Al_anna Smunt's Reviews > Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
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U_50x66
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Apr 18, 10

bookshelves: picture-books, fantasy-sci-fi, graphic-novels, 2010
Read on April 18, 2010

First off, the story is great, and the message clear, especially nicely summed up on page 133 when Coraline questions the fun in a life in which she were given anything she ever wanted. The illustrations are beautiful, and in many cases beautifully creepy. There is lots of room for visual literacy, as many frames are unaccompanied by text, which helps to slow down the rhythm of the story; the reader feels that she is supposed to linger in the frames and prepare for what's coming next.

Having already seen the movie, I wasn't as creeped out by the book as I might have otherwise been, but I can imagine it being quite a thrill for first-time readers, enough to scare a suspecting and unsuspecting reader alike. And on that note, I keep thinking about fun projects for class in comparing the all-text book to the graphic novel adaptation to the movie: to what extent did the movie version benefit from the addition of Coraline's male peer? How were the other parents portrayed similarly and differently in the three texts? I would hesitate to teach the book outside of a comparative text setting simply because it is a text that students middle school and up can navigate on their own, but it's perfect for lit circles. All in all, I'd recommend it to reluctant readers with an interest in sci-fi and/or horror, and anyone interested in graphic novels. I'm glad to have purchased it; it's a nice addition to my classroom shelf.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Al_ryanleagre (new)

Al_ryanleagre I was unable to purchase the graphic novel version, but instead read the all-text version. I felt the book was written in such a way that it needed no illustrations; that it actually created very creepy, yet beautiful images in my head. Do you think the graphic novel would be a better choice for students to read than the all-text version, or does it hinder their comprension and creativity by creating the images for the them?


message 2: by Tara (last edited Apr 25, 2010 06:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tara I was fascinated by the story of Coraline but I am undecided about how I feel about it being told in graphic novel form...

Anna, I love how you felt the images slowed you down and guided you to think about the story, but I found myself skimming over frames that did not have text in them. The images were creepy but I felt the story itself was what carried me as a reader through it. I have to admit that I could have easily skimmed right over the images without even noticing them. Ryan, I like how you describe Coraline as not needing illustrations and how the images were created in your head. I felt I created a set of images in my own head to go along with the story despite having the graphic novel version in front of me.

However, that being said, I completely see how this story does work in graphic novel form and how resistant readers would be drawn to it. The storyline is odd... as well as eerie... and some readers may enjoy the images as they can help one understand just how eerie the story is...


Q_joanneknowles I think that I would give some students the story in graphic novel form, and some the story in all-text form, depending on their preferences. Anna, I love your idea about comparing the two texts and the movie. Students would respond very well to that, I think. (And on a side note- I've never seen the movie, and this book REALLY creeped me out!)


Al_anna Smunt Al_ryanleagre wrote: "I was unable to purchase the graphic novel version, but instead read the all-text version. I felt the book was written in such a way that it needed no illustrations; that it actually created very ..."

Ryan, I agree with you—I would have probably preferred to read the novel sans illustrations, because I do prefer the creativity involved in imagining. But I do thing that for reluctant readers, pictures are a great place to begin. It's like a gateway to text without pictures.


Al_anna Smunt Tara wrote: "I was fascinated by the story of Coraline but I am undecided about how I feel about it being told in graphic novel form...

Anna, I love how you felt the images slowed you down and guided you to t..."


Tara,
I think that for readers like us, who are used to reading and enjoying texts without pictures, graphic novels are an acquired taste. It takes a little while to be able to let the pictures tell a portion of the story for us. The pictures say a lot, and it's the slowing down to take them in that is the hard part. I can't say at all that I prefer graphic novels to only text, but I do think they're fun in a very different way.


Al_anna Smunt Al_joanneknowles wrote: "I think that I would give some students the story in graphic novel form, and some the story in all-text form, depending on their preferences. Anna, I love your idea about comparing the two texts a..."

Joanne,
I would LOVE to compare all three texts in class, or have students compare them with each other. The movie is super creepy, you should definitely see it! There are a few parts that are different from the books, but in a good way. They added a character--a friend for Coraline--and a garden that Coraline's other mother creates as another gift for Coraline. I think it was in part to lengthen the book and provide more depth of character to Coraline. See the movie!


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