Monday, October 1, 2018

Reviews from the Children's Section - Coraline

One of my favorite genres and one that is the easiest for me to push aside is middle grade fiction. This year to make sure I get a little more children's and young adult fiction I thought I would designate the first Monday of every month Middle Grade Monday (though sometimes it doesn't end up working quite right) .  While a lot of my picks this year are classics I am trying to branch out a little bit and read new or at least recent releases.  For this month I'm working a little bit of creepiness in with Neil Gaiman's Coraline.  

Goodreads: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

This was a weird one.  I mean I expected it to be a weird one because I've watched the Gaiman's episodes of Doctor Who and I read The Graveyard Book but it was really weird.  I love the premise - I mean how can you not love the idea of a door that goes nowhere until one day it does?  I think any child has imagined a new house or a new world when they're bored and feeling ignored.

Coraline is a bit of a flat character but that's kind of the point.  She's a reflection of only what is going on in the present story.  We don't get much about her past or her deeper hopes and dreams.  Her actions, thoughts and desires are caught up only what is immediately going on around her.  But that allows for a much more plot driven book which really works.  I was drawn in and while not exactly holding my breath I did find some extra listening to time so I could find out just what happened.

Emma was in late elementary school when the movie came out and someone gave her this book for a gift and it freaked her out to the point she never finished it.  Reading it now I can definitely see why.  The imagery of the button eyes and creatures lurking in the dark is pretty creepy and I think would be difficult for a sensitive child.  However, for children (and adults) that love creepy subjects the world behind the door and Coraline's fight to do what's right is incredibly entertaining.  Plus, the sidekick is a cat who is gloriously catlike in his indifference so how can you not love that!

I listened to the audio read by Neil Gaiman and he did a really wonderful job with the pacing and his little sing song chapter titles were terrifying.

Overall, I really enjoyed this as an adult reader but I'd be a little nervous recommending this to a child younger than 11 or 12 and I'm not really sure it would appeal to that age group.  I imagine a number of children would enjoy it and it is well written but if you have a child who is the slightest bit sensitive to creepy or unsettling imagery you may want to read it first.


  1. I've only read the graphic novel of this one, but that was creepy too. I bet the novel is even more creepy. I should really read this. I like Gaiman's children's books more than his adult and YA stuff.

  2. Robin read this one as a child and I think was a bit creeped out by it. I haven't read it, because I'm pretty sure I'll be creeped out by it, too!

  3. I have a copy of this and never got around to reading it. Thanks for reminding me. And for your insightful review.

  4. Hmm, my ambivalence for Gaiman continues haha. On the one hand I've wanted to read his stuff for a while, but on the other his stuff always seems weird too. I guess I won't know til I try! Still, this sounds like an interesting and creepy-fun read for, like you said, the right readers!

  5. I started this book a couple of years ago and got bored. I didn't like The Graveyard Book all that much either and didn't think it should be middle grade, either. I have a "book you did not finish" box on my Better World Books reading challenge, so maybe I'll finish it. I have it in my Kindle. 👍✨

  6. LOL, yes Gaiman does weird. I must admit I am curious now!

  7. We've seen the movie and I felt like it wasn't for children at all; but, as I recall, it was sort of marketed to them.