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JOHNNY AND THE DEAD by Terry Pratchett

JOHNNY AND THE DEAD

The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy

By Terry Pratchett

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-054188-1
Publisher: HarperCollins

Fresh from leading the ScreeWee fleet across hostile game space and back to their own territory, Johnny Maxwell returns to champion a more local group of beings in need: the dead denizens of the local cemetery, slated for redevelopment into Modern Purpose-Designed Offices by United Amalgamated Consolidated Holdings. Pratchett’s cry against the needlessly tragic rejection of communities and their histories is just as passionate as was his cry against war in Only You Can Save Mankind (2004). Johnny allows himself to be conscripted by the dead, whom only he can see. They are an agreeable assortment of sweetly loony characters including a former Alderman, a suffragist, a socialist and an inventor, who, along with the rest of their fellows, represent the collective history and culture of Blackbury. If the narrative turns a bit preachy at times, kids will nevertheless find themselves won over by both the dead and Johnny’s basic sense of decency. Humor and honest pathos play off each other to make for an emotionally balanced whole, one whose resolution will be as satisfying to readers as it is to Johnny. (Fiction 10-14)