PW Daily for Booksellers has been running a series of short pieces in which authors pick their favorite books of the year. This was in today’s edition, submitted by Robin Hobb:
“Coraline by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins) was my favorite book this year. I think Diana Wynne Jones hit the nail on the head when she said it will ‘nudge Alice in Wonderland out of its niche at last.’ This book is like a perfectly concocted recipe of balanced elements. I held my breath through the last half of this book, fearful that he had charted it so perfectly but would make a misstep toward the end. He didn’t. This is a book that children have long deserved, one in which the main character acts with thought, logic and creativity to extricate herself from a frightening situation and ultimately triumph completely over her antagonists (something that is completely missing in Alice in Wonderland!). It’s a book that parents should read before giving to their children, as for some it might be a bit too frightening. Actually, no, that’s not the whole reason. It’s a book that parents should read before giving to their children because it’s so good that once the kid gets it, you may never get a chance at it again. Buttons on a plate!
Robert Dunbar’s includes Coraline in his top 30 children’s books for 2002, as listed in the Dec. 14 Irish Times, calling it a “…marvellously creepy story of real and parallel worlds, both dominated by the resourceful, courageous heroine.” Doreen Nagle from Gannett News Service recommends Coraline for the holidays in a Dec. 11th article, noting that “this book can be a little frightening, so know your reader well.” Julia Eccleshare recommends Coraline in an Observer children’s fiction roundup from Dec. 7th, saying it “…leaves a haunting chill…Coraline’s slip between the real and the unreal world is delicately conveyed, and all the more deadly for it”. Kari Wergeland says in a Seattle Times children’s fiction roundup from the same day that “…this offbeat macabre tale should prove to be a big hit.”