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Little Willow [userpic]

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

February 17th, 2009 (03:57 pm)

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: Meet John Doe score music

Get your flashlights ready, because this is a book to read late at night when huddled under the covers.

There once was a young girl named Coraline who moved into a new flat with her mother and father. The neighbors are friendly, if not a bit odd and a bit confused, repeatedly calling her "Caroline" by mistake. The little girl is a self-proclaimed explorer, taking walks around the neighborhood no matter what the weather. With both of her parents occupied by work, she counts the doors at home, and figures out how to open up a door which is supposed to open up to nowhere - more specifically, a brick wall...

Coraline's curious nature is akin to that of Alice (in Wonderland), Anne (of Green Gables), and other young heroines that are famous, fantastic, and fictional. Far from being a damsel in distress, Coraline is witty, intelligent and aware. Her 'White Rabbit' comes in the shape of a black cat who has no name; as he wryly explains to her, cats know who they are so they don't need names, unlike insecure human beings.

This intriguing and creepy story is just right for readers of all ages, especially fans of Lewis Carroll and John Bellairs. This book will certainly satisfy loyal followers of the author Neil Gaiman and the artist Dave McKean. I read Coraline immediately upon its release and continue to recommend it on a regular basis. If this book had been released when I was a child, I would have read it as often as I read The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

Other Versions of Coraline

A graphic novel version of Coraline, adapted and illustrated by P. Craig Russell, is also available. Not only does Russell keep the story in tact, but he brings the characters to life with his beautiful illustrations. The graphic novel is certain to please those who loved the original book. It will also appeal to those who haven't read the book (yet!) and/or those who prefer comics and graphic novels to full-length novels.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love the cat in Coraline? He's one of my favorite fictional felines. Some of my favorite pictures in the graphic novel include him, naturally. I was also amused by the fact that Coraline (at the start of the graphic novel) and I were wearing almost the exact same outfit.

Coraline has also been made into a stop-motion 3-D feature film, which was in February 2009. While I enjoyed it, but I definitely preferred the book to the film. The film had a great many changes, such as making Coraline's family American and setting the story in the USA. I didn't see the need to do that. My favorite elements of the film were the music, the mouse circus, and the cat. There needed to be more of the cat. (You knew I was going to say that, didn't you?)

Key to My Heart

On the afternoon of December 27th, 2008, while waiting for the bus, I spotted a black key on the back of the bench. Clearly, silently, it was awaiting me. Oversized and looking to be made of plastic, it resembled something from a Fisher-Price toddler vehicle, and the rounded top looks like a button with four little holes. Thinking that I could string it onto a thin cord or chain (after washing it, of course) and make it a necklace, I picked up the key with my thick gray glove. I was surprised by its (slight) weight; it was made of metal. Then I saw the inscription on the key and nearly shrieked. Though I managed to contain myself so I wouldn't alarm passersby, I couldn't help grinning like the Cheshire cat. Written on the key was simply:


Yes, I have a key to Coraline's flat. How cool is that?

Visit MouseCircus.com - Neil Gaiman's official website for young readers - as well as coraline.com

Recommended Reads
If you like Coraline, you'll also enjoy the following books!

For young readers - really, for all ages:
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
The OutCast series, four books by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Books by John Bellairs, including The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt
Books by Mary Downing Hahn, including The Doll in the Garden
The May Bird trilogy by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman by Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden, and Stephen R. Bisette (non-fiction)

Related Posts
SparkLife: Coraline
Cats Cats Cats
Favorite Fictional Felines
Sassy Sidekicks of Children's Literature
Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman by Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden, and Stephen R. Bisette


Posted by: mimagirl (mimagirl)
Posted at: May 7th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)

I LOVED this book so much.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 7th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)

So do I! :)

Posted by: My characters kick your ass dot com (elfstar18)
Posted at: May 7th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)

My favorite thing about this book was Coraline's disgust at her dad's preparation of "recipes". It cracked me up, and I often answer the 'what's for dinner' question with, "a Recipe." now.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 7th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)


(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 8th, 2008 01:18 am (UTC)


Posted by: thehappynappybookseller.blogspot.com (thehappynappybookseller.blogspot.com)
Posted at: May 8th, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)

I loved Coraline and I've been selling it like candy lately. There is a Coraline edition in sci fi now, but I like the MG cover much better.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 8th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)

I prefer the original cover, but I like the sci-fi cover as well because it has has a touch of the classic silent horror movie plate. The graphic novel cover is online now as well.

Posted by: AC (nymwae)
Posted at: May 8th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC)

I was not 10 minutes ago discussing this book with a friend from France named Coraline (pronounced Coralina). :)
It is a very good book. Thank you for posting about it!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 8th, 2008 02:29 am (UTC)

You are welcome!
Isn't that strange (in a cool way)? Something made me post that review here this morning, even though I wrote it YEARS ago. In fact, that review pre-dates this blog, because I wrote it soon after I read the book!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: May 11th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC)

I've been eying this book on my bookshelf so I'll have to pick it up and read it. Preferably on a dark and stormy night, it sounds like. :-)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 11th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)

That would be purrfect.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: December 29th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)

Ooh, ooh. Jealous of your key.

Now I want to re-read it, too. I wish my girls were ready for it, but it might scare the pants off my four-year-old. I dunno. I'll have to re-read and consider it.

Did you notice over at the comments of the kicks post that I snagged an interview with Dave McKean? I'm very nervous, as I'm sure he gets interviewed a lot and I don't want to ask him dumb-ass questions that waste his time. I'm going to start working on some questions soon; if you have great ideas, I'll take 'em and use 'em and totally credit you (of course). You are the interview queen, after all.


Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 29th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)

It's so cool.

Hmmm. What about his picture books? Have you / they tackled those?

I did see that! Congrats (and congra-rats!) Perhaps you could ask him how collaborative the process is, if he has ever taken an illustration and/or a story in a direction other than what the writer (or co-writer) intended, or if a writer has ever left all of the details up to him (like Carroll writing, (If you don’t know what a Gryphon is, look at the picture.) for example.) Ask him about his earliest influences - favorite book covers or picture books as a child, favorite album covers, classical painters, etc. - and if he approaches projects differently depending on what they are - album covers, books for kids, etc. Ask him why I haven't seen MirrorMask yet. :)

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