The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel: Volume 2

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel: Volume 2 Book Poster Image
Gorgeous illustrations bring fantasy to fitting close.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Though The Graveyard Book is a tale of fantasy and magic, it does instill a sense of wonder about what happens after death. The characters come from a wide variety of backgrounds and historical eras.

Positive Messages

The Graveyard Book emphasizes that families come in all shapes and that empathy and respect are important to both the living and the dead.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nobody Owens tries his best to obey his caretakers' rules and do what's right, but his curiosity and need for action sometime get the better of him. He cares about the people and creatures he meets and tries to help them when he can. He's brave in the face of danger.

Violence

Bod deals with a pair of bullies at his school, one of whom stabs his hand with a sharpened pencil. Later, he is pursued by the "Jacks" who want to kill him, threatening him with knives and a garrote. Bod dispatches them in various bloodless, though still somewhat creepy, methods.

Sex

Bod develops friendships with two female characters, one living, the other a ghost. His relationships with both are vaguely flirtatious but not overly so.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel: Volume 2 is the second half of a comics adaptation of fantasy author Neil Gaiman's award-wining middle grade novel, The Graveyard Book. Although there are some scary and horrific elements, most readers are unlikely to be disturbed, thanks to the warmth and clarity of illustrator P. Craig Russell's layouts and the finishes by four other accomplished artists. Most of the violent scenes occur in the second section, in which Bod and a female friend are threatened with knives and garrotes by the secret society of "Jacks," who want to complete their unfinished business with the boy. Bod also deals with a pair of bullies at his school, one of whom stabs his hand with a sharpened pencil. There's some vague flirting with a ghost, no swearing, and no substance use.

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What's the story?

After spending his infancy and early childhood within the boundaries of the graveyard, Nobody Owens decides that he needs to attend school with other living children. The ghostly members of his surrogate family reluctantly agree, and Bod starts going to class and interacting with two terrible bullies. Later, he reunites with an old friend, who unwittingly leads a murderous nemesis into the graveyard. Finally, Bod must make the transition to young adulthood and decide whether to leave behind the only family he's ever known.

Is it any good?

Volume 2 of THE GRAVEYARD BOOK GRAPHIC NOVEL: VOLUME 2 lives up to every expectation set by the previous installment. Nobody Owens' coming of age is illustrated with wit, charm, and kinetic excitement. P. Craig Russell and his four collaborators do a remarkable job of maintaining a consistent yet flexible vision of the characters and settings. Neil Gaiman's plotting is suspenseful and precise, and his collaborators here do the tale its full justice,

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how some stories can be adapted to different media. What effects can a graphic novel produce that are more difficult in prose and vice versa?

  • How do you define a family? What are common characteristics of a family of any shape or size?

  • When should children begin to separate from their parents? How do you know when it's time to leave your family behind for a while and explore the world?

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