Coraline has just moved to a new apartment with her mother and father. There isn’t much to do, especially when it rains. She has two crazy ladies below her- both claim to be stage actresses. Above her, an old man claims his rats are preparing a show. Her Dad is working in his office, and her Mom is still unpacking. Coraline (or Caroline as her neighbors like to call her) has nothing to do. She’s read Lily’s Ghosts, Warriors: Into the Wild, and The Wall and the Wing. She’s watched Totoro and Babe. After bugging her Dad, Coraline decides to do as he said; count all the windows and doors. She’s counted the windows, onto the doors. Except… one door won’t open.

Her mother unlocks it and shows Coraline that it is just a brick wall. But… is it? Coraline feels that there is something behind that door.

Later, when her Mother goes out shopping, Coraline mysteriously finds the locked door unlocked. She opens it, and darkness appears before her. She walks into it, and there is an exact copy of her house on the other side. There’s her mother, baking something. Her mother turns around. And has buttons for eyes.

Coraline learns she has an “Other Mother” and an “Other Father”. They both have button eyes, and long, creepy fingers. They want to sew buttons in her eyes. She runs back to her house, but soon she is back to the other family. Her real parents have disappeared and Coraline won’t let them go.

The art both adds and detracts to the original story. I don’t have with me the book, but I think it was more haunting. The graphic novel is creepier, though it will induce less nightmares. Russell is a great artist- he does the buttons just right! I would have liked the cover without the bats, since bats do not play a big part in the book. Rats, but not bats. The illustrations flow flawlessly from one “box” to the next. The text is obviously not as disturbing and wonderful as in the novel, though it is adequate.

Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, along with Coraline, were my favorite characters drawing-wise. Russell really captures the spirit of all of them. I can’t say that I enjoyed the father as much as the mother. The mother was possibly the best character drawn- she worked so well as the real and other without transition. When she was real, I felt like she was a good mother, but when the other mother came, I felt absolutely terrified. Her face made me shiver and her hand- it made me want to shrivel up.

I’m not much for horror, in fact I’ve never read any before, but Coraline is one book that you should read. Altogether creepy and adventurous, I wouldn’t recommend this to the faint of heart.

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