The Graveyard Book is Neil Gaiman’s latest work for children coming out in September. Now I don’t remember what it was like to be 10 or 11, but his man in his forties loved this novel. No one writes books with appeal to all ages as well as Neil Gaiman. Borrowing a concept from Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which tells the story of an orphan raised in the jungle, The Graveyard Book features a toddler who wanders out of the house and into the graveyard after his family is brutally murdered, and is raised by the spirits and others beings who live there.
Young Bod (short for Nobody) is adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Owens, a kindly couple who died childless, and watched over by Silas, a mysterious and powerful being who is neither alive nor dead. Bod learns the secrets of the graveyard, and things no living beings know. As he grows up, he begins to encounter the living from time to time, and a curiosity is sparked. All the while, Jack, the man who murdered his family, is hoping to correct his failure by finding and finishing of Bod as well.
Gaiman populates The Graveyard Book with all the sorts of mystical and fantastic creatures he is known for. Silas’ wonderful, Eastern European substitute guardian Miss Luprescu is surely my favorite, but from ghouls to witches and other denizens of the dead, there is something to astound and capture everyone’s imagination. Watch for this one when it’s published in September.
Of course, friends of mine will know I’ve got a long-standing admiration for Mr. Gaiman, and about a month ago, while attending BookExpo America in Los Angeles, I was able to meet and hang out with Mr. Gaiman not once, but twice! The second time I even was so bold as to ask to have my picture taken with him. It was a geeky thing to do, and I’m smiling way too hard in the photo, but at least I hvae it. I’ve been reading Neil’s work since the 80’s when he broke into comics at DC with the Black Orchid miniseries. Shortly after that Neil began what has become arguably his most popular work, The Sandman. His work as a novelist began with the riotously fun Good Omens, co-written by Terry Pratchett. He has since hit the NYT bestsellers’ list on his own with the titles American Gods and The Anansi Boys. He has done screenplay work for such films as PRINCESS MONONOKE, MIRRORMASK, and BEOWULF. His young adult novel Coraline has been adapted for the screen and is due out later this year.