From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 6-8–This adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel (HarperCollins, 2002) reads as though it were intended for the graphic novel format in the first place. Insatiably curious Coraline is an explorer dedicated to discovering everything she can about the area around her family's new home. When she comes upon a door in their flat that seems to go nowhere, enters an alternate world that at first is full of interesting things and delicious foods–everything that she has longed for. However, the dangerous creature there–called the other mother– intends to keep her forever. After Coraline's parents are kidnapped into the other world, she sets off on a mission to rescue them. Russell's illustrations suit the tone of the story perfectly, from the horrific black button eyes of the people in the other world to Coraline's very telling facial expressions. The style is realistic, which makes the moments when the other world loses its solidity even more eerie. The pacing never lags, and Coraline's transformation into a girl who understands that having everything you want is the least interesting thing of all is natural. For readers who enjoyed the novel, Coraline is sure to complement their reading experience. Those who come to the book first as a graphic novel will be just as captivated.–Alana Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT
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*Starred Review* Russell, a 35-year veteran of comics and frequent collaborator with Gaiman, offers an adaptation of Gaiman’s 2002 novel Coraline (illustrated by Dave McKean), a tale of childhood nightmares. As in the original story, Coraline wanders around her new house and discovers a door leading into a mirror place, where she finds her button-eyed “other mother,” who is determined to secure Coraline’s love one way or another. This version is a virtuoso adaptation, streamlining passages that function best in prose and visually highlighting parts that benefit most from the graphic form. A master of fantastical landscapes, Russell sharpens the realism of his imagery, preserving the humanity of the characters and heightening horror, even as Gaiman’s concise storytelling ratchets up the eeriness. The adaptation loses none of Coraline’s original character; she’s clever, resourceful, intrepid, and highly determined when it comes to doing what must be done. Comics fans will delight in this version, and readers familiar with the previous book will greatly appreciate the opportunity to explore the story in a successful new way. Grades 4-7. --Jesse Karp
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