Illustrated by Dave McKean
Date of Publication: 2002, Harper Perennial
Number of Pages: 162
Synopsis (from back cover): In Coraline’s family’s new flat there’s a locked door. On the other side is a brick wall – until Coraline unlocks the door…and finds a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.
The food is better there. Books have pictures that writhe about and crawl and shimmer. And there’s another mother and father there who want Coraline to be their little girl. They want to change her and keep her with them…Forever.
Review: Many people will be reading this book as we anticipate the upcoming motion picture. As a fan of Neil Gaiman, I wanted to read this book before the movie came out to really experience the story the way Gaiman intended it. It is a thoroughly frightening and engaging tale, and I read it in one sitting. Coraline is a lonely, bored girl, spending a dreary summer exploring her family’s new house. She has quirky neighbors, but it seems as if even they aren’t enough to satisfy her curiosity. When she finds the passage behind the door, everything begins innocently enough. It takes some time for Coraline to understand the grave danger she’s in, and it takes all her bravery to save herself and others from a terrible fate.
Although Coraline is a relatively short book, it is still able to imprint itself onto a reader’s imagination. I found myself thinking about the story well into the night and it even entered me dreams…very creepily. This books needs to be read during the daylight hours (although not even daylight is that safe) with someone else in the house. But for all its very frightening qualities, Coraline is a very imaginative, well-written story. Its concepts have never been presented before, and yet it seems eerily familiar. All fans of fantasy and fairy tales will love this story.