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." 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.
"The most splendidly original, weird, and frightening book I have read, and yet full of things children will love."--Diana Wynne Jones "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, rise to your feet and applaud: Coraline is the real thing."--Philip Pullman, The Guardian "So wonderfully whimsical that readers of all ages will hungrily devour itCoraline is destined to become a classic.--Globe and Mail (Toronto) "A deliciously scary book that we loved reading together as a family."--Orson Scott Card "Chilly, finely-wrought prose, a truly weird setting and a fable that taps into our most uncomfortable fears."--Times Educational Supplement "Gaiman's tale is inventive, scary, thrilling and finally affirmative. Readers young and old will find something to startle them."--Washington Post Book World "It has the delicate horror of the finest fairy tales, and it is a masterpiece."--Terry Pratchett "Beautifully spooky. Gaiman actually seems to understand the way children think. "--Christian Science Monitor "Gaiman's pacing is superb, and he steers the tension of the tale with a deft and practiced narrative touch."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books " Walk through the door and you'll believe in love, magic, and the power of good over evil."--USA Today "A truly creepy tale. Beware those button eyes!"--Family Fun Magazine "A modern ghost story with all the creepy trimmings...Well done."--New York Times Book Review "A magnificently creepy story...Coraline is spot on."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review "Coraline is by turns creepy and funny, bittersweet and playful...can be read quickly and enjoyed deeply."--San Francisco Chronicle Book Review "An electrifyingly creepy tale likely to haunt young readers for many moons."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)