Based on the novel by: Neil Gaiman

Adapted and illustrated by: P. Craig Russell

Read: 30 August 2015

I seen the ‘animated’ version of this, borrowed from the library at my kids’ request. I was not a big fan of that version, but I rather like the Neil Gaiman books I’ve read in the past, so I thought I’d give a written version a go before I wrote this story off as ‘eh’. While the library had all other versions checked out, this adapted one was available, so I got it. If nothing else, I told myself, I would get a kick out of the illustrations.

Man, am I glad I picked this one up, and gave the story a second chance.

As per typical, the book is better than the movie. First thing of note is the lack of the little creepy boy in this version. I don’t know if he is in the book (putting that one on hold next) but he was nowhere in this version, and I was glad (although apprehensive, expecting him to show up at any moment). I didn’t like him, and didn’t think he lent any benefit to the story. This version didn’t seem to suffer, and thrived without him.

Coraline (not Caroline) moves to a new house with her workaholic parents. The house is shared by some eclectic neighbors, and whether it is the house, or something else, as soon as the weather turns bad, Coraline is drawn to the strange door in the parlour – a door that appears boarded up. At least at first.

But things are never what they seem, and if anyone knows how to portray that, it is Neil Gaiman.

Coraline finds new parents that dote on her and give her the time of her short life. They only ask one thing in exchange, and Coraline, a stubborn child, is not in the mood to give them what they want. So she leaves it all behind.

Or, so she assumes.

When her parents go missing, she knows what she has to do. With the help of a haughty cat (aren’t most in the good books?), a stone lent to her by her aging-actress neighbors, and her own stubborn will, Coraline locates not only her parents, but the souls of three mysterious children. And escapes again.

But its not over. Not yet.

The story shows what a little bit of ingenuity can do, how imagination can sometimes play tricks on you, and that not everything is just a figment of your imagination. Sometimes, something really is out to get you!

A good spooky story for kids, a good reminder of childhood for older people, and a warning to pay attention to your kids for parents. After all… you never know…

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