Coraline: The Graphic Novel by Neil Gaiman

Coraline: The Graphic Novel
Neil Gaiman
HarperCollins (2009)
ISBN 9780060825454
Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views (6/09)


Coraline Jones and her parents recently moved into a huge old house on a large piece of land.  This is perfect for Coraline because she loves to explore her surroundings.  Since there are no other children for Coraline to play with, she often visits her eccentric neighbors.  Miss Spink and Miss Forcible are retired actresses.  Mr. Bobo is training rats to form a circus.  When she grows tired of their company, Coraline begins exploring the house and discovers a locked door.  Upon opening it, she finds the only thing on the other side is a brick wall.  Later when she opens the door again, the bricks are gone and Coraline enters a new world which is much like her own, except she has another mother and father who do not want to let her go back.  She is forced to devise a way to escape and keep her real parents safe.

This book is intended for children ages eight and older.  It is presented in a format resembling a comic book, so even children who do not particularly like to read may be interested.  The story is fun and imaginative and the reader will find herself caught up in Coraline’s adventures.  The illustrations are excellent, although I did find one or two of them to be a bit creepy.  Younger readers may have some difficulty understanding when Coraline is in her real world and when she is in the alternate world.  They also may find the story a little scary at times.

“Coraline” is entertaining but it also contains an important message for children.  Coraline is often bored and thinks her parents are too busy for her.  She also hates the strange meals her father makes.  Her “other parents” serve great food and always want to spend time with her.  However, when she learns the true motives of the “other parents” she begins to appreciate what she has and realizes how much she is loved.

Readers will enjoy sharing Coraline’s adventures.  The story contains aspects of fantasy and suspense and allows the reader to use her imagination.  The colorful characters and detailed illustrations in “Coraline” by Neil Gaiman further enhance the already enchanting story.

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