Jean Westmoore; “Children’s selections”; Buffalo News; July 21, 2002; p.F5.
It’s probably risky to declare a new book a classic, but “Coraline” seems destined to become one. This terrifying and delightfully inventive story (by the author of “American Gods”) tells of a little girl named Coraline whose grumbling about her life launches her into a nightmare reality on the other side of a locked door, complete with an “other mother” with button eyes and a dismaying willingness to give her anything she wants. Coraline must summon up every bit of imagination and courage to defeat this “other mother” and free the captured souls of her parents. Gaiman, author of the Sandman graphic novels, displays a dazzling gift for storytelling, creating a chillingly creepy “mirror” universe where Coraline must search for clues to rescuing her parents. Even “minor characters” are fascinating: the elderly sisters who used to be actresses and the old man who hears valuable messages from his mouse circus. And like all the best children’s books, the heroine displays resourcefulness and courage but still seems like a real human child who comes up with a wonderful child’s solution to the final terror at the end. The target age group is 8 and up, but parents should decide if their kids can handle this story or not. McKean’s drawings, including the spooky one on the cover of a child who may or may not have those freaky eyes, enhance the horror.