2008 Audies Audio Book Book Prizes Books for Children Other Prizes

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman (Audio Book)


Winner of the Hugo Award 2009 for Best Novel, Newbery Medal 2009,  Locus YA book of the Year 2009, Audie Audiobook of the Year 2009.

The Graveyard Book seems to have won every prize going in the past year. I haven’t read any of Neil Gaiman’s books before, so was really interested to find out what they were like. When I discovered that The Graveyard Book had won audio book of the year at The Audies, I decided that I had to listen to it straight away.

I was immediately impressed by Neil Gaiman’s narration. It is great to discover an author who is able to skillfully read his own books.

The story begins with a toddler escaping from home after his family have been murdered. The little boy seeks refuge in a graveyard and it’s ghostly residents decide to look after him; protecting him from the killer who continues to search for him.

The plot is quite gentle and although there are some potentially scary scenes, only the smallest of children would be afraid. I think this is a lovely children’s book, but the simplicity of the storyline makes this an unsatisfying adult read.

I enjoyed listening to it, as Neil Gaiman’s narration added to the atmosphere, but I think I would have been disappointed had I read the book. I think even teenagers would find this book too light to appeal.

If you know any 10-year-olds then go and buy them the audio book straight away, but I’m afraid I can’t recommend this to adults.

Adult rating: stars3h

10-year-old rating: stars4h

Did you enjoy The Graveyard Book?

Have you read any of Neil Gaiman’s other books?

Would I find any of them more satisfying?

Books for Children Classics

The Beautifull Cassandra – Jane Austen


I am 300 pages away from finishing Out, and 200 pages away from finishing The Master and Margarita, so with no book reviews looking likely to occur in the next few days I was looking for something quick and easy to review. I was totally unaware that any picture books by Jane Austen existed, so when I saw this little book amongst my book shop stock I was very intrigued.

It is a short story, which takes only a couple of minutes to read. It was written by Jane Austen when she was about 12-years-old, and tells the story of a young girl who falls in love with a hat and then proudly goes out in to the world.




In this edition the words are accompanied by beautiful pictures, reminiscent of Beatrix Potter, and I have to admit that these are the best part of the book. The words did nothing for me at all. If this had been written by anyone other than Jane Austen it wouldn’t have got anywhere near a printing press. The blurb states that:

It will have particular appeal to children.

I disagree. I don’t believe that children would enjoy this at all. My toddler might enjoy pointing to the frogs, but the words would be completely meaningless to them. I am impressed by the vocabulary of the twelve-year-old Jane Austen, but she still has a long way to go in the plot development area.  

I can only imagine that this book would appeal to Jane Austen fanatics, who are keen to study the development of her language. Anyone else shouldn’t bother to read it, unless you happen to find it in the library.

stars2 (for the illustrations)

If one of your favourite authors releases a book for children do you ever buy it?

2008 Books for Children Recommended books

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick


I bought this book after seeing it recommended by 3M. It is beautiful! Everything from the gold page edges, to the amazing illustrations inside, makes you want to read at this book.


‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’ tells the story of a twelve year old boy living in the walls of a Paris railway station. His secret life is put under threat when he meets the owner of a toy shop. The mystery of Hugo’s mechanical man, a stolen key and a strange notebook are solved through both sequences of illustrations and text. The plot is quite simple, but it is such a page turner that this doesn’t matter.


The book is aimed at 9 – 12 year olds, but my three year old boy loves it too. He asks me to read it again and again. He’s still a bit young for the full story, but he really enjoys looking at all the pictures and listening too a more basic version of the plot. I think it will be perfect for him in a few years time.


If you have, or know any children, particularly ones that like mechanical things, then you should get this book for them now. If you haven’t got any children, then this book is still worth a read – the mixture of images and text will mean that you remember this book for a long time.


Highly recommended.