Coraline discovers a secret door in her new house that takes her to another house almost just like the one she left. Almost, but not quite the same, everything seems to have a thin veneer of dislike and bad intention and the "other mother" there doesn't intend for Coraline to EVER get back home. The trusty black cat helps Coraline find her way home in this very unsettling children's book.
Despite the label on the back that says "Ages 8 and up," this would give nightmares of one kind or another to most of the 8 year olds I know. While the "other mother" seems innocuous enough at first save for her bright button eyes, she quickly devolves into a thin, dead-skinned, spidery, vaguely carnivorous beast that reminded me of the eye-in-the-palm creature from Pan's Labyrinth. In fact, this whole story seemed like a warped combo of Home Alone and Pan's Labyrinth. The ghost children kept referring to the "other mother" as a beldam so I had to look it up. I thought it was a typo of bedlam until it kept coming up, but a beldam is a hag or ugly evil looking old woman (using define: on Google). I love a new word :) I really like this slim little volume. It took me maybe an hour to read it and it was truly a bit creepy, even for me!