Despite being mostly known for his fantastical graphic novels and adult fiction, Neil Gaiman
's first book for children is everything that you would expect from such a massive imagination as his. It's special and wonderful and very weird indeed. Described by some as the new Alice in Wonderland
is actually more bizarre than that, much more frightening and its modest length definitely adds to the book's undiluted potency.
Shortly after moving into an old house with strange tenants above and below, Coraline discovers a big, carved, brown wooden door at the far corner of the drawing room. And it is locked. Curiosity runs riot in Coraline's mind and she unlocks the door to see what lies behind it. Disappointingly, it opens onto a brick wall. Days later, after exploring the rest of the house and garden, Coraline returns to the same mysterious door and opens it again. This time, however, there is a dark hallway in front of her. Stepping inside, the place beyond has an eerie familiarity about it. The carpet and wallpaper are the same as in her flat. The picture hanging on the wall is the same. Almost. Strangest of all, her mum and dad are there too. Only they have buttons for eyes and seem more possessive than normal. It's a twisted version of her world that is familiar, and yet sinister. And matters get even more surreal for Coraline when her "other" parents seem reluctant to let her leave.
Her attempted escape from this nightmare alternative reality sees Coraline experience a chilling series of ever more bizarre encounters. Some are plainly odd, others disturbingly spooky and together they combine to form an immensely readable story. It's like all the best bits of the Goosebumps books condensed into 160 pages. A unique reading experience guaranteed. (Ages 10 and over)--John McLay
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“Gaiman’s tale is inventive, scary, thrilling and finally affirmative. Readers young and old will find something to startle them.” (Washington Post Book World)
“Coraline is by turns creepy and funny, bittersweet and playful…can be read quickly and enjoyed deeply.” (San Francisco Chronicle Book Review)
“A modern ghost story with all the creepy trimmings…Well done.” (New York Times 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 truly creepy tale. Beware those button eyes!” (Family Fun Magazine)