a rich, surprising, and sometimes disturbing tale of dreams, ghouls, murderers, trickery, and family. Megan Honig, New York Public Library
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly

A lavish middle-grade novel, Gaiman's first since Coraline, this gothic fantasy almost lives up to its extravagant advance billing. The opening is enthralling: “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.” Evading the murderer who kills the rest of his family, a child roughly 18 months old climbs out of his crib, bumps his bottom down a steep stairway, walks out the open door and crosses the street into the cemetery opposite, where ghosts take him in. What mystery/horror/suspense reader could stop here, especially with Gaiman's talent for storytelling? The author riffs on the Jungle Book, folklore, nursery rhymes and history; he tosses in werewolves and hints at vampires—and he makes these figures seem like metaphors for transitions in childhood and youth. As the boy, called Nobody or Bod, grows up, the killer still stalking him, there are slack moments and some repetition—not enough to spoil a reader's pleasure, but noticeable all the same. When the chilling moments do come, they are as genuinely frightening as only Gaiman can make them, and redeem any shortcomings. Ages 10–up. (Oct.)

Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* While a highly motivated killer murders his family, a baby, ignorant of the horrific goings-on but bent on independence, pulls himself out of his crib and toddles out of the house and into the night. This is most unfortunate for the killer, since the baby was his prime target. Finding his way through the barred fence of an ancient graveyard, the baby is discovered by Mr. and Mrs. Owens, a stable and caring couple with no children of their own d who just happen to be dead. After much debate with the graveyard's rather opinionated denizens, it is decided that the Owenses will take in the child. Under their care and the sponsorship of the mysterious Silas, the baby is named "Nobody" and raised among the dead to protect him from the killer, who relentlessly pursues him. This is an utterly captivating tale that is cleverly told through an entertaining cast of ghostly characters. There is plenty of darkness, but the novel's ultimate message is strong and life affirming. Although marketed to the younger YA set, this is a rich story with broad appeal and is highly recommended for teens of all ages.
Voice of Youth Advocates
An assassin creeps upstairs to murder the only survivor of a slaughtered family. But the baby boy is gone. Innocently he has climbed from his crib, bottom-bumped downstairs, and headed outside, before toddling into a nearby graveyard. There ghostly Mrs. Owens, who has always longed for a child, realizes his danger and determines to adopt him. A lively debate erupts among the graveyard ghosts. Mrs. Owens finally gets her way after Silas, a mysterious visitor in the graveyard, volunteers to be his guardian and to bring him food. The baby, formally named Nobody Owens, is voted the freedom of the graveyard and there he thrives, loved and cared for. The freedom of the graveyard bestows ghostly talents, and Bod is taught useful skills like Fading and Haunting. But beyond his safe home there is danger. Bod stumbles into frightening adventures in this world and another, and Silas faces death fighting an ancient Fraternal Order determined to kill the boy. Gaiman writes with charm and humor, and again he has a real winner. Readers quickly begin to care about Bod and the graveyard residents. Bod's encounter with the ghouls is brilliantly inventive. Miss Lupsecu, his substitute guardian while Silas is away, is dry-as-dust strict, a bad cook, and a friend to the death. The conclusion is satisfying, but it leaves room for a sequel. Everyone who reads this book will hope fervently that the very busy author gets around to writing one soon.-Rayna Patton.
Word Count: 67,380
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 10.0 / quiz: 125535 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.4 / points:17.0 / quiz:Q45222
Lexile: 820L
Guided Reading Level: X
Fountas & Pinnell: X
The Graveyard Book

Chapter One

How Nobody Came to the Graveyard

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately.

The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.

The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and the man who held it had slipped in, and wisps of nighttime mist slithered and twined into the house through the open door.

The man Jack paused on the landing. With his left hand he pulled a large white handkerchief from the pocket of his black coat, and with it he wiped off the knife and his gloved right hand which had been holding it; then he put the handkerchief away. The hunt was almost over. He had left the woman in her bed, the man on the bedroom floor, the older child in her brightly colored bedroom, surrounded by toys and half-finished models. That only left the little one, a baby barely a toddler, to take care of. One more and his task would be done.

