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The acknowledgments in The Graveyard Book mention an "enormous debt" to Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. What does Gaiman mean by this?

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  • One thing he probably means is he thinks if you enjoy The Graveyard Book then you should also read The Jungle Book. Jul 15 at 12:26

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The entire book is sort of a re-telling of The Jungle Book (hence the analogous name, The Graveyard Book) as a gothic urban fantasy.

From the very beginning, when Bod is brutally separated from his family and has to get acceptance from a council in order to be fostered/adopted into a new living arrangement, it follows the general outline of The Jungle Book. There is a silky, smooth teacher and also a furry, rougher teacher, there are many mini-vignettes (such as the kidnapping — and means of escape — on the way to Ghûlheim) that model corresponding scenes in The Jungle Book, and also entities like the Sleer that have a clear analog in the original.

Once a reader has cottoned on, it's quite enjoyable to read the two and compare them, to see Gaiman's rendition of/homage to what he clearly respects as a masterwork.

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