The book read like a children's storybook, really. That was one of my earliest thoughts as I went along with the first few pages of the novella. In its simple, straightforward language that didn't bother with trying too hard to be poetic however, the words had a peculiar way of bringing to life the vivid imagination in me. I suspected the simple language was used so that younger readers could easily understand it too, but in its simplicity also brought this clarity of the eerie and spooky atmosphere in the other world that Coraline walked into. I was creeped out soon enough, and I put the book down to do other things because it was two in the morning and everyone else in the house was asleep, and I didn't want to allow my imagination to convince me that there was really something creeping about on the other side of my bedroom door. Pretty silly, I'll even admit.
The story wasn't a very long one. I resumed my reading this afternoon (when imaginary shadows are harder to form) and finished the book not much later. But it might as well. Any longer, I'll probably be spooked long enough to have my thought processes be disturbed just like the other time I watched Inception. But that's another story altogether.
So I thought it was a childish story at first, then things got really disturbing, then I started wondering if this was something children should be reading if they ever find themselves having a hold of this book. Children's imagination has no boundaries. I think that other world might become all too real to them. Then again, it's probably the adults reading this who will scare themselves silly because they have a tendency to over think things and in their over-thinking make things disturbing.
I think Coraline is genius. (The little character Coraline is pretty precocious herself too.) I'm successfully spooked, but whether that was because I thought like a child or a grown-up, I'm not too sure.
Kudos to you though, Gaiman, for a really good read.