Everyone loves a good scare from time to time, especially when conjuring up the scarescape in our own heads. Gaiman's wonderfully paced writing and characteristic fancies gives us all the help we need. The story is set in England where, as everyone knows, ghosts play cricket in the autumn dusk and witches go shopping at the neighbourhood Castle Tesco. Besides being doughty in the best traditions of 'oh well, let's not make a fuss now and set about battling the dragon', Coraline, the young heroine of the tale, has an active curiosity and imagination that literally opens doors for her. Among the neighbours, the humans are batty and the animals are wise. The others are just plain sinister.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. If you dismiss this book merely as children's fiction, think again. Like some great writing, this works for everyone. And if you are a parent who thinks they can fob off their children with distractions so that they'll let you work, you must read this book before something happens. To you.
Coraline was made into a well-received stop motion animation film in 2009 by Henry Selick. There are a few changes to the characters and settings (sadly, perhaps keeping the box office in mind, the story moves to the USA). But the movie is lovingly made, and the translation from word to image is magical. The animation is seamless and it's hard to pick out the fact that the movie is a stop-motion one.
And after you've seen the film, go back to the opening credits.
image courtesy: http://vindicated13.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/coraline.jpg