Catie's Reviews > Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
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's review
Sep 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: children-s, read-in-2011, fantasy, graphic-illustrated-novels, me-and-the-girls, audio
Read from September 08 to 09, 2011

This would be a perfect choice for a road trip with small children (maybe age seven and up or so). It’s an incredibly imaginative, quirky adventure that’s simple yet not excruciatingly so. I felt entertained throughout, and some of the dialogue had me laughing out loud. There’s no question that this book is creeeeeepy but I’m one of those people that believes kids can handle a lot more than watered down fluff books. Coraline is such a wonderful heroine: she’s a clever, matter of fact, singular girl with an awesome fashion sense (Day-glo green gloves and yellow wellington boots that look like frogs? YES.) and a quiet determination to succeed even though no one takes her seriously. The stakes are high, the villain is completely unsettling and evil, and Coraline is alone, but she triumphs! It is very satisfying.

Coraline (who everyone mistakenly calls Caroline) lives in a big old house, once a large estate, but now divided up into flats. Her parents are constantly unavailable and absorbed with boring work on their computers, except for when her Dad wants to try out a crazy recipe or her Mum wants to go shopping for boring school clothes. There’s no one for her to play with except the eccentric Misses Spink and Forcible, former actresses, and the old man in the attic who claims to be the ring leader for a mouse circus. More than anything, Coraline wants something new, an adventure, even if it might be dangerous.

On the first day Coraline's family moved in, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible made a point of telling Coraline how dangerous the well was, and they warned her to be sure she kept away from it. So Coraline set off to explore for it, so that she knew where it was, to keep away from it properly.”

This book is exceedingly quotable; the paperback is only one hundred sixty two pages, but there are three pages of quotes currently listed on goodreads. I particularly loved Coraline’s conversations with the cat:

What's your name,' Coraline asked the cat. 'Look, I'm Coraline. Okay?'
'Cats don't have names,' it said.
'No?' said Coraline.
'No,' said the cat. 'Now you people have names. That's because you don't know who you are. We know who we are, so we don't need names.”

Definitely another cat for the “best talking cats” list. The writing is spare but still manages to be atmospheric and inventive. This quote is so simple, but it’s one of my favorites:

The sky had never seemed so sky; the world had never seemed so world."

Finally, I have to mention that this audiobook is narrated by the author and he does an AMAZING job. If I could have one person narrate my life, it would be Neil Gaiman.

Perfect Musical Pairing

The Rat’s Song

This is the audiobook version of the Rat’s Song that Neil Gaiman wrote for the book. It appears in segments in the book, and in the audio version (as you’ll see) it is chanted in eerie, echoing verses. I listened to this while walking through heavy fog right before sunrise and it was CREEPY. Enjoy! Try not to have too many nightmares.

Also seen on The Readventurer.
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Reading Progress

09/08 page 2
03/20 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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message 1: by Becca (new)

Becca Weird weird movie. My husband loved it. I was creeped out by it.

Catie I loved the movie too :)

The book is very very similar; creepy and weird but in a good way (or so I thought).

message 3: by Becca (new)

Becca I watched it well over a year ago (like when it first came out) and I still haven't decided whether I liked it or not. Just plain creepy, but I don't know if it's in a good way for me. Hahaha!

Catie :) Well, I probably wouldn't recommend the book to you then, haha. It's really just very similar. They obviously did a good job with the movie.

message 5: by Limonessa (last edited Sep 11, 2011 02:45PM) (new)

Limonessa My dad showed my 4 year old daughter (and my 3 y.o. old son, for that matter) the movie of this book. O_o
The little one didn't mind (probably didn't even notice what was going on) but the girl was positively creeped out by that door. So yeah, I agree with you Catie that it's better for 7 year olds or up.

Catie Yeah, it's a bit too scary for that age (although I loved the movie!). I actually think that my five (almost six) year old could handle the movie. We listened to the beginning of this audiobook together (after I had finished the whole thing). She wasn't scared, but more confused. She's not quite old enough to follow everything yet.

Spider the Doof Warrior I should watch the movie. He tends to use that line quite a bit, but I don't mind because he doesn't nag the reader.


Catie Which line, Synesthesia?

You know, I think that this is my favorite Neil Gaiman. Although, I've only read Stardust and Neverwhere (and Good Omens, but I'm not really counting that). I'm on hold for American Gods though. Soon!

I agree, he rocks.

Spider the Doof Warrior The leaf and sky line.
It fits when you are leaving a strange world though.

Laraine Definitely loved the creepy, quirky factor in this one, both book and movie. My family didn't know what to make of the movie or why I liked it so much lol.

message 11: by Giselle (new)

Giselle The movie was great! Creepy, but great

Catie Yeah, it's probably not something that everyone will like. Obviously I think it's great too...I bet I would have liked it as a kid.

message 13: by Becca (last edited Sep 14, 2011 10:34AM) (new)

Becca Catie you should read the Graveyard book by Gaiman. I actually enjoyed that one quite and bit and I have a feeling you would love Death (the character). The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Catie Thanks, I will!

message 15: by Sonya (new) - added it

Sonya Sounds an interesting yet creepy book. Especially the song, so creepy. But I'm going to check it out. :-D

Catie I love this book so much. Do you happen to love talking cats, Sonia? If you do then this one is a must-read.'s a great children's fantasy. But I mainly love it for the talking cat. :)

message 17: by Sonya (new) - added it

Sonya Talking cats.. Erm. I tell you a secret, I always imagine what my cat is saying from those "mei~". haha. So, yes, I'd like a talking cat. ;-)

message 18: by Sonya (new) - added it

Sonya You've got a best talking cats list. That means a number of books happen to have a lovely talking cat? Do share with me. ;-)

message 20: by Sonya (last edited Mar 27, 2013 01:39AM) (new) - added it

Sonya thank you :-)

Sophie I wouldn't recommend it for 7 and up simply because I read it when I was 7 and I had nightmares for days. Maybe 10 and up would be better, since it is such a great book!

Catie My daughter read this at age seven and it remains one of her favorite books of all time. :)

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