The Graveyard Book – Literature – Evaluation

The Graveyard Book”, by turns exciting and witty, sinister and tender, shows Gaiman at the top of his form.” – The New York Times (2009)

German middle school pupils are going to have their difficulties reading this book because of all the dialects and old English the characters sometimes speak there. Also there are probably a lot of words that the teachers haven’t taught their pupils in the classroom yet.

There a few events where the reader reads from the perspective of other characters as well, but it is mostly focused on the protagonist. The writing style of the Graveyard Book allows teachers to work on the book with their students in an organized manner, since each chapter can be seen as a short story by itself.
The author describes certain situations extensively in detail which provides the reader with a better understanding of the story. “The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately” (1). Symbolism is a major part in the book.The treasure is guarded by a three-headed snake which is also the oldest member of the cemetery. The tombstone is also a symbol for the identity of each character.

The story is mainly written for children. If a teacher decides to work on this book in class, it would be suitable to use it for the higher classes in middle school rather than the lower ones, since the main setting of the story is a graveyard and it revolves around death and murder.

Also there is the opportunity for teachers to educate their classes about stories of initiation since there are several examples of them in this book.

The protagonist is just a regular teenage boy who seeks adventures and is curious about his surroundings. Probably, many pupils can identify with him, which is beneficial in order to keep the pupils motivated while reading the story.

In addition, this book might inspire pupils to read more about ancient Rome or native tribes on the British Isles since the characters are strongly tied to their different cultural backgrounds.