Parents' Guide to

The Graveyard Book

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Tale of boy raised by ghosts is both creepy and warmhearted.

Book Neil Gaiman Horror 2008
The Graveyard Book Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 26 parent reviews

age 17+
age 15+

My child is talking to the walls

My son is now talking to the walls after reading this, other than that it's alright

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (26 ):
Kids say (36 ):

This graveyard-set, ghost-filled award-winner is more touching than scary, and just as much a coming-of-age story as it is a delightful and sumptuous horror-fantasy. We see Bod grow from toddler to 15-year-old ready for the world. He experiences all the growing pains of regular childhood along with some unique dangers like kidnappings through ghoul gates and barrows with cursed Anglo-Saxon treasure. He's got a stellar guardian in Silas, a towering undead character depicted by Dave McKean's expressive line drawings almost like he's hovering over the consecrated ground in long black robes. Silas would be truly scary if he wasn't full of wisdom and patience for Bod's many questions and concerns. Their many conversations are full of meaning, especially when Bod asks questions that most kids not raised in a graveyard wouldn't even think of at such a young age. When Silas explains to Bod about suicide, Bod asks, "Are they happier dead?" Silas' answer is, "Sometimes. Mostly, no. It's like the people who believe they'll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, who learn it doesn't work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you."

On to the sumptuous horror-fantasy world of The Graveyard Book. Two chapters stand out as master classes in compelling fantasy writing: "The Hounds of God" and "Danse Macabre." "The Hounds of God" depicts Bod's most dangerous misadventure, traveling through a ghoul-gate with hungry ghouls. It's two parts creepy, one part ridiculous. The ghouls have names like the Duke of Westminster and the 33rd President of the United States, and they swing Bod around like hyper monkeys. Bod's rescue is satisfying and unexpected. In "Danse Macabre," Old Town and the graveyard are in a trance when rare flowers bloom. The living and the dead come together in a joyous way for just one night. The storytelling is all mystery and atmosphere and wonder. When fantasy is all those things it deserves to win all the great awards, just as The Graveyard Book has done.

Book Details

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