Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book

Oh I think I like Gaiman's children's books the best, and I even think I've pinpointed why: he can't be too long-winded in a children's book. He is forced to be a little briefer, and it's for the good. I loved this story about a toddler who escapes the massacre of his family and is adopted by the ghosts in the nearby old graveyard. It's beautifully imaginative, yet has familiar characters - ghouls, werewolves, possibly vampires - that are all given the Gaiman touch. Very scary and doesn't shy away from the brutal truth (the killer wiping the blood from his knife as he goes upstairs to find the baby), and I think children sometimes need to read stories like this that send a genuine tingle of horror down their spines, to process all the horror they read every day in the headlines.

Very pleased. One quibble: we kinda glide over the whole evil guild of assassins thing really. It just suddenly appears and then is resolved. But for a kid's book that's fine.

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