Rudyard Kipling published The Jungle Book as a collection of short stories in 1894. He would go on to win the Nobel prize for literature in 1907. Neil Gaiman published The Graveyard Book as a novel in 2008. The Graveyard Book won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, Newbery Medal, and Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book in 2009, as well as the Carnegie Medal in 2010.

Each of the eight chapters is a short story, each set two years apart as the protagonist grows up. Gaiman’s chapters have analogues to Kipling’s stories. A commonly cited example of this parallelism is the Graveyard chapter “The Hounds of God” and the Jungle story “Kaa’s Hunting”. Parallel characters reimagined by Gaiman include:

  • Mowgli: Nobody Owens
  • Mother and Father Wolf: The Owens
  • Bagheera: Silas
  • Baloo: Miss Lupescu
  • Shere Khan: Jack
  • The White Cobra: The Sleer
  • Bandar-Log: Ghouls
  • Chil the Kite: a night-gaunt
  • Hathi: Elizabeth Hempstock

Gaiman continues to write fantastically imaginative stories that appeal to me on a number of levels. He worked on this novel off-and-on for over twenty years, and his affinity for the inspiration as well as the depth of his own creativity is obvious.