William Hartson; “Don’t go without a book”; Express on Sunday; 28 July 2002; P.72.
…IT SAVES space in your luggage if you pick books the whole family will read. You will, of course, be taking the latest Lemony Snicket volumes and, as soon as it comes out next week, the unauthorised autobiography of Lemony Snicket himself. Read it when the kids are asleep.
Another book the family will fight over is Neil Gaiman’s CORALINE (Bloomsbury, £9.99). With elements similar to both Harry Potter and Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials, it’s a magical concoction in the best tradition of recent children’s books…
Megan Schliesman; “Authors Bring Breath of Fresh Air for Children and Teens”; 6 August 2002;Wisconsin State Journal;p.B1.
…Some teens will be familiar with Gaiman’s work as creator of the “Sandman” graphic novels. He also writes fantasy novels, and one of them, “Stardust,” was named an Alex Award Winner by the American Library Association in 1999 as one of the top 10 adult novels that also would appeal to teens.
But Coraline is Gaiman’s first novel written specifically for older children and young teens, and it’s deliciously scary, perfect for those who like spine-tingling reading.
The novel is about Coraline, who finds a mysterious passageway in her new home that leads to another flat strikingly like her own, right down to the furniture in the rooms and the pictures on the walls. There is also a mother and father there, and they look and sound a lot like Coraline’s own parents, with the exception of their pale skin and button eyes.
And unlike her real parents, Coraline’s “other” mother and father, as they call themselves, seem eager to spend time with her. Too eager. When they show Coraline the pair of black buttons they’ve been saving just for her, she swiftly retreats to the safety of her real home, only to find her parents are missing. They’ve been taken prisoner by her “other” mother to lure Coraline back to that frightening place. And Coraline goes, uncertain of her bravery but sure in her determination to get her real parents back.
Gaiman’s eery, edgy story features a world that is an empty, chilling mockery of Coraline’s real life, and one frightening turn of events after the other. But that world – and the story – is warmed and tempered by the courage and heart of its hero.
Illustrator David McKean has worked with Gaiman on some of the Sandman titles and other ventures. In “Coraline,” his occasional black-and-white illustrations enhance the story’s gothic feel, while his cover image will help attract readers who like to be scared while deterring those who don’t…
H.J. Kirchhoff; “Book Review: AUDIO”; Globe and Mail 27 July 2002; p.D14.
…Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, read by the author, HarperCollins Canada, 3 hours, $26.95
Coraline is about a nine-year-old girl, the Coraline of the title, whose life with her work-at-home parents and eccentric neighbours is vaguely unsatisfying. On the other side of a supposedly blocked-up door, she discovers an alternative world, where her Other Mother and Other Father preside over a spooky mirror-image of her own home. With the help of a nameless cat, she resists the temptation to move permanently to her Other Home, and also rescues several lost children’s souls. The British-born, U.S.-based Gaiman reads beautifully, with every voice — including that of a gang of poetic rats — note perfect.
“The Staff or Bookmark, Spalding, Recommends their Summer Reading”
Lincolnshire Echo; 15 July 2002.
Reviewer: Tom Cassidy
Neil Gaiman’s debut children’s book is excellent. Coraline, a curious young girl, moves to a new flat, only to find there is another flat, just like her own, but everything seems a little better with nicer food and the cat talks to her. With the other flat, however, comes her other parents, who are possessive and reluctant to let her leave. Her attempted escape leads Coraline to a chilling series of even more bizarre encounters. Coraline has the imaginative feel of Alice in Wonderland, mixed with Roald Dahl’s most gruesome thoughts. A masterpiece…
“Previews: August”;The Bookseller; 17 May 2002; p.38.
Barbara Pendrigh, Hammicks, Cheltenham
Imagine opening a door in your living room, walking down a corridor, arriving at your replica home and being greeted by your “other mother”, with shiny black buttons for eyes and very long white fingers. Imagine that she is really determined that you will stay with her…forever. This is scary stuff indeed. Coraline (Bloomsbury, 5th, hbk [pounds sterling]9.99, 0747558531) by Neil Gaiman is an intelligent, original novel that delights in exploring an uncanny world of ever-changing rules, small rooms, whispering children’s souls and unhelpful, singing, acrobatic rats. Our young heroine, Coraline, considers that “the world has never been so interesting”. I found the book quite frightening, but I am sure that it will find a wide audience of children who, like me, will love its eccentricity and the author’s considerable storytelling skills…