by Neil Gaiman
AR Level 5.1, 5 points
I found Coraline after Googling “quick reads for sixth graders” and came across it on a list. I was looking for something entertaining and quick to fill the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations, 3 weeks with lots of other stuff going on. I figured after Wonder, I’d need something a little lighter but just as engaging.
Coraline is a polite young girl finishing out her summer with her parents and odd neighbors. She finds a key to an alternate reality where everyone has buttons sewn over their eyes, and she has to figure out a way to escape and return to her regular dismal time, which doesn’t seem so dreary after experiencing her Other Mother’s wrath.
What I liked about this book was that I enjoyed reading it aloud. If you want to grab the attention of a bunch of sixth graders, this is it. While it isn’t action-packed, it is creepy and haunting and suspenseful. It reminded me a lot of Holly Black’s Doll Bones, but not ghostly. More alternate reality and bizarre. Not gory and bloody like Grimm, but definitely scary if it were to be made into an accurate movie. Think Tim Burton. (Let’s not talk about the actual movie, because then it won’t be as positive a review.)
What I didn’t like about this book was it dragged a bit at the end. I couldn’t figure out the climax, but once I got to the picnic, it made sense. I can’t say much about what I didn’t like, because it was a really good book! My students loved it and wanted me to keep reading.
Book 25 of 40 (year 2)