06—Coraline by Neil Gaiman

As a former children's librarian,  who likes to read children's books, but who hasn't read many of them since he retired in 1997, I was intrigued by the ads for the movie version of Coraline. And, as happens when books get translated to the rainbow screen, only the basic plot of the book makes it to the movie.

The plot: Coraline and her family move to a new flat in the country. Coraline's mother and father are, in Coraline's view, less than adequate. One day, while exploring the new flat, Coraline discovers a door to nowhere that is actually a tunnel to an alternate world where her parents are everything she thinks she wants them to be but they have buttons for eyes.

Long story short Coraline's "other mother" wants to keep her and to do so, Coraline has to agree to stay and have her eyes replaced by buttons. Coraline realizes she doesn't want this alternate universe but the other mother has imprisoned her parents in an attempt to force Coraline to stay with her.

Coraline, through wit and luck and with the help of a cat who transverses the two universes, defeats the other mother and rescues her parents.

All that said, in the grand scheme of things, the differences between the movie and the book are insignificant. Each is a wonderful work of art and worthy of your time.

Gaiman is a true descendent of Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket, with little bit or Rod Serling thrown in. His latest children's book, The Graveyard Book is the 2009 Newberry Medal book.

© Surveyor of the Passing Scene