Spooky Stories by Neil Gaiman

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Do you like spooky stories?

Neil Gaiman is one of the spookiest writers around, although he also writes funny stories for kids and grown-ups.

I just finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.The main character is a boy who escapes, as a toddler, from the evil man Jack who kills his family. Nobody Owens is adopted by ghosts in the graveyard. He grows up among the tombstones and crypts. "Bod" has special cemetary privileges, such seeing in the dark. He learns magical things, such as willing himself to be almost invisible. One of his tutors is a werewolf. Bod learns how to fight ghouls and cope with the strange creature called the Sleer. When he tries to deal with flesh-and-blood bullies at a nearby school, however, he discovers that good intentions can lead to unexpected problems.

But the man Jack is on his trail--one day, Bod must confront the man who stalks him still.

What are your favorite spooky tales?

Yours with snorts,

S. Will Burr signature

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The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish
By Gaiman, Neil
Illustrator McKean, Dave

"I'll swap you my dad," I said.
"Oh-oh," said my little sister.

What if you wanted your best friend's two goldfish so much that you'd swap anything for them, even your father?

What if your mother came home and found out what you'd done?

"The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish" is a hilarious adventure and was the first book for younger readers from the acclaimed author and illustrator of the "New York Times" best-sellers "The Wolves in the Walls" and "Coraline." Chosen as one of "Newsweek" magazine's Best Children's Books of the Year, "The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish" is beloved by readers of all ages. This new edition features brand-new jacket art and an afterword by the author on the origins of this unique and wonderfully funny story.

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The Wolves in the Walls
By Gaiman, Neil
Illustrator McKean, Dave

CCBC Choices - 2004
“Spectacular… atmospheric, sinister, scary, and funny… This is a book for cool kids who will grow up to be fearless.”

Cooperative Children's Book Center Review: No one believes Lucy when she tells her family that the sounds she hears in the walls are wolves. "They were hustling noises and bustling noises They were crinkling noises and crackling noises. They were sneaking, creeping, crumpling noises." Besides, each member of her family says, "You know what they say...If the wolves come out of the walls, then it's all over." When Lucy turns out to be right, her family's life is turned upside down. Driven from their home, her parents and brother contemplate where they might go. But Lucy doesn't want to leave her home. For her, the only solution is to go back-to live in the very walls the wolves once occupied. In that cramped space, listening to the wolves wreak havoc as they smear her mother's homemade jam on the walls, play her father's second best tuba, and party like the animals they are, Lucy and her family are pushed beyond their limits. It is in that moment that they find the courage to reclaim their home. Neil Gaiman's inventive, original story is eerie, ominous and funny, alternately understated and over-the-top with its humor. Gaiman's wonderful language and finely paced storytelling are complemented by Dave McKean's haunting illustrations that heighten each mood with every turn of the page.

© 2004, All rights reserved, Cooperative Children's Book Center

Book cover
By Gaiman, Neil

Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better)--but there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Coraline will have to fight with all her wits if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.

Publisher Comments
The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring....

In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it's different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to "change" her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

Critically acclaimed and award-winning author Neil Gaiman will delight readers with his first novel for all ages.

Book cover
Anansi Boys
By Gaiman, Neil

2006 British Fantasy Society Winner
Alex Award Winner - 2006
BookPage Notable Title
Charlie's dad wasn't just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spirit of rebellion able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. When he dies on a karaoke stage, things get very interesting for Charlie.

Caught in a brother’s web
Review by John Green
Anansi Boys is, at least for this reviewer, altogether unexpected. Since author Neil Gaiman seemed to be returning to the world of his acclaimed novel American Gods, surely he would include the book’s scruffy protagonist, Shadow? The reader soon discovers, however, that Anansi Boys claims only to take place in the same universe, and the only apparent common character in the two books is Anansi himself, the African trickster god.

The story follows, for the most part, a particular son of Anansi referred to as Fat Charlie -- he earned the nickname because his father once called him that, and Anansi's names for things tend to stick. Fat Charlie has pretty much almost convinced himself that life is good. He has an okay job, an okay fiancée. Things are okay. What more could he want? But, of course, things don't stay okay for long, and soon Fat Charlie has to take things into his own hands (for once), to get his life back in the first place and back on track in the second. But the track on which he ends up is completely different from the track on which he started, and the novel is all about this switching of tracks.

After Anansi dies (sort of), a quirky and energetic go-getter shows up claiming to be Fat Charlie's brother. Apparently, this brother, Spider, got all of the godhood genes, because he can manipulate people and things quite handily. From creating an expansive and luxurious bedroom in Fat Charlie's cramped extra closet to fooling Fat Charlie's fiancée and boss into believing that he, Spider, is the lovable and tragically comic Fat Charlie himself, this newcomer can seemingly do it all. Spider begins to take things that are serious business to Fat Charlie a bit too lightly, however, and Fat Charlie resorts to extreme measures to remove him. Extreme measures often don't have quite the intended effect, though, and in this case Fat Charlie and Spider wind up on the same team in an attempt to save themselves and perhaps a little more. The book is similar to American Godsin some respects, though to say which ones could perhaps be saying too much. To put it simply, Fat Charlie encounters some stupendous revelations -- revelations that completely flip everything around.

Anansi Boys is decidedly less serious than American Gods, quite fitting for a tale about a trickster god and his offspring, but it is also decidedly Gaimanesque, which is a great thing to be. This is a novel that is funny in all the right places and in all the right ways, and one that can be read and enjoyed on its own, without any knowledge of Gaiman’s earlier books.
John Green is a student at Vanderbilt University.

© 2005, All rights reserved, BookPage

Book cover
The Sandman: Book of Dreams
By Gaiman, Neil
Editor Kramer, Ed

Newly repackaged, this stunning collection of 20 original stories set in the universe of the graphic novel series "The Sandman" features works by Clive Barker, Gene Wolfe, Tad Williams, Tori Amos, and others.

Publisher Comments
"There is a dark king who rules our dreams from a place of shadows and fantastic things. He is Morpheus, the lord of story. Older than humankind itself, he inhabits -- along with Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium, his Endless sisters and brothers -- the realm of human consciousness. His powers are myth and nightmare -- inspirations, pleasures, and punishments manifested beneath the blanketing mist of sleep."

"Surrender to him now..."

Book cover
The Dangerous Alphabet
By Gaiman, Neil
Illustrator Grimly, Gris

Bestselling author Gaiman teams up with noted illustrator Grimly for a tale of adventure, piracy, danger, and heroism told in 26 alphabetical lines--13 short rhyming couplets--although even the alphabet is not to be relied upon here. Full color.

Publisher Comments
A is for Always, that's where we embark . . .

Two children, treasure map in hand, and their pet gazelle sneak past their father, out of their house, and into a world beneath the city, where monsters and pirates roam.

Will they find the treasure? Will they make it out alive?

"The Dangerous Alphabet" is a tale of adventure, piracy, danger, and heroism told in twenty-six alphabetical lines--although even the alphabet is not to be relied upon here. A delightfully dangerous journey from national bestselling author Neil Gaiman and the monstrously talented Gris Grimly, "The Dangerous Alphabet" is sure to captivate and chill young readers.

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