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Friday Night Book Reviews: “Write Before Your Eyes,” “Coraline” and “Baby’s First Year”

October 3rd, 2008

I like baby books, because they help make it so you (mostly) can’t remember all that goo. You just remember the goo-goo. “Baby’s First Year,” (Lydia Ricci, Random House, $19.95) a “milestone journal” that comes with its own nursery banner and stickers, is a lovely book. Compact, but not too compact. Precious, but not so precious that you’ll feel too intimidated to scribble in it. The pastel colors and backgrounds are unisex, and the book is accordion-pleated with space for photos, cards or whatever else you’d like to tuck in.

Now, on to something completely unlike all those pastels: “Coraline.” (Written by Neil Gaiman, with illustrations by Dave McKean.)

“Lunchtime, Coraline,” said the woman.
“Who are you?” asked Coraline.
“I’m your other mother,” said the woman. “Go and tell your other father that lunch is ready.”

That’s when my chills started. And the rats hadn’t even shown up yet to sing. The kids and I are looking forward to the movie coming out.

“Write Before Your Eyes” (by Lisa Williams Kline, Delacorte Press/Random House, $15.99) just came out. I knew I would love it the minute I read the opening quote, from “Half Magic,” by Edward Eager:

“If you have ever had magic powers descend on you suddenly out of the blue… You have to know just how much magic you have, and what the rules are for using it.”

Ain’t it the truth, Ruth.

Gracie Rawley picks up an old journal for a quarter at a yard sale. It has old, crackly pages, that are water-stained, with thin lines.

“Not that one! She mustn’t take that one!” a tiny old woman calls, as the woman’s son sells Gracie the journal anyway. Then what she writes in the book begins to come true — a kiss, a date, a Cheshire Cat… How is she going to deal with this one? Great for middle-school students.

Reviewed this evening:


  1. The Other Laura says

    How scary is “Coraline”? Too much so for my sensitive seven year old with the vivid imagination?

    October 4th, 2008 | #

  2. Elizabeth says

    My 14 year old daughter still insists that she has no idea why I was creeped out at Coraline. That was some five years ago that I read it out loud to my son and we were both creeped out by it! Loved it, though. It prompted a Neil Gaiman binge.

    I’d say it’s highly individual as to whether it’ll scare your seven year old, The Other Laura, as my daughter at the time didn’t like to watch X-Files with us because it was too scary but she didn’t mind Coraline one bit. But I’d say the safe bet is not to read it right now.

    October 4th, 2008 | #

  3. WackyMommy says

    Elizabeth — kids are kooky, aren’t they? X-Files freaked me out, too. I could never get into it. It wasn’t as scary as, say, Wheel of Fortune, though ;)

    TOL, maybe you should give it a read first? I think anything with rats is scary, but I did love Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

    October 4th, 2008 | #

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