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The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring....

In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it's different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

Critically acclaimed and award-winning author Neil Gaiman will delight readers with his first novel for all ages.

Curriculet Details
41 Questions
43 Annotations
2 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for middle school students contains interactive videos exploring imagery and narrative voice, as well as annotations describing tone, mood, and plot. Students will explore the themes of desire and necessity. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Chapter I

"Oompah" and "toodle oodle" are both types of onomatopoeia. If you need to brush up on figurative language, watch the tutorial below.  (This annotation contains a video)
Coraline has lived in the flat with her parents for a long time. 
Coraline is interested in how animals blend and adapt to their habitat. This is a first peek at one of the themes of this story: fitting in. As we read, let's try to keep track of instances where Coraline or another character tries to blend in or wants to stick out.  (This annotation contains a video)
Explain, in your own words, what Coraline has learned about the door in the drawing room. 
As it is used here, the word "scuttled" most nearly means 
The dark shape scuttling across the floor of the drawing room makes us a little nervous. The way this moment is described builds tension in the story.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter II

Miss Spink is enjoying the pleasant memories of her past. By the way she speaks about her career, we can tell that she no longer works in the theater. Although she is reliving good memories, she seems to be sad that time in her life has passed. 
Why is Coraline wet after her walk? 
The door in the drawing room is going to become a central part of the plot of this story. Here is Coraline's first warning about the door. It doesn't sound very good, does it? 
Afternoon tea is a tradition in England. Coraline's invitation to join Miss Spink and Miss Forcible for tea is not unusual. (This annotation contains a video)
What kind of figurative language is being used by Coraline to describe the conversation between Miss Spink and Miss Forcible? 
Here is Coraline's second warning. While the ladies don't directly talk about the door in the drawing room, they still warn her of danger. Don't go through the door ... danger ahead ... sounds like Coraline is in for a scary adventure! 
Why does Caroline think that the idea of danger isn't a bad thing? Explain your answer in one or two complete sentences. 

Chapter III

This portion of the story reveals Coraline's desire to be different. Her school requires uniforms, but Coraline wants to stand out with her green gloves.  (This annotation contains an image)
"Suit yourself" doesn't actually mean to put a suit on yourself. It is an idiom.  (This annotation contains a video)
Based on the text, what should Coraline have found behind the door when she opened it? 
The author is introducing us to new characters here. The woman in this room will become a literary foil for Coraline's mother. What is a literary foil? Watch the video to find out.  (This annotation contains a video)
Using context clues, explain what the word "writhed" means in this sentence and suggest a word that could be used in its place. 
We have been reading this story for a while. Have you stopped to think about the narrator of the story? Who is telling us the story of Coraline? Watch the video below for a refresher on narrative point of view. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter IV

From the list below, which of the answer options is not present in Coraline's real world. 
Coraline is naturally a polite girl. As the story continues and Coraline's patience is tested. Can she hold on to this polite behavior or will she begin to speak up for herself. 
As it is used in this sentence, the word "abruptly" could be replaced with the word "skillfully" without changing the meaning of the sentence. 
A gramophone (or a phonograph) was a device used to play and record sounds, such as records.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Coraline get a knife thrown at the balloon on her head? 
The lines spoken here come from the play "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare. This scene is often nicknamed the balcony scene, and in it, Juliet is sad that she can't date Romeo because their families are at war. Miss Forcible is just reciting lines from famous plays for attention here.  (This annotation contains a video)
What kind of figurative language is being used in this sentence? 
What does it mean to be brave? Coraline battles with her fears throughout the story, and this battle is what makes her character so interesting.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter V

Which of the following adjectives best describes Coraline's character? 
Although the cat can speak in the other world, it appears that he is not speaking here. But he is still able to communicate with Coraline. Let's figure out how he is able to communicate without actually using words and put them in our notes. 
Explain in complete sentences why Coraline's mother writes backwards? 
Remember back to the first tea Coraline had with Miss Spinks and Miss Forcible in the real world. The stone Miss Spinks gives to her are supposed to protect her from danger. Let's see if this is true.  (This annotation contains an image)
The story about Coraline's father demonstrates his selfishness. 
The tunnel seems longer than the last time. If it is harder to get in, do you think it will also be harder to get out? We can view the lengthening of the walk and the lights going out as a type of foreshadowing.  (This annotation contains a video)
What does the narrator mean when he or she says that the mother let Caroline go with reluctance? Explain your answer in one or two complete sentences. 
The last time Coraline saw her parents, they asked her for help. Now, other mother is showing Coraline her parents living their life without a care. If we side with Coraline here, we recognize that other mother is willing to deceive people to get what she wants. 
What new plot development will interfere with Coraline's easy escape now? 
The challenge the cat speaks of will become central to the story. But first, Coraline must figure out what the challenge must be. See if you can figure out how to challenge other mother before Coraline does. 

