"Coraline", is from author Neil Gaiman who is very well known for some remarkable, thought-provoking and original fiction. This book is a departure for him, as it is ostensibly written for children who the author explains, read what adults would consider a tale of horror, as an adventure. Children can supply the answer, but this book will keep many up at night, or will invade and transform a dream in to a nightmare regardless of age.
In the event your imagination needs help, illustrator Dave McKean provides black and white images that will make you wince in the brightest light of day. I almost always find black and white imagery more powerful than color, and here once again, color would have detracted from these illustrations. Black and white focuses the images, color can sometimes confuse and distract, or perhaps dilute the message. The illustration facing the text on page 149 easily gains my vote for the creepiest image in the collection. If you have seen images drawn by Tim Burton for some of his films, which will give you an idea of what you will see.
Comparisons have been made to, "Alice In Wonderland", and while you will see it is a comparison that is easy to make, it does a disservice to both writers. A shared element does not automatically mean a comparison is valid or called for, and it can prejudice the reader before the book is opened.
The 162 pages took 10 years to create, and the author states it was both the most difficult book he has written, and the book he is most proud of. I think the audience for the book is as legitimate for adults as for children, and could spark some great conversation between generations, something a great book can do. The book also carries messages for both kids and parents alike, so the book is more than just entertainment.
Buttons for eyes, cat assassins, souls, marbles, mist and mirrors, rats who chant, and mice that jam. It's all here, and it will either keep you up, or keep the lights on while you doze.