Friday 3 August 2018

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 3rd August 2018: "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell (Bloomsbury Children's Books)

Our Chapter Book of the Week this week isn't exactly new, but it seems incredible to think that we haven't reviewed it on the blog before...
Neil Gaiman's sublime "Coraline" (in our reviewed edition with additional illustrations from Chris Riddell) is a dark fantasy tale about a little girl who moves into a very strange set of flats along with her mum, dad and a supporting hotch-potch of crazy characters (oh, and a rather condescendingly purrrfect cat).

Coraline's life is ordinary and unremarkable until one day she discovers that the flats she lives in were once one big house - a house that hides a dark insidious secret at its heart.

When Coraline discovers a secret doorway she can't help herself and goes off to explore, finding an amazing parallel house ruled over by her "Other Mother" - a fiendish entity with a host of willing rat slaves acting as her eyes and ears, perfect black button eyes at that.

Coraline is lulled into feeling special and wanted by her Other Mother but soon realises that it's all a ruse, and her very soul may be at stake.

Coraline's Other Mother. Aside from a nail trim, and those eyes, what's the problem here? 
As Neil's story unfolds, Coraline begins to drift between her normal life and her life in 'the other place' until her parents disappear (are kidnapped) and soon she must fight to free them, and the souls of other children that the other mother has harvested for her own illicit gain over the years.

There are so many amazing descriptions in this book, from the characters (we love the crazed theatrical sisters) to the setting of a rambling old house that isn't quite right and doesn't quite belong.

Oh and the cat. All the greatest books need a cat that steals the show and saves the day.

Oh dear lord. Now we see the problem...
Most people will have fond memories of the "Coraline" story mostly because of the amazing Studio Laika stop-motion animated version of the tale, which subtly tweaks and even improves certain aspects of the story. But do revisit the book if you can (it usually fetches up at very reasonable prices online) as it's so deliciously dark and expertly woven, it's a real treat (just like most of Neil's work in fact).

"Coraline" by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell is out now, published by Bloomsbury Children's books (self purchased - not provided for review).