I saw that the children’s book Coraline by Neil Gaiman was being made into a movie and decided that it was time to pick it up and read it before the film was released. I read the standard book, but there is a graphic novel version that recently came out that some may be interested in.
Coraline lives in a big house that has been divided into smaller apartments. She has several entertaining neighbors. Miss Spink and Miss Forcible are former actresses, who are now rather round, and they love to regale Coraline with the stories of their past glory. Stranger still is the old man who lives above Coraline who tells her that he is teaching his mice to play instruments. But, Coraline is bored. She loves to explore, but on a rainy day she is trapped inside. She counts all the doors, and finds that one is locked. When her mother unlocks it, the doorway is blocked up with bricks. One day however, the bricks are gone, and there is another world on the other side of the door. A world that mirrors her own, with an other-mother, and an other-father, who have button eyes, and don’t want Coraline to leave.
Yes, it is as ominous as it sounds. But I think Coraline works as a children’s book because kids will see it as a fantasy, dark as it may be. Adults, however, will understand how creepy this book is. I really enjoyed the simplicity of this book, and the strength and wit of little Coraline. The story plus the excellent drawings accompanying it remind a lot of Tim Burton or The Nightmare Before Christmas. I would recommend this short read for older children and adults alike!