Coraline, perhaps Neil Gaiman's most famous work (due to the movie adaptation), is one of those books that probably everybody has to read sometime. I'll be the first to admit that the only reason this book shot up on my to-buy and to-read list was because of the appearance of the signed limited edition slip case edition on the Book Depository (which is still available btw). It finally appeared in the mail, and what a thing of beauty!
Coraline is a quick read, with its large print and beautiful and haunting illustrations. I finished it within two and a half hours, easily, and I'm not a particularly fast reader. It tells the story of Coraline, a brave and adventurous little child who moves into a new house and goes exploring. She discovers a different world, where an evil creature steals her parents and wants to steal her soul. Especially when paired with the illustrations (which are different in my 10th anniversary copy, compared to the original version), this is a book that could easily have given me nightmares as a child.
But I would probably have liked it if my parents made me read it anyway. Above all, Coraline sends a strong message about bravery and a more subtle one about familial love. Coraline is a wonderful character, and I loved reading about her. I especially liked, in this 10th anniversary edition, reading about Neil Gaiman's writing process and the development of the story in his new foreword - and his sweet updated acknowledgements at the end. I'm becoming a bigger and bigger Neil Gaiman fan! Must read more of his books soon! (And I only own one more that I haven't read! Time to order more??)
Neil Gaiman is a born storyteller, and this story is fantastic in its strange and haunting world, paired with the beautiful illustrations of Chris Riddell. It's a story that I hope all children would read - perhaps not as much the ones that are easily scared, but the others certainly. I wish I had discovered this as a child, but I'm happy knowing that my own children, if I ever get that far, will not suffer the same deprivation as me.