Coming in at #53 on the 100 Top Chapter Books List, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is one book that I have no doubt about it belonging on the list. I know that I complained last time about the book being too new to know if it had staying power but, even though this was written in 2008, this story has a true timeless quality to it. I expect that through the years, it will even rise to a higher spot on the poll as more readers appreciate its true depth.
Based on The Jungle Book, a tale that is not on the best list, this is the story of young Nobody Owens who is raised by ghosts (and other nighttime beings) in the local cemetery after narrowly escaping being murdered with the rest of his family. Why the creepy man Jack wants to kill him, an eighteen month old baby, is a mystery. But the Owenses and the other inhabitants of graveyard are determined to protect Bod until he’s old enough to protect himself.
From the Mouse Circus website, this is the list of awards that this book has won —
Newbery Medal, Carnegie Medal, Hugo Award, Locus Award, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book, Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Book, Audiobook of the Year, ALA Notable Children’s Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice, Horn Book Fanfare, Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book, Time Magazine Top Ten Fiction, Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choice, New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award (Vermont)
Not too shabby, right? Well, if I had an award to give, I would bestow it upon this book as well. It’s a wonderfully rich and dark tale and I’ll be reading it with Z in the next year or two. It’s got a little slower pace so I am not sure it would fully engage him right now but I hope that one day it will be a favorite for him.
Verdict: Buy It
What did you think of this book? Am I correct in calling it a true modern classic?
If you would like to watch a video of Neil Gaiman reading the story in its entirety, you’re in luck! That is also on the Mouse Circus website.
Our next read is Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising. If you want to start at the beginning of the series, you’ll want to read Over Sea, Under Stone first (only 196 pages).
Schedule – October through February
note: dates are not necessarily set in stone – posts may go up a day or two before or after
October 31 – #22 The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973)
— 2nd in a series, 1st is Over Sea, Under Stone (also good for RIP VII)
November 15 – #15 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
— many of you have read this recently, I want to read the annotated version
November 30 – #16 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (1975)
— always wanted to read (may pair with watching the 2002 film)
December 15 – #93 Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson (2001)
— trying to read more of Ibbotson’s wonderful stories, this is set in Brazil
December 31 – #33 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (1971)
— a childhood favorite (will pair with watching the 1982 film, another favorite)
January 15 – #75 The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright (1941)
— a new-to-me book, 1st in a series
January 31 – #10 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1977)
— first time reading on my own, was read to us by teacher in 6th grade
February 15 – #25 The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (1995)
— new to me, a great read for Black History Month