Monday, August 24, 2009

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean (2002)

After reading The Graveyard Book and American Gods I had planned to read the complete works of Neil Gaiman. I found this book engaging, but not necessarily one that I find compelling enough to recommend to others.

The market for this book is probably upper elementary. It's marked as 9-12 years old with a Lexile score of 740 (approximately 5th grade). I need to check with some 5th graders about their reaction to the book. It has been made into a film just this year. I didn't hear much buzz about the movie--perhaps it wasn't much of a hit. But, I've been preoccupied with work so I may just have missed it.

I can understand why it may not have been a big favorite of parents and kids. I found the plot and characters too "dark" for kids in this age-range. I would be afraid that my child would have nightmares after reading or viewing this. Overall the message/theme of the book is positive, but the landscapes and tone are too dark for me to want to recommend to younger readers. I don't necessarily see middle school/junior high students being drawn to this. But, I may be mistaken.

I have 2 more Gaiman books on my stack. I began Anansi Boys but turned instead to a Jeffery Deaver book for my next read. We'll see if I return to reading Gaiman--after finishing Deaver I picked up Lisa Lutz, The Spellman Files, as something a bit lighter. I need some comedy and humor in my life right now.

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