Ah ha! I didn't think I could count Coraline toward Cannonball Read because it weighs in at a very feathery 162 pages, but I checked the Facebook page and Woo hoo! Nicole has graciously allowed a length of "150 pages or so"!
I had seen the movie Coraline having not known it was based on a book. It was visually stunning and incredibly creepy. I enjoyed it thoroughly. You understand then, how happy I was when I came across the novel at a local used book store. I read it one afternoon while my husband drove us to and from an away hockey game.
Coraline's family has just moved into a new apartment in a house that has been divided into apartments. Coraline is an explorer and having met the other eccentric inhabitants of the house, one of whom warns her to steer clear of the dangerous well, she "set off to explore for it, so that she knew where it was, to keep away from it properly". When the weather prevents her from exploring outdoors her father encourages her to explore indoors, "Count all the windows and doors. List everything blue. Mount an expedition to discover the hot water tank. And leave me alone to work." She discovers 153 blue things, 21 windows and 14 doors, one of which will not open. It is behind this door that adventure lies. Behind this door is the other mother and near perfect copies, creepy copies with button eyes, of all of the tenants in Coraline's divided house. The other mother has promised Coraline happiness, heavenly food and the attention her emotionally absent parents fail to give her, but at a cost.
Coraline is the adventurer just about every kid wants to be. She exhibits the courage every kid wishes they had in but she still experiences the fear they know they would feel. When she realizes her parents are gone, the police won't help and her neighbors are useless, that she is utterly alone, despite being terrified, she fights back.
Neil Gaiman paints the picture perfectly. He does a fabulous job appealing to children and parents alike. He had begun writing Coraline for one child and ended it 10 years later for another. The eldest read it when it was completed and when Neil said he hoped she wasn't too old for it, she responded by saying "I don't think you can be too old for Coraline." I'd have to say I agree.