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Coraline [Paperback]

Neil Gaiman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 17 2006 P.S.
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Frequently Bought Together

Coraline + The Graveyard Book + Stardust
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Coraline lives with her preoccupied parents in part of a huge old house--a house so huge that other people live in it, too... round, old former actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and their aging Highland terriers ("We trod the boards, luvvy") and the mustachioed old man under the roof ("'The reason you cannot see the mouse circus,' said the man upstairs, 'is that the mice are not yet ready and rehearsed.'") Coraline contents herself for weeks with exploring the vast garden and grounds. But with a little rain she becomes bored--so bored that she begins to count everything blue (153), the windows (21), and the doors (14). And it is the 14th door that--sometimes blocked with a wall of bricks--opens up for Coraline into an entirely alternate universe. Now, if you're thinking fondly of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, you're on the wrong track. Neil Gaiman's Coraline is far darker, far stranger, playing on our deepest fears. And, like Roald Dahl's work, it is delicious.

What's on the other side of the door? A distorted-mirror world, containing presumably everything Coraline has ever dreamed of... people who pronounce her name correctly (not "Caroline"), delicious meals (not like her father's overblown "recipes"), an unusually pink and green bedroom (not like her dull one), and plenty of horrible (very un-boring) marvels, like a man made out of live rats. The creepiest part, however, is her mirrored parents, her "other mother" and her "other father"--people who look just like her own parents, but with big, shiny, black button eyes, paper-white skin... and a keen desire to keep her on their side of the door. To make creepy creepier, Coraline has been illustrated masterfully in scritchy, terrifying ink drawings by British mixed-media artist and Sandman cover illustrator Dave McKean. This delightful, funny, haunting, scary as heck, fairy-tale novel is about as fine as they come. Highly recommended. (Ages 11 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

British novelist Gaiman (American Gods; Stardust) and his long-time accomplice McKean (collaborators on a number of Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels as well as The Day I Swapped My Dad for 2 Goldfish) spin an electrifyingly creepy tale likely to haunt young readers for many moons. After Coraline and her parents move into an old house, Coraline asks her mother about a mysterious locked door. Her mother unlocks it to reveal that it leads nowhere: "When they turned the house into flats, they simply bricked it up," her mother explains. But something about the door attracts the girl, and when she later unlocks it herself, the bricks have disappeared. Through the door, she travels a dark corridor (which smells "like something very old and very slow") into a world that eerily mimics her own, but with sinister differences. "I'm your other mother," announces a woman who looks like Coraline's mother, except "her eyes were big black buttons." Coraline eventually makes it back to her real home only to find that her parents are missing--they're trapped in the shadowy other world, of course, and it's up to their scrappy daughter to save them. Gaiman twines his taut tale with a menacing tone and crisp prose fraught with memorable imagery ("Her other mother's hand scuttled off Coraline's shoulder like a frightened spider"), yet keeps the narrative just this side of terrifying. The imagery adds layers of psychological complexity (the button eyes of the characters in the other world vs. the heroine's increasing ability to distinguish between what is real and what is not; elements of Coraline's dreams that inform her waking decisions). McKean's scratchy, angular drawings, reminiscent of Victorian etchings, add an ominous edge that helps ensure this book will be a real bedtime-buster. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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CORALINE DISCOVERED THE DOOR a little while after they moved into the house. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Coraline Jones is a little girl (precise age unknown) who has recently moved into a big old house with her parents. It is the summer break from school and Coraline is bored. To pass the time she likes to explore the big house and its surroundings. One afternoon, she finds a door that leads into a black corridor. This black corridor in turn leads into a house that is practically a mirror image of her own, with the same rooms and the same inhabitants, including her parents. But within these there are fundamental changes; the rooms contain weird variations of her toys, the house and the yard are filled with talking animals and her parents are very different here too. They look like her parents but certainly don't act like her parents. Soon, Coraline and her real parents are trapped into this mirror version of their house and it is up to her to get them out safely...
This is a challenging book to categorize. It is actually marketed as a book for children and adults 8 years and up. The writing is indeed geared towards a younger age bracket, the prose simplistic, the sentences short-clipped. Not only is the novel only 160 pages long, but it's large print as well. I personally breezed through this book in less than 2 hours. However, one has to wonder whether this book might be a little too dark for young kids to enjoy. Gaiman raises some deep chills here and goes for the grotesque on occasion with several scenes involving insects. Usually I find the term "Dark Fantasy" to be a cop-out used by authors who would rather not be referred to as horror writers so as not to be pigeonholed into a genre that has its ups and downs (Dean Koontz anyone?) but with Gaiman the term actually seems to fit like a glove.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trippy May 23 2004
Format:Hardcover
I only slept two hours the night I read "Coraline." The first few hours I read and finished the book; the next couple hours I couldn't sleep, reveling in the creative world this book took me too that no other book has. There was not a cliche anywhere: not in story, language, mood, characters. Instead we have scuttling hands, fortune-telling mice, button eyes, and worlds disolving into nothingness on the outskirts.
The unflappability of the young girl protagonists threatens to make the book too low key (as some reviewers have accused), but instead, I think it adds to the odd, vague tone. Also accurate in the negative reviews is their observation that there's a lack of background for this world's existence and for the characters in it. I respond, hallelejah. How many thousands of books are ruined by too much exposition. This book gets to the dark, otherworldly story pronto. Its world is assumed to exist and needs no justification.
Stephen King has never creeped me out like this. I'm reading this book to my seven year old daughter (against the advice of my wife) and loaning it to my tough guy, non-reading friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Young Coraline Jones and her loving yet very preoccupied parents move into an enormous, ancient household. But they do not all of the house; instead, they only own one floor, the middle flat. On the bottom flat leave the two retired old actress ladies who also read tea leaves for fortune-telling, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible. On the top flat, with the attic, lives the resident whom Coraline refers to as "the crazy old man upstairs," who often tells Coraline that he runs an immensely talented circus made entirely of mice.

