Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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Adapted and illustrated by P. Craig Russell. HarperCollins, 2008.
Highly recommended. I came to the graphic novel adaptation of Coraline with trepidation as I had enjoyed the original so much. Could the illustrated version match up to the story that lingered in my mind? Would pictures enhance the story or spoil the images from my imagination? Would it be able to send chills up my spine? The answer is yes to all three questions. It is a totally engrossing and powerful read that will captivate the reader who comes across it first, and enhance the experience for those who have enjoyed the novel.

Coraline is an intrepid heroine who discovers a strange door in her new home when exploring. She opens it and enters an alternative world, with an 'Other mother' and 'Other father'. At first she enjoys 'all the remarkable things in there she'd never seen before' but eventually decides to go home. However, her 'Other mother' is evil and when Coraline's real parents disappear into the other world she decides that she must try and rescue them. What an adventure she has!

Russell's illustrations perfectly complement the story. Coraline is portrayed realistically as an ordinary girl dressed in shorts or jeans. This contrasts with the horrendous pictures of the black button eyes of the people, and the red eyed rats that inhabit the 'other world'.

There are enough thrills to please the fans of horror. It is great to see a feisty heroine discovering that being courageous is doing something when you are really scared, and then having the ability to come up with brilliant and tenacious solutions to her problems.
Pat Pledger