The Graveyard Book: Graphic Novel

Just in time for Halloween... I am sick. Big Sis and I caught Little Sis's coughing crud. It was inevitable. I spent much of last week snuggling with my little sickie. One of the things we did was read. Specifically, we read Volume One of The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel. 

Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1 and 2, adapted by P. Craig Russell, illustrated by Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill ThompsonStephen B. Scott, and David Lafuente.
HarperCollins, 2014.

I read Neil Gaiman's Newbery Medal-winning The Graveyard Book two years ago and loved it, of course. On vacation this summer, we listened to about half of the audiobook. If our trip had been longer, I'm sure we would have finished it. The audiobook is gorgeously produced, with Derek Jacobi narrating and a cast of awesome actors performing the dialogue.

I knew I wanted to check out a graphic novel or two this month. I looked at Coraline, but I must admit, I love the design of the movie too much. I prefer The Graveyard Book as a novel anyway, and when I saw both volumes of the graphic novel on the shelf, I made up my mind immediately.

Each chapter is illustrated by a different artist, yet the styles complement each other.

If you haven't read The Graveyard Book yet, I must warn you, the opening scene is gruesome. It opens with a triple homicide. An evil man named Jack has just killed a husband, wife, and their daughter. He is looking for the baby, a little boy.

The graphic novel doesn't flinch in its depiction of the event. It's a bit jarring, in fact.

The baby has climbed out of his crib and toddled out the open door. He wanders to the ancient graveyard-turned-nature preserve. An old ghost couple, Mr. and Mrs. Owens, finds the boy, just before the newly dead mother appears, begging the ghosts to protect him. In the end, the boy is given the freedom of the graveyard. He is named Nobody - Nobody Owens - because he looks like Nobody but himself.

And that is all I shall say. You must read the book for yourself.

We have only read the first volume, so far. It has been a very busy week. I like the adaptation, and it has kept Little Sis's attention, which is difficult at times.

Even though October is coming to an end, we plan to continue with Volume 2. Of course, I've peeked. It isn't like I don't know what's going to happen!

If you love books that give you shivers, be sure to check out Neil Gaiman's All Hallow's Read! Give someone you love a scary book for Halloween. I know I never mind a bookish gift. Check out the recommendations at the website, or click here to see what the girls and I have read for the season over the past three years.

Have a wonderful and safe Halloween, my friends!

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Old-Fashioned Halloween Fun

Jack-O'-Lantern by Edna Barth, illustrated by Paul Galdone.
A Clarion Book / Seabury Press, 1974.

I love old-fashioned Halloween spookiness. I do love a retro/vintage aesthetic. Reading and watching films and clips from Halloweens past, well before my time, is one of my favorite ways to spend October. Thanks to YouTube, I've been able to find many of the clips used in the old '90s History Channel doc, "A Haunted History of Halloween," and I've checked out most of the old books available in my library. 

This weekend, we carved our giant orange pumpkin, in what must be one of the most old-fashioned Halloween pastimes. [Well, not that old-fashioned, perhaps. This post by Atlas Obscura showed up in my Facebook feed today.] To celebrate the occasion, we read this 1970s book, telling the story of mean old Jack, who tricked St. Peter into granting him three wishes. Three very mean wishes, making Jack meaner than the Devil himself. So mean, in fact, that neither St. Peter nor the Devil will accept him after his death, leaving him to roam the earth with his lantern. In this book, it's a pumpkin, but in the afternote, Barth does mention that the original folktellers used a turnip.You can read about the original legend here or here.

Here is our Jack O' Lantern, loosely inspired by Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz. I attempted this on my blue pumpkin, seen in the center. Blues are just not the right shape, I think. And here are some pumpkin guts and seeds.

We gave Jack an LED strobe light this year.

Someday, I long to have a bigger, much older house, and I will be as seasonally obnoxious as my family will allow. I adore old Dennison and Beistle decorations, and long to collect antique Halloween decor. For now, I settle for my reproduction Beistle die-cuts. I won a set of 1920s die-cuts, which are hanging in the front room window.

My 1950s repros are clothespinned every year to some twine, along with a collection of vintage plastic masks from the '60s. They hang in the knotty pine family room.

Little Sis's collection of doll parts goes nicely with our branch tree and its homemade ornaments - jar lids with prints of old Halloween cards pasted inside - and this year, I added some glass bottles from the craft store, covered with free printable apothecary labels.

I'm loving this book, too. Big Sis found it at the library. It's called Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration of Fun, Food, and Frolics from Halloweens Past. The book gathers old graphics, articles, and ideas from books and magazines. Most were printed before 1930.

Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration of Fun, Food, and Frolics from Halloweens Past by Diane C. Arkins. Pelican Publishing Company, 2004.

Some Vintage Halloween Link Love

Hope you enjoyed this post! My computer was running so slow, I feel as if this is the only thing I've done all day. 


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Hay, Hooves, & Halloween at Old Cowtown

Five days 'til Halloween! My little girls ghouls got their first chance to dress up yesterday, as we headed to Old Cowtown Museum for their annual Hay, Hooves & Halloween event. I've taken the girls almost every year since they were tiny. Two years ago, they moved it from regular daytime hours to an evening shindig, complete with gunfight-turned-dance mob. We had to bow out last year, as the girls danced all day at their studio's Halloween event, so we were especially excited this year. We met my sister and her family there. My nieces were Dorothy and Glinda, so we had some fun as Oz-met-Wonderland. All four children had colds, so there was a lot of coughing and stuffiness, but very little crankiness. Everyone had a good time!

Alice and the White Rabbit arriving...

Alice, bored with her lessons, as usual.

She's late, she's late...

We listened to a telling of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," and watched this guy chase Ichabod Crane through the town.

When Big Sis turned five, we threw her an Alice in Wonderland birthday party. She enjoyed it so much, she went as Alice for Halloween. (Her sister was Dorothy!) Little Sis was too young to remember Big Sis's party, so she has requested her own Mad Tea Party. They decided to be Wonderland characters for Halloween, and yes, they are planning to wear their costumes at the party in two weeks. I'm supposed to come up with a better Queen of Hearts costume. I told them maybe.

Just maybe.

Back to books tomorrow!

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