by Neil Gaiman
“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.
Celebrating ten years of Neil Gaiman’s first modern classic for young readers, this edition is enriched with a brand-new foreword from the author, a reader’s guide, and more.
The story begins with Coraline, a young girl who has just moved into a new house with her parents which has been broken up into different apartments with neighbors. Coraline’s new neighbors are interesting: an old man who trains rats for a circus performance, and two old ladies who are retired stage actresses. The issue is that Coraline’s extremely frustrated and bored with not much to do. Her parents are simply too busy with work to spend any time with her and Coraline feels somewhat neglected.
Coraline shook her head. “Why don’t you play with me?” she asked.
“Busy,” he said. “Working,” he added. He still hadn’t turned around to look at her.
As she begins exploring her new home she finds a little door in the wall, but it’s locked and she can’t seem to get it open. Once she finds the key she opens the door and discovers that it’s closed off, but the next time she opens it, she finds a secret hallway that leads to another world. Her neighbors have warned her previously, but curious Coraline enters the door into a new world and finds that the house looks much like her own. Her neighbors are the same, but younger and more interesting. She discovers that the people living in the home look like her parents, but aren’t her real parents. They give her tons of attention and cook all the yummy food she loves. It’s like everything is perfect here.
“So,” said her other father. “Do you like it here?”
“I suppose,” said Coraline. “It’s much more interesting than at home.”
Eventually her ‘other mother’ tells her that she can stay there and live forever, if she would only let them sew buttons onto her eyes. Coraline is creeped out and decides to go back home, but her parents are missing. Where on earth did they disappear to? Now Coraline must figure how to get her parents back from the other mother.
My thoughts on the book:
I finally read this with my kids after seeing the movie a hundred times. We were surprised that the movie stayed fairly close to the book minus a few differences like the addition of a character and small details like the mango milkshake. It was fun reading along and having the image of the movie characters in our minds.
The book reads like a creepy fairy tale and we all savored it. It surely kept our interest throughout and I thought it was written really well with good descriptions. Neil Gaiman definitely doesn’t disappoint with Coraline. I think it’s perfect for all ages, but maybe too creepy for very young readers. There were a few disturbing parts that had us on edge toward the end and even as an adult, I found it gripping.
I have to say that I loved the themes in this book! I think they’ll really push readers (especially children) to think about the choices they make in life and to appreciate what they have. Not only that, even though Coraline experiences much fear, she must find a way to be brave and fight for what belongs to her. She’s actually very wise for her age and we just loved her.
Somewhere inside her Coraline could feel a huge sob welling up. And then she stopped it, before it came out.
There are some thought-provoking lessons here and it opened up a big discussion after we finished the book. We talked about some of the decisions that Coraline made and what we thought she could’ve done differently. We appreciated the Q&A with the author and also the reading group questions in the back. We’re happy to have this book added to our home library and will definitely be rereading this one in the future.
- Age Range: 8 – 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 – 7
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint, Anniversary edition (April 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780380807345
- ISBN-13: 978-0380807345