mardi 27 janvier 2009

The newest Newberry Medal winner

We had some exciting news today when the winner of the Newberry Medal was announced. Drumroll please….the John Newberry Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature was awarded to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. Despite the great number of excellent children’s books out there, I think the Graveyard Book totally deserves its award and all the praise that’s come its way.
It’s the story of a young boy who survives the assassination of his family by a talented murderer. He finds sanctuary at a graveyard where its denizens decide to adopt him. They name him Nobody (Bod for short) and he is given a guardian to ensure that he will be fed and educated properly as the only living boy in the graveyard. But this is only the beginning of his story.
When we first received the book, I thought that its premise was one of the most unusual ones I’d ever come across in awhile and I thought to myself that I had to read it. I’m so glad I did as it is clearly the work of a master storyteller. In some ways, it reminded me of Kipling’s Jungle Book which I loved when I was a kid. Like Jungle Book, Gaiman’s tale has all the necessary elements to take away the reader from the mundane –a smart and loveable hero, exciting plot twists and turns and huge heapings of humor. It is also wonderfully inventive and I wonder how Gaiman comes up with all his ideas. And if that weren’t enough, the book is illustrated by the very talented Dave McKean and his illustrations capture perfectly the spirit of the story.
If you’ve never read Gaiman before, this is a great introduction to his universe and if you are already acquainted with him, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

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