Coraline loves to explore, and throughout the gardens and courtyards outside, there is much to explore. But one day, when it is pouring rain outside, Coraline asks her mother what she should do. Coraline's mother tells her to ask her father---so Coraline does. Coraline's father tells her that she should count everything blue, all the doors, and all the windows in the house. Later, after Coraline's counting is complete, she realizes there are fourteen doors, yet only thirteen seem to open. Coraline's mother uses the key to open the fourteenth door to show her that it only opens to a solid brick wall.

Or so it seems...

In the middle of the night, Coraline awakens to an eerie sqeaking and then a scraping scuttle sound. She follows the scuttle to the fourteenth door, which now newly opens to a long, dark hallway. Coraline walks through the hallway and discovers that this door opens to a whole new world. In this world, Coraline has an other mother and an other father, who both have big black, shiny buttons for eyes, and also who do not mispronounce Coraline's name as "Caroline." The other world is a complete mirror image of the real flat at home, yet hideously distorted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wins the Nebula Award! April 19 2004
Format:Hardcover
This short novel wins almost every major fantasy & science fiction award but once again the ALA committee blows it by handing the Newbury to an inferior novel. [I'm a librarian and can say that with some amount of authority--although maybe not much.] This book is an instant classic but was probably too dark for the at times very timid committee. At least Gaiman's not alone. E. B. White didn't win for Charlotte's Web and S. E. Hinton didn't win for The Outsiders. I suspect for much the same reasons. Regardless this is a beautifully written tale with a fine, tough little kid with dry wit and great courage working her way through events that would panic most adults. If the book reminds you a bit of Alice In Wonderland, good. It should. Both are books that are dark enough to unnerve some adults and good enough to enchant children. I'll be reading this one to my kids, grandkids and whoever will listen until I'm in my dotage. Buy it, you won't regret it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Frighteningly fun fantasy
I can't help but find Coraline to be an amazing, frightening, fun story aimed at a young audience but appreciated by all ages. Read more
Published 10 days ago by AliKira
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Great book: a strange, adventurous, fun, and an easy read.
I also really enjoyed the movie.
Published 1 month ago by Andrea
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very good short story easy to read!
Published 1 month ago by TheReader
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaiman rules
Another dark, twisty tale that should never have been made into a kid's movie! Gaiman has such neat ideas and is inspired by such mundane things!
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Review
Came on time and was in perfect condition. I bought it for a class but I did not even read it, I watched the movie instead.
Published 19 months ago by Henna
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Audio Book!
Our whole family loves this audio book. A bit scary for young ones but our 6 and 8 year old were delighted with it. We have listened to it many times. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Loretta Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Coraline - Awesome
I received this book in OK/decent time. Not the fastest product i've ever received but not the slowest. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Racalatta
5.0 out of 5 stars Written for the 8 to 14 age range...
While I purchased this book thinking that it would be another one of Gaiman's fantasies that is applicable for all ages, it is not. Read more
Published on Sept. 10 2010 by Ronald W. Maron
1.0 out of 5 stars First Ever Purchase from Amazon
I am Joel's father and am writing this review on his behalf. Your service was reffered to us and since Joel is an avid reader he was most enthused to try out Amazon. Read more
Published on June 1 2010 by Ron H. Kryger
4.0 out of 5 stars Coraline
Coraline
by Neil Gaiman
Harper Trophy, 2002
978-0-7443-1812-8
Children/Young Adult
162 pages
Supernatural Fiction
Paperback

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Published on Aug. 26 2009 by Clayton Bye
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