Chapter VI

Coraline is confused in the start of chapter six because 
Coraline finds a closet full of costumes. She doesn't associate this with Halloween because in England, where the story is set, people don't celebrate Halloween the same way as we do here in the United States.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why doesn't other father answer Coraline? 
Snow globes are popular antique decorations. The fact that this snow globe is unique to the other house is probably important. Let's mark this is something else that makes it different and look to see if it comes up again.  (This annotation contains a video)
How does Coraline know she isn't walking in a mist? 
Coraline's entrance to the real house is locked. Walking off the property won't work because she will end up right back where she started, and now we find out the front gate and front doors are being checked. This makes Coraline and the reader uncomfortable because our character has no way to escape! 
Explain in your own words what other mother means when she says that a daughter's ingratitude is "sharper than a serpent's tooth." 
Beetles are type of insect. Beetles come in many different colors and sizes, but most at least come with a large shiny shell and a large, plump body. That doesn't sound very appetizing ...  (This annotation contains a video)
Chapters I-VI Quiz 

Chapter VII

Tulips, a type of flowering plant, come in almost every color except blue. They bloom in the spring, and are often seen as a symbol of it for that reason.  (This annotation contains an image)
Who is the "she" being referred to here? 
The children in the closet call other mother a "beldam." Beldam means old woman, but Coraline has not mentioned that other mother looks old, only that she kind of looks like Coraline's real mom. We have seen some of the magical powers of other mother already, so it is pretty safe to think she can also alter her appearance at will.  (This annotation contains a link)
Explain, in your own words, why the three children in the mirror closet cannot leave with Coraline. 

Chapter VIII

We saw other mother's hair grow more wild as she got angry in previous chapters. When the other mother calms herself, her hair seems to move in a more natural way. We can use her hair and her overall appearance as an indicator of her mood. Let's see how other mother acts now that she is calmed down. 
Explain, in your own words, the stakes for the contest Coraline is proposing. Give your answer in one or two complete sentences. 
We know the terms of the agreement and the point of the game. Now we see other mother swear on her right hand. Let's mark down these three components of the deal and see if Coraline follows through that she gets what she was promised (or she gets other mother's right hand). 
What does Coraline believe will help her find the souls? 
Coraline has discovered that she can use the stone to help her win the game. Think back to where she got the stone and why she chose to bring it with her to the other house. The portion of this story with the rock isn't complete yet. Let's keep reading to see more. 
As it is used here, the word "petulantly" means nearly the same as  
The scene for her next quest to find a soul is being set. In the first scene, Coraline needed only to go through a toy box. Now she is in a dark abandoned theater with strange and scary creatures. Do you think that finding the second marble will be more difficult?  (This annotation contains an image)
Coraline has retrieved two of the souls. Now she can leave other house and go back to her real home. 

Chapter IX

When the narrator says other mother "crooked a finger" it means the same thing as beckoning someone to come forward. We have to ask ourselves why other mother wants Coraline to come closer. Does she have something more planned? (This annotation contains an image)
What can we tell about other mother's mood based upon her hair? 
One of the themes of this book is facing fears, and Coraline is learning to face her fears. She uses intelligence and a calm demeanor to overcome her fears.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following sentences best demonstrates Coraline's fears? 
A grub is the name for a beetle in its early stages of life, before it becomes a beetle. When a beetle is born, it has a long worm-like body. Only after it grows does it shed the worm body and develop a beetle's natural hard exterior. There sure are a lot of beetles in this story! (This annotation contains a video)
How does the creature figure out where Coraline is at? 

Chapter X

Coraline is trying to use reason to overcome her fears. She believes she cannot be hurt by illusions. Do you think she has reasoned herself out of danger now? Let's read on to find out.  
In one sentence or more, explain what kind of figurative language the narrator uses to describe the man's voice. 
"Pell-mell" means in a distracted or confused way. Saying she was "racing pell-mell" is an expression. If Coraline is racing around quickly and somewhat distracted, she might not be able to catch the rat with the marble.  
What does the cat mean by "getting involved"? 
Artists can use charcoal as a way to draw or sketch an object. Charcoal only comes in one color, and while you can play with shading, it never looks like a real house.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter XI

Other mother is not happy that Coraline has brought the cat inside the house. 
The painting has changed from symbols of life to symbols of decay. This fits in more with the world that other mother lives in. Can you picture what the painting below looks like in the other world?  (This annotation contains an image)
Explain, in your own words, how Coraline gets other mother to open the door to the real world. 
The author is describing the encounter with other mother in detail so vivid we can almost picture it. But imagery is about more than just seeing. Let's look for other types of imagery that rely on our other senses like touch, taste, or sound.  (This annotation contains a video)
Who are the "wraiths" that Coraline is speaking of here? 

Chapter XII

Coraline's scraped knee is just one piece of evidence that her experience in the other house was real. Her parents don't seem to remember. Do you think the experience in the other house was imaginary or real? Let's see if the author provides any further clues. 
What kind of eyes does Coraline want her father to have? 
Relish is a word with two meanings. We call this a homonym. Relish as a noun is a pickled side for sandwiches and such. Relish, as a verb, means to enjoy. We can tell, using context clues, that in this case, the author meant relish as a verb.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is other mother upset about losing? 
What does the appearance of other mother's right hand do to the story? 

Chapter XIII

Without directly stating the reason why the marbles have been broken, the author is trying to show us that the children's souls were trapped inside the marbles and now they have broken free. The author uses the metaphor of broken shells so we can get a clear image of what it looked like to Coraline.  (This annotation contains an image)
What does Coraline think has been causing this mischief around the house? 
If you remember back to the first chapter, Coraline watched a show on animals using protective coloration. Think about what it means and then come up with an idea about why she is using dolls for protective coloration. Let's see if your prediction is right. 
What is Coraline's real purpose in going to Miss Spinks and Miss Forcible's house? 
We know that below the tablecloth is a deep well, but other mother does not know this. The tension here is increasing, and we are coming to the climax of our story. 
Write a two or more sentence summary of Coraline's plan to be rid of other mother.  
Chapters VII-XIII Quiz