Inside Neil Gaiman’s Imagination

By Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Dave McKean
Harper, $6.99, 185 pages

Coraline by Neil Gaiman is a wonderful story about the creepy imagination of a bored little girl. Upon moving to a new house, Coraline observes the oddities of her neighbors – the man upstairs with the mouse circus and the round, old former actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and their aging Highland Terriers downstairs. But Coraline is bored. She has counted and categorized everything, including the 14 doors in the house. The fourteenth door is blocked by a wall of bricks when opened.

One night Coraline is awoken and drawn to the door by a skittering shadow that disappears through it – the door that is somehow no longer blocked by bricks. Delighted by the mystery, Coraline goes through the door and the tunnel beyond it to meet her Other Mother. Coraline finds herself in a version of her boring life – same house, same neighbors, same gardens, but instead of parents who are too busy for Coraline’s antics, she has Other Parents who will play with her all day long…for a price: they have large round buttons for eyes and they want Coraline to have button eyes too. Only then can they play!

Neil Gaiman weaves a psychologically creepy web with his choice of descriptive words. This imaginative story will appeal to a younger audience with a taste for the unusual, but is also suitable for adults looking for a new kind of creepy.

Reviewed by Rachel J. Richards

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