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Richard Bausch: IMG Why Literature Can Save Us



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    Richard Bausch 9780307266262

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1 Hawthorne Children's Middle Readers- General

Coraline

by

Coraline Cover

 

 

Author's Note

More then ten years ago I started to write a children?s book. It was for my daughter, Holly, who was five years old. I wanted it to have a girl as a heroine, and I wanted it to be refreshingly creepy.

I started to write a story about a girl named Coraline. I thought that the story would be five or ten pages long. The story itself had other plans....

It was a story, I learned when people began to read it, that children experienced as an adventure, but which gave adults nightmares. It's the strangest book I've written, it took the longest time to write, and it's the book I'm proudest of.

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readersrespite, January 27, 2009 (view all comments by readersrespite)
Young Coraline isn't all that happy with her life. Her parents work too much and, as young children are wont to be, she's bored. But when she discovers her alternate life behind a hidden door, she begins to think that her real life isn't so bad. Evil lurks behind every corner as Coraline tries desperately to regain her "old" life.

Advertised for ages eight and up, Coraline is, for all intents and purposes, a horror book for kids. Scary, but without the gore.

And although I haven't interviewed any eight year olds on the matter, I suspect Gaiman largely succeeds in scaring the pee out of them. The alternate world Coraline stumbles into strangely mirrors her own, containing another set of parents who, despite their outward declarations of love and devotion, don't seem quite right. (Black buttons instead of eyes are a pretty big clue here.)

The alternate world Gaiman creates is quite well thought-out. And while the themes of the novella may not be original, the conveyance of it certainly is.

As rich as the plot is, however, there is something lacking in Coraline. We know she is a kind girl and even quite a smart girl. But that's about all we ever get to know. Ultimately, she's rather one-dimensional in a cardboard cutout sort of way. Perhaps this was by design, but I missed getting to know Coraline.

Hmmmmm. Here's the brutal truth: the thrill just wasn't happening for me. By no means is this an awful book. It won a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, and the Bram Stroker Award.

I read it. I didn't hate it. But neither am I running out and buying copies for every kid I know. Maybe I missed something. It's been known to happen.

I do, however, have high hopes for the forthcoming film version.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060575915
Author:
Gaiman, Neil
Publisher:
HarperTrophy
Illustrator:
McKean, Dave
Author:
McKean, Dave
Author:
by Neil Gaiman
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Science Fiction
Subject:
Horror & Ghost Stories
Subject:
Supernatural
Subject:
Suspense/Thriller
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - Horror
Subject:
Children s All Ages - Fiction - Science Fiction
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Subject:
Children's stories, English
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Children s-Scary Stories
Subject:
Family - Parents
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
20040531
Binding:
MASS MARKET
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
7.625 x 5.125 in 6.16 oz
Age Level:
12-17

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Related Subjects


Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Scary Stories » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z

Coraline Used Mass Market
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages HarperTrophy - English 9780060575915 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Coraline and her parents have moved to a new flat. One rainy day, with her parents too busy to entertain her, Coraline takes her father's suggestion and begins exploring her new house from top to bottom. She discovers a curious, locked door in the drawing room, and when her mother unlocks it, they find a brick wall left over from the days when the house was divided into apartments. But after a night filled with shadows and strange noises, Coraline becomes convinced that there is more to the drawing-room door. The next time she unlocks it, she discovers an apartment on the other side — a skewed version of her own, complete with an "Other Mother" and an "Other Father," just like her own parents except for their shiny button eyes. Coraline thinks at first that she has found a place filled with everything that she could ever want — but quickly realizes that the dark world she has discovered is less substance and more shadow. When her "Other Mother" kidnaps Coraline's real parents, she must use all of her wits and the help of some friends to try to save them all.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Those of you who are tired of waiting for a new Harry Potter novel might do well to pick up this little gem. Young Coraline finds a secret passage that leads her to a living nightmare. This book is scary, but not too scary, a little creepy, and very funny. Kind of like a good old-fashioned ghost story or fairy tale. The wonderful illustrations by Dave McKean bring Gaiman's tale vividly to life.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Coraline and her parents have moved to a new flat. One rainy day, with her parents too busy to entertain her, Coraline takes her father's suggestion and begins exploring her new house from top to bottom. She discovers a curious, locked door in the drawing room, and when her mother unlocks it, they find a brick wall left over from the days when the house was divided into apartments. But after a night filled with shadows and strange noises, Coraline becomes convinced that there is more to the drawing-room door. The next time she unlocks it, she discovers an apartment on the other side — a skewed version of her own, complete with an "Other Mother" and an "Other Father," just like her own parents except for their shiny button eyes. Coraline thinks at first that she has found a place filled with everything that she could ever want — but quickly realizes that the dark world she has discovered is less substance and more shadow. When her "Other Mother" kidnaps Coraline's real parents, she must use all of her wits and the help of some friends to try to save them all.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Those of you who are tired of waiting for a new Harry Potter novel might do well to pick up this little gem. Young Coraline finds a secret passage that leads her to a living nightmare. This book is scary, but not too scary, a little creepy, and very funny. Kind of like a good old-fashioned ghost story or fairy tale. The wonderful illustrations by Dave McKean bring Gaiman's tale vividly to life.

"Review" by , "[Neil Gaiman] is, simply put, a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him in any medium."
"Review" by , "I think this book will nudge Alice in Wonderland out of its niche at last. It is the most splendidly original, weird, and frightening book I have read, and yet full of things children will love."
"Review" by , "This book will send a shiver down your spine, out through your toes, and into a taxi to the airport. It has the delicate horror of the finest fairy tales, and it is a masterpiece."
"Review" by , "This book tells a fascinating and disturbing story that frightened me nearly to death. Unless you want to find yourself hiding under your bed, with your thumb in your mouth, trembling with fear and making terrible noises, I suggest that you step very slowly away from this book and go find another source of amusement, such as investigating an unsolved crime or making a small animal out of yarn."
"Review" by , "Delicate and extraordinary, it reads like Alice in Wonderland crossed with Stephen King..."
"Review" by , "A modern ghost story with all the creepy trimmings....Well done."
"Review" by , "[M]agnificently creepy....[S]ome deliciously eerie descriptive writing. Not for the faint-hearted — who are mostly adults anyway — but for stouthearted kids who love a brush with the sinister: Coraline is spot on."
"Review" by , "By turns creepy and funny, bittersweet and playful...can be read quickly and enjoyed deeply."
"Review" by , "[A]n electrifyingly creepy tale likely to haunt young readers for many moons....Gaiman twines his taught tale with a menacing tone and crisp prose fraught with memorable imagery..."
"Review" by , "Not since Narnia has the simple act of opening a door unlocked such a fantastic journey. And not since Alice tumbled down the rabbit hole has that journey been so splendidly strange and frightening."
"Review" by , "Inventive, scary, thrilling, and finally affirmative. Readers young and old will find something to startle them."
"Review" by , "Beautifully spooky. Gaiman actually seems to understand the way children think."
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