Despite being mostly known for his fantastical graphic novels and adult fiction, Neil Gaiman
's first book for children is everything that you would expect from such a massive imagination as his. It's special and wonderful and very weird indeed. Described by some as the new Alice in Wonderland
is actually more bizarre than that, much more frightening and its modest length definitely adds to the book's undiluted potency.
Shortly after moving into an old house with strange tenants above and below, Coraline discovers a big, carved, brown wooden door at the far corner of the drawing room. And it is locked. Curiosity runs riot in Coraline's mind and she unlocks the door to see what lies behind it. Disappointingly, it opens onto a brick wall. Days later, after exploring the rest of the house and garden, Coraline returns to the same mysterious door and opens it again. This time, however, there is a dark hallway in front of her. Stepping inside, the place beyond has an eerie familiarity about it. The carpet and wallpaper are the same as in her flat. The picture hanging on the wall is the same. Almost. Strangest of all, her mum and dad are there too. Only they have buttons for eyes and seem more possessive than normal. It's a twisted version of her world that is familiar, and yet sinister. And matters get even more surreal for Coraline when her "other" parents seem reluctant to let her leave.
Her attempted escape from this nightmare alternative reality sees Coraline experience a chilling series of ever more bizarre encounters. Some are plainly odd, others disturbingly spooky and together they combine to form an immensely readable story. It's like all the best bits of the Goosebumps books condensed into 160 pages. A unique reading experience guaranteed. (Ages 10 and over)--John McLay
"it blew my mind. ... I've since re-read the novel and it's even better than I remembered." -- The Times Educational Supplement, Adele Geras, August 2nd 2002
"it reads like Alice in Wonderland crossed with Stephen King." -- Independent on Sunday 30th June 2002
"this is a marvellously strange and scary book. ...Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, rise to your feet and applaud: 'Coraline' is the real thing." -- Philip Pullman, The Guardian, 31st August 2002