Coraline

Coraline

4.4 766
by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean
     
 

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The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring....

In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her

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Overview

The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring....

In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it's different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

Critically acclaimed and award-winning author Neil Gaiman will delight readers with his first novel for all ages.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When a girl moves into an old house, she finds a door leading to a world that eerily mimics her own, but with sinister differences. "An electrifyingly creepy tale likely to haunt young readers for many moons," wrote PW in a boxed review. Ages 8-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Coraline and her family have moved to a new flat and life continues as normal. Mom and Dad are always busy and she is always bored. When her father offhandedly suggests that she count the doors and windows in their new home to keep her busy, Coraline finds one mysterious door that is locked. Intrigued, Coraline finds the key, opens the door, and finds herself in a very different world. Here, her parents are at the ready to entertain her and keep her happy. This "Other Mother" even cooks everything she likes. At first she thinks this is wonderful, but when she realizes that this Other Mother does not want her to return home, Coraline becomes determined to resist. Coraline makes one trip back home only to find that her real parents have disappeared. Knowing that the Other Mother is behind all this, Coraline returns to find out what has become of her real parents. With the help of a black cat, Coraline manages not only to resist the Other Mother but finds other children who have fallen under her spell. Ultimately, Coraline frees the children and makes sure that the Other Mother can harm no one else. Coraline ends up returning home to her real Mom and Dad and appreciates them in a way she never did before. This story provides a good edge-of-your-seat read without being terribly frightening. For those children who like to be scared, Gaiman's novel is a well-written alternative to Goosebumps. 2002, HarperCollins,
— Joan Kindig
Educators and parents: Here is a book you will actually want to read alongside your charge! Almost like a Buddhist sutra with its complex themes veiled by more simplistic ones, Coraline does not disappoint. If you are looking for a twist on an old standard—a black cat instead of a rabbit, a couple of washed-up actresses in place of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and a parade of mice replacing a retinue of other worldy creatures—it is all in this phantasmagoric fantastical horror novel. Coraline is Alice in Wonderland set in the 21st Century. Themes in the book include the power of imagination, the relationship of parents to their children, and a child's emerging sense of self, and how this growing individuality leads to the development of courage and fortitude to face life's difficulties. Because of graphic depictions and startlingly vivid imagery, I would be likely to suggest a middle school and older readership. 2002, HarperCollins Publishers, 176pp.,
— Laura Bullock
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-When Coraline and her parents move into a new house, she notices a mysterious, closed-off door. It originally went to another part of the house, which her family does not own. Some rather eccentric neighbors call her Caroline and seem not to understand her very well, yet they have information for her that will later prove vital. Bored, she investigates the door, which takes her into an alternate reality. There she meets her "other" mother and father. They are very nice to her, which pleases Coraline but also makes her a little suspicious. Her neighbors are in this other world, and they are the same, yet somehow different. When Coraline gets nervous and returns home, her parents are gone. With the help of a talking cat, she figures out that they are being held prisoner by her other parents, as are the souls of some long-lost children. Coraline's plan to rescue them involves, among other things, making a risky bargain with her other mother whose true nature is beginning to show. The rest of the story is a suspense-filled roller coaster, and the horror is all the more frightening for being slightly understated. A droll humor is present in some of the scenes, and the writing is simple yet laden with foreboding. The story is odd, strange, even slightly bizarre, but kids will hang on every word. Coraline is a character with whom they will surely identify, and they will love being frightened out of their shoes. This is just right for all those requests for a scary book.-Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Philip Pullman
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, rise to your feet and applaud: Coraline is the real thing.”
Diana Wynne Jones
“The most splendidly original, weird, and frightening book I have read, and yet full of things children will love.”
Terry Pratchett
“It has the delicate horror of the finest fairy tales, and it is a masterpiece.”
Orson Scott Card
“A deliciously scary book that we loved reading together as a family.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Gaiman’s pacing is superb, and he steers the tension of the tale with a deft and practiced narrative touch.”
Time Magazines Educational Supplement
"Chilly, finely-wrought prose, a truly weird setting and a fable that taps into our most uncomfortable fears."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Gaiman’s pacing is superb, and he steers the tension of the tale with a deft and practiced narrative touch.”
Times Educational Supplement
“Chilly, finely-wrought prose, a truly weird setting and a fable that taps into our most uncomfortable fears.”
USA Today
“ Walk through the door and you’ll believe in love, magic, and the power of good over evil.”
New York Times Book Review
“A modern ghost story with all the creepy trimmings…Well done.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Beautifully spooky. Gaiman actually seems to understand the way children think. ”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Gaiman's pacing is superb, and he steers the tension of the tale with a deft and practiced narrative touch.”
Family Fun Magazine
“A truly creepy tale. Beware those button eyes!”
Washington Post Book World
“Gaiman’s tale is inventive, scary, thrilling and finally affirmative. Readers young and old will find something to startle them.”
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“So wonderfully whimsical that readers of all ages will hungrily devour itCoraline is destined to become a classic.
San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“Coraline is by turns creepy and funny, bittersweet and playful…can be read quickly and enjoyed deeply.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

“Gaiman’s pacing is superb, and he steers the tension of the tale with a deft and practiced narrative touch.”

