Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Gaiman, N. (Adapted & Illustrated by Russell, P.C.) (2008). Coraline. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.

Plot Summary:
Coraline and her family move into an old house that is divided up into four flats. Miss Spink and Miss Forcible live below her with their little dogs; they were both once actresses. Mr. Bobo and his mouse circus live above Caroline's family. The apartment next to hers is empty. While exploring on a rainy day, Caroline discovers a door in her family room that has been blocked by bricks. One day, she tries the door again to find that the bricks are gone. Coraline enters into the doorway and travels down a hall that leads her back into the room from which she came, except it's not quite the same. Two people similar in appearance to her mom and dad are there, but their eyes have been replaced by buttons. She finds out from the woman that she is her "other mother." In addition, there is an other Miss Spink, Miss Forcible, and Mr. Bobo. Her other mother wants Coraline to stay with them rather than go back to her own life, but she decides to leave. Back in her own home Coraline discovers that her parents are missing. She realizes that she must go back into this other world to find them. Once there she understands that is not all that she must find and getting back to her own world will be harder than she thought.

This is an excellent graphic novel. The story itself is very bizarre and spooky and lends itself well to being made into a graphic novel. Coraline is an interesting little girl, clever, courageous and curious and scared and needing her parents all at the same time. The story was incredibly imaginative. The illustrations are wonderful. Russell captured the spookiness of the "other" characters and their button eyes, while also making Coraline and her real world very comfortable and average looking.

graphic novel, fantasy, horror

Reading Level:
Ages 9 - 12

Similar Books:

family, courage

ALA Booklist Editors' Choice
School Library Journal Best Book
Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice

Character Names/Descriptions:
Coraline: Young girl, only child, just moved into a new house, clever, curious, courageous, finds her "other mother" while exploring

Miss Spark and Miss Forcible: old women living below Coraline's family, former actresses, give Coraline the stone that helps her defeat the other mother

Other Mother: the spooky woman who creates the other world and tries to keep Coraline in this world

While exploring, Coraline happens upon a door that leads to another world, an "other" world. Initially she finds the warmth and comfort of home in this other world, but soon realizes that she must leave, which will be no easy task.

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