Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gaiman/Russell's Coraline by Ali Siweckyj

1.      1. Coraline’s illustrations are realistic with just a hint of cartoon to them. Detail is given to characters and background alike, but not an inordinate amount like we saw with Blankets. This book is done in color, which is important to the storyline. In the story, Coraline travels back and forth from the real world to a world created by her “mother”. The alternate world is supposed to look just like her real world even though it is “evil”. The colors are not darker in this alternate world like one would expect them to be, and that makes it all the creepier. This story is supposed to be scary, and the illustrations only add to that.
2. Coraline was actually a book before it was a graphic novel. I actually read the original book when I was younger, so it was interesting to see how my imagination differed from what P. Craig Russell came up with. The largest difference for me what the description of the other world once it is disappearing. With illustration, the mangle of the trees, the dripping away of the house, the story really comes to life at this point. One thing I think is great about Coraline becoming a graphic novel as well is the implications in the classroom. Assigning a work like this to a class with mixed levels of reading ability would be genius. The skilled readers could, and probably would, enjoy the original book while unskilled readers would stay enthralled with the aid of illustration. Both students are reading the same book and both students are progressing.
      3. The story is narrated in the third person, and only Coraline’s thoughts are known. I like this approach because it adds to the suspense of the novel. When we are first introduced to the other mother we have no idea what her intentions are. When we first meet the ghost children we don’t know if they’re there to help or harm Coraline. Only knowing Coraline’s ideas makes it so much more interesting. Another thing that is special about this narration is that sometimes we don’t even know what Coraline is thinking or planning. This is illustrated very well when she makes a trap for the hand. We just know that she’s gathering things and going out to the well. We only find out her intentions in “real time”. It’s great for the suspense in the novel.
      4. When Coraline goes back into the other world to search for her parents, there is a point where the other mother sits her down and is conversing with her, and she begins eating bugs out of a little jar. I like this scene because it really adds to the value of the graphic novel version of this story. There is a big difference in reading “she ate a bug” and seeing them crunching between her sharp, smiling teeth. The other mother looks terrifying as you see a close up of her mouth, full of bugs, and her black button eyes.

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