Globe & Mail (Toronto)
"So wonderfully whimsical that readers of all ages will hungrily devour itCoraline is destined to become a classic.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061972638
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/06/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
76,243
Lexile:
740L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Coraline (AER)

Chapter One

Fairy Tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten
— G.K. Chesterton.

Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house.

It was a very old house — it had an attic under the roof and a cellar under the ground and an overgrown garden with huge old trees in it.

Coraline's family didn't own all of the house, it was too big for that. Instead they owned part of it.

There were other people who lived in the old house.

Miss Spink and Miss Forcible lived in the flat below Coraline's, on the ground floor. They were both old and round, and they lived in their flat with a number of ageing highland terriers who had names like Hamish and Andrew and Jock. Once upon a time Miss Spink and Miss Forcible had been actresses, as Miss Spink told Coraline the first time she met her.

"You see, Caroline," Miss Spink said, getting Coraline's name wrong, "Both myself and Miss Forcible were famous actresses, in our time. We trod the boards, luvvy. Oh, don't let Hamish eat the fruit cake, or he'll be up all night with his tummy."

"It's Coraline. Not Caroline. Coraline," said Coraline.

In the flat above Coraline's, under the roof, was a crazy old man with a big moustache. He told Coraline that he was training a mouse circus. He wouldn't let anyone see it.

"One day, little Caroline, when they are all ready, everyone in the whole world will see the wonders of my mouse circus. You ask me why you cannot see it now. Is that what you asked me?"

"No,"said Coraline quietly, "I asked you not to call me Caroline. It's Coraline."

"The reason you cannot see the Mouse Circus," said the man upstairs, "is that the mice are not yet ready and rehearsed. Also, they refuse to play the songs I have written for them. All the songs I have written for the mice to play go oompah oompah. But the white mice will only play toodle oodle, like that. I am thinking of trying them on different types of cheese."

Coraline didn't think there really was a mouse circus. She thought the old man was probably making it up.

The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring.

She explored the garden. It was a big garden: at the very back was an old tennis court, but no-one in the house played tennis and the fence around the court had holes in it and the net had mostly rotted away; there was an old rose garden, filled with stunted, flyblown rose-bushes; there was a rockery that was all rocks; there was a fairy ring, made of squidgy brown toadstools which smelled dreadful if you accidentally trod on them.

There was also a well. Miss Spink and Miss Forcible made a point of telling Coraline how dangerous the well was, on the first day Coraline's family moved in, and warned her to be sure she kept away from it. So Coraline set off to explore for it, so that she knew where it was, to keep away from it properly.

She found it on the third day, in an overgrown meadow beside the tennis court, behind a clump of trees — a low brick circle almost hidden in the high grass. The well had been covered up by wooden boards, to stop anyone falling in. There was a small knot-hole in one of the boards, and Coraline spent an afternoon dropping pebbles and acorns through the hole, and waiting, and counting, until she heard the plopas they hit the water, far below.

Coraline also explored for animals. She found a hedgehog, and a snake-skin (but no snake), and a rock that looked just like a frog, and a toad that looked just like a rock.

There was also a haughty black cat, who would sit on walls and tree stumps, and watch her; but would slip away if ever she went over to try to play with it.

That was how she spent her first two weeks in the house — exploring the garden and the grounds.

Her mother made her come back inside for dinner, and for lunch; and Coraline had to make sure she dressed up warm before she went out, for it was a very cold summer that year; but go out she did, exploring, every day until the day it rained, when Coraline had to stay inside.

"What should I do?" asked Coraline.

"Read a book," said her mother. "Watch a video. Play with your toys. Go and pester Miss Spink or Miss Forcible, or the crazy old man upstairs."

"No," said Coraline. "I don't want to do those things. I want to explore."

"I don't really mind what you do," said Coraline's mother, "as long as you don't make a mess."

Coraline went over to the window and watched the rain come down. It wasn't the kind of rain you could go out in, it was the other kind, the kind that threw itself down from the sky and splashed where it landed. It was rain that meant business, and currently its business was turning the garden into a muddy, wet soup.

Coraline had watched all the videos. She was bored with her toys, and she'd read all her books.

She turned on the television. She went from channel to channel to channel, but there was nothing on but men in suits talking about the stock market, and schools programmes. Eventually, she found something to watch: it was the last half of a natural history programme about something called protective coloration. She watched animals, birds and insects which disguised themselves as leaves or twigs or other animals to escape from things that could hurt them. She enjoyed it, but it ended too soon, and was followed by a programme about a cake factory.

It was time to talk to her father.

Coraline's father was home. Both of her parents worked, doing things on computers, which meant that they were home a lot of the time. Each of them had their own study...

Coraline (AER). Copyright © by Neil Gaiman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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What People are saying about this

Philip Pullman

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, rise to your feet and applaud: Coraline is the real thing.”

Diana Wynne Jones

“The most splendidly original, weird, and frightening book I have read, and yet full of things children will love.”

Terry Pratchett

“It has the delicate horror of the finest fairy tales, and it is a masterpiece.”

Orson Scott Card

“A deliciously scary book that we loved reading together as a family.”

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