I was struck by Lisa's post yesterday about playing the Lion Game; what struck me was her young son's conviction that she really had "gone away" and had become something else. In this case, she had become a lion to him, and he was as frightened as if it had really happened. You could say that for him, it really had happened. This is a confusion that children grow out of; when they're older they can recognize their parents under masks or in costumes, and not be bewildered.
Yet the fear... do children outgrow it? Today's review is of a spectacularly creepy book which enthralls middle grade children and unnerves parents. Coraline, by the masterful storyteller of the macabre, Neil Gaiman.
Here we have a child left to her own devices in an old house. Her parents are busy and distracted. She finds a mysterious passageway into a mirror house, and to her surprise and initial delight, she finds another set of parents.
"Coraline?" the woman said. "Is that you?"
And then she turned around. Her eyes were big black buttons.