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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous. But there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.…

Coraline

by Neil Gaiman

Overall Book Review:

Coraline brings together the wild imaginings of fantasy, the morality teaching of fairy tales, and a dash of the darkness and horror into one story. The reader follows the exploits of Coraline, a child as curious as any other, who finds a secret more curious than most as she’s exploring her family’s home. Children who long for adventure and an escape from ordinary life will find a kindred spirit in the young heroine.

Neil Gaiman is a master of the art of storytelling, especially when it comes to the aspect of world building. His depiction of the real and the imaginary and the places where they merge immerses the reader in the story. Creatures that are comical, heroic, and monstrous populate the pages of this book, and all are described in a way that makes them believable and easy to imagine, even if they are unfamiliar in reality.

In addition to the rich storytelling, Coraline offers some valuable insights into life, insights that should resonate with children in a way that makes the story personal. Themes of the love for family, the value of contentment, and the necessity of imagination make this book a worthwhile read. Such themes should, as all good storytelling does, leave the reader better for having read it.


Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:Knife-throwing is used as part of a stage act; throughout the book, some characters have buttons in place of eyes, and this is described and sometimes illustrated in a creepy manner; a verbal threat; a few creepy scenes with monsters and disturbing imagery but no injury or gore; a character attacks others using supernatural powers; report of a character coming out of a grave in the past; a child is locked in a dark room; an animal has a bad scratch of unknown origin; a few creepy scenes in which a child hears something scratching to get into her room; an animal claws and bites a character, with some blood mentioned; a character loses an appendage, and this is both described and illustrated, but the illustration is not bloody.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Kidnapping; child abuse. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:

None

Overall Book Rating
Profanity/Language
Rating:
0
10
Violence/Gore
Rating:
3
10
Sex/Nudity
Rating:
0
10

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About the Reviewer

My taste in literature leans heavily towards sci-fi, fantasy, and (my favorite) horror, and the latter can present some fairly murky waters for parents to let their children explore. I enjoy novels of both the standard and graphic varieties. Since those genres, and graphic novels in particular, tend to appeal to boys, I hope that I can help other Boy Mommies in their quest to find books that their little video gamers--I mean, future bibliophiles will read and enjoy. When I am not reading, I enjoy tabletop role-playing games, video games, and singing karaoke. I have a wonderful husband who lets me indulge my reading habit by sharing the housework and being a great dad to our genius kids and their faithful hound.