He flexed his fingers. The man Jack was, above all things, a professional, or so he told himself, and he would not allow himself to smile until the job was completed.

His hair was dark and his eyes were dark and he wore black leather gloves of the thinnest lambskin.

The toddler's room was at the very top of the house. The man Jack walked up the stairs, his feet silent on the carpeting. Then he pushed open the attic door, and he walked in. His shoes were black leather, and they were polished to such a shine that they looked like dark mirrors: you could see the moon reflected in them, tiny and half full.

The real moon shone through the casement window. Its light was not bright, and it was diffused by the mist, but the man Jack would not need much light. The moonlight was enough. It would do.

He could make out the shape of the child in the crib, head and limbs and torso.

The crib had high, slatted sides to prevent the child from getting out. Jack leaned over, raised his right hand, the one holding the knife, and he aimed for the chest . . .

. . . and then he lowered his hand. The shape in the crib was a teddy bear. There was no child.

The man Jack's eyes were accustomed to the dim moonlight, so he had no desire to turn on an electric light. And light was not that important, after all. He had other skills.

The man Jack sniffed the air. He ignored the scents that had come into the room with him, dismissed the scents that he could safely ignore, honed in on the smell of the thing he had come to find. He could smell the child: a milky smell, like chocolate chip cookies, and the sour tang of a wet, disposable, nighttime diaper. He could smell the baby shampoo in its hair, and something small and rubbery—a toy, he thought, and then, no, something to suck—that the child had been carrying.

The child had been here. It was here no longer. The man Jack followed his nose down the stairs through the middle of the tall, thin house. He inspected the bathroom, the kitchen, the airing cupboard, and, finally, the downstairs hall, in which there was nothing to be seen but the family's bicycles, a pile of empty shopping bags, a fallen diaper, and the stray tendrils of fog that had insinuated themselves into the hall from the open door to the street.

The man Jack made a small noise then, a grunt that contained in it both frustration and also satisfaction. He slipped the knife into its sheath in the inside pocket of his long coat, and he stepped out into the street. There was moonlight, and there were streetlights, but the fog stifled everything, muted light and muffled sound and made the night shadowy and treacherous. He looked down the hill towards the light of the closed shops, then up the street, where the last high houses wound up the hill on their way to the darkness of the old graveyard.

The man Jack sniffed the air. Then, without hurrying, he began to walk up the hill.

Ever since the child had learned to walk he had been his mother's and father's despair and delight, for there never was such a boy for wandering, for climbing up things, for getting into and out of things. That night, he had been woken by the sound of something on the floor beneath him falling with a crash. Awake, he soon became bored, and had begun looking for a way out of his crib. It had high sides, like the walls of his playpen downstairs, but he was convinced that he could scale it. All he needed was a step . . .

He pulled his large, golden teddy bear into the corner of the crib, then, holding the railing in his tiny hands, he put his foot onto the bear's lap, the other foot up on the bear's head, and he pulled himself up into a standing position, and then he half-climbed, half-toppled over the railing and out of the crib.

He landed with a muffled thump on a small mound of furry, fuzzy toys, some of them presents from relations from his first birthday, not six months gone, some of them inherited from his older sister. He was surprised when he hit the floor, but he did not cry out: if you cried they came and put you back in your crib.

He crawled out of the room.

The Graveyard Book. Copyright © by Neil Gaiman . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

The original paperback edition of a perennial favorite, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which has sold more than one million copies and is the only novel to win both the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal.

Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place—he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their ghostly teachings—such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him.

Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead?

The Graveyard Book is the winner of the Newbery Medal, the Carnegie Medal, the Hugo Award for best novel, the Locus Award for Young Adult novel, the American Bookseller Association’s “Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Book,” a Horn Book Honor, and Audio Book of the Year.


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