Title:   The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes

Author:  Neil Gaiman

Publisher: Vertigo, 2010 (1993)

ISBN: 9781401225759

About the author: from Wikipedia:

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman born Neil Richard Gaiman, 10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre, and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008). In 2013, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards.

 Plot: Dr. Hathaway is desparate to bring his dead son Edmund back. In order to do this, he needs to find death through the Magdalene Grimoire and capture it.

Critical Evaluation: 

This intrically plotted graphic novel is disturbing.  The Magdalene Grimoire is the book of death, and Dr. Hathaway is going to get his hands on it. His son Edmund died on a sunken destroyer, and in desperation he wants to bring his son back. For assistance, he goes to the order. “The Magdalene Grimoire was all that the order needed. We can hold the ceremony at the next full moon… and then…no one need ever die again.” Through the Magdalene Grimoire they want to “summon and imprison Death”.

The illustrations in this book are dark, surreal and very detailed. It is through the illustrations that we feel uneasy and uncomfortable, and that is the point of this tale. Neil Gaiman writes a compelling story of a twisted character who wants defy death. But he learns too late that you can’t escape death, even in your dreams.


Reader’s Annotation: What if you could catch death and stop it forever. Would you want to?

Genre: graphic novel

Curriculum Ties: creative writing

Booktalking Ideas: What is the The Magdalene Grimoire? Why was it important to the story?

Reading Level/Interest Age: 16+

Challenge Issues: unsuited for age group, occult/satanism, violence

Challenge Resources 

  • Library Selection Policy
  • Rationale explaining why the item was chosen for the collection
  • Active listening skills
  • Awards
  • Reconsideration form (as a last resort)
  • National Council of Teachers of English “Right to Read”
  • Positive and negative reviews: expert, parent, student
  • ALA Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials
  • ALA Bill of Rights on Intellectual Freedom
  • Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  • Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

Why did you pick this for your collection?  

  • classic graphic novel