• Coraline by Neil Gaiman with Illustrations by Dave McKean | Harper Collins Publishers | 2002
Coraline lives with her preoccupied parents in part of a huge old house--a house so huge that other people live in it, too... round, old former actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and their aging Highland terriers ("We trod the boards, luvvy") and the mustachioed old man under the roof ("'The reason you cannot see the mouse circus,' said the man upstairs, 'is that the mice are not yet ready and rehearsed.'") Coraline contents herself for weeks with exploring the vast garden and grounds. But with a little rain she becomes bored--so bored that she begins to count everything blue (153), the windows (21), and the doors (14). And it is the 14th door that--sometimes blocked with a wall of bricks--opens up for Coraline into an entirely alternate universe. Now, if you're thinking fondly of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, you're on the wrong track. Neil Gaiman's Coraline is far darker, far stranger, playing on our deepest fears. And, like Roald Dahl's work, it is delicious.
What's on the other side of the door? A distorted-mirror world, containing presumably everything Coraline has ever dreamed of... people who pronounce her name correctly (not "Caroline"), delicious meals (not like her father's overblown "recipes"), an unusually pink and green bedroom (not like her dull one), and plenty of horrible (very un-boring) marvels, like a man made out of live rats. The creepiest part, however, is her mirrored parents, her "other mother" and her "other father"--people who look just like her own parents, but with big, shiny, black button eyes, paper-white skin... and a keen desire to keep her on their side of the door. To make creepy creepier, Coraline has been illustrated masterfully in scritchy, terrifying ink drawings by British mixed-media artist and Sandman cover illustrator Dave McKean. This delightful, funny, haunting, scary as heck, fairy-tale novel is about as fine as they come. Highly recommended. (Ages 11 and older) --Karin Snelson
New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning author Neil Gaiman’s modern classic, Coraline—also an Academy Award-nominated film
"Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house...."
When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.
But there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.
Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.
Neil Gaiman's Coraline is a can't-miss classic that enthralls readers age 8 to 12 but also adults who enjoy a perfect smart spooky read.
British novelist Gaiman (American Gods; Stardust) and his long-time accomplice McKean (collaborators on a number of Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels as well as The Day I Swapped My Dad for 2 Goldfish) spin an electrifyingly creepy tale likely to haunt young readers for many moons. After Coraline and her parents move into an old house, Coraline asks her mother about a mysterious locked door. Her mother unlocks it to reveal that it leads nowhere: "When they turned the house into flats, they simply bricked it up," her mother explains. But something about the door attracts the girl, and when she later unlocks it herself, the bricks have disappeared. Through the door, she travels a dark corridor (which smells "like something very old and very slow") into a world that eerily mimics her own, but with sinister differences. "I'm your other mother," announces a woman who looks like Coraline's mother, except "her eyes were big black buttons." Coraline eventually makes it back to her real home only to find that her parents are missing--they're trapped in the shadowy other world, of course, and it's up to their scrappy daughter to save them. Gaiman twines his taut tale with a menacing tone and crisp prose fraught with memorable imagery ("Her other mother's hand scuttled off Coraline's shoulder like a frightened spider"), yet keeps the narrative just this side of terrifying. The imagery adds layers of psychological complexity (the button eyes of the characters in the other world vs. the heroine's increasing ability to distinguish between what is real and what is not; elements of Coraline's dreams that inform her waking decisions). McKean's scratchy, angular drawings, reminiscent of Victorian etchings, add an ominous edge that helps ensure this book will be a real bedtime-buster. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Grade 6-8-When Coraline and her parents move into a new house, she notices a mysterious, closed-off door. It originally went to another part of the house, which her family does not own. Some rather eccentric neighbors call her Caroline and seem not to understand her very well, yet they have information for her that will later prove vital. Bored, she investigates the door, which takes her into an alternate reality. There she meets her "other" mother and father. They are very nice to her, which pleases Coraline but also makes her a little suspicious. Her neighbors are in this other world, and they are the same, yet somehow different. When Coraline gets nervous and returns home, her parents are gone. With the help of a talking cat, she figures out that they are being held prisoner by her other parents, as are the souls of some long-lost children. Coraline's plan to rescue them involves, among other things, making a risky bargain with her other mother whose true nature is beginning to show. The rest of the story is a suspense-filled roller coaster, and the horror is all the more frightening for being slightly understated. A droll humor is present in some of the scenes, and the writing is simple yet laden with foreboding. The story is odd, strange, even slightly bizarre, but kids will hang on every word. Coraline is a character with whom they will surely identify, and they will love being frightened out of their shoes. This is just right for all those requests for a scary book.
Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-8. Coraline has recently moved with her preoccupied parents into a flat in an old house. The neighbors above and below are odd but friendly: Mr. Bobo trains mice; elderly Misses Spink and Forcible serve her tea and tell her fortune. No one lives in the flat next door. But Coraline knows better, and one evening she discovers what's there: a tantalizing alternate world, filled with toys and food (unlike any of the boring stuff she has at home) and weird-- though wonderfully attentive--parents, who happen to have black button eyes sewn on with dark thread. Although her "other parents" beg her to stay, she decides to leave, but by doing so Coraline sets in motion a host of nightmarish events that she must remedy alone. Gaiman, well known for his compelling adult horror novels (see "The Booklist Interview," opposite), seems less sure of himself with a younger age group. His "nowhere wonderland" setting (think Alice on acid) is magical, deliciously eerie, and well captured in the text and in McKean's loose, angular sketches. But the goings-on are murky enough to puzzle some kids and certainly creepy enough to cause a few nightmares (ignore the publisher's suggestion that this is suitable for eight-year-olds). What's more, Coraline is no naive Alice. She's a bundle of odd contradictions that never seem to gel--confident, outspoken, self-sufficient one moment; a whiny child the next. Gaiman's construct offers a chilling and empowering view of children, to be sure, but young readers are likely to miss such subtleties as the clever allusions to classic horror movies and the references to the original dark tales by the Brothers Grimm. Gaiman has written an often-compelling horror novel, but, as with so many adult authors who attempt to reach young readers, his grasp of his audience is less sure than his command of his material. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
“Gaiman’s tale is inventive, scary, thrilling and finally affirmative. Readers young and old will find something to startle them.” — Washington Post Book World
“A modern ghost story with all the creepy trimmings…Well done.” — New York Times Book Review
“Coraline is by turns creepy and funny, bittersweet and playful…can be read quickly and enjoyed deeply.” — San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“A magnificently creepy story. Coraline is spot on.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Gaiman’s pacing is superb, and he steers the tension of the tale with a deft and practiced narrative touch.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, rise to your feet and applaud: Coraline is the real thing.” — Philip Pullman, The Guardian
“The most splendidly original, weird, and frightening book I have read, and yet full of things children will love.” — Diana Wynne Jones
“It has the delicate horror of the finest fairy tales, and it is a masterpiece.” — Terry Pratchett
“An electrifyingly creepy tale likely to haunt young readers for many moons.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“ Walk through the door and you’ll believe in love, magic, and the power of good over evil.” — USA Today
“So wonderfully whimsical that readers of all ages will hungrily devour itCoraline is destined to become a classic. — Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Chilly, finely-wrought prose, a truly weird setting and a fable that taps into our most uncomfortable fears.” — Times Educational Supplement
“A deliciously scary book that we loved reading together as a family.” — Orson Scott Card
“Beautifully spooky. Gaiman actually seems to understand the way children think. ” — Christian Science Monitor
“A frighteningly realistic fantasy. Lean crisp prose adds to the suspense and propels the story, and the eerie black-and-white illustrations by Dave McKean heighten the nightmarish quality of the tale.” — Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Kids will hang on every word. Coraline is a character with whom they will surely identify, and they will love being frightened out of their shoes. This is just right for all those requests for a scary book.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.
The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.
Only it's different.
At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.
Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.
Critically acclaimed and award-winning author Neil Gaiman will delight readers with his first novel for all ages.
Neil Gaiman is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for children and adults whose award-winning titles include Norse Mythology, American Gods, The Graveyard Book,Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), Coraline, and The Sandman graphic novels. Neil Gaiman is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR and Professor in the Arts at Bard College.
Dave McKean is best known for his work on Neil Gaiman's Sandman series of graphic novels and for his CD covers for musicians from Tori Amos to Alice Cooper. He also illustrated Neil Gaiman's picture books The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, The Wolves in the Walls, and Crazy Hair. He is a cult figure in the comic book world, and is also a photographer.