A young friend told me I should read these two books, and she was right. Gaiman has a pretty impressive reputation for adult fantasy and the graphic series Sandman, but these were in the Children’s room.
Coraline seems to be an industry of its own. The library owns not only the novel, but a graphic version, a recorded version, a game version, and the soundtrack to the movie, which is itself on order. Coraline feels her parents ignore her, only to find a secret part of her house, where an alternate mother and father want to lavish attention on her. If only they weren’t so creepy. One quickly recognizes many of the aspects of a horror story here, and I would have guessed it a little too scary for upper elementary kids, tho a lot has changed since I was that age.
The Graveyard Book seems less overtly horror–more an adventure story in the classic mode. Think Treasure Island or The Jungle Book. After his family is murdered, a baby grows up in a cemetery, adopted by the dead, and protected by Silas, who seems to be a vampire. The men who killed his family are still looking for young Nobody Owens, Bod for short, who says, “If I go outside in the world, the question isn’t “who will keep me safe from him” . . . It’s “who will keep him safe from me?”
Good stuff, which has me curious about Gaiman’s novels for adults.