In the introduction to Courtney Crumrin Kelly Crumrin observes that the only children’s stories that remain popular for years after they’re written are the gross, shocking, and scary ones. You be the judge. This first installment of the Courtney stories is creepy enough to ensure that they will remain popular for some time by Kelly’s standard, but Courtney Crumrin herself is a girl I wish I had sat next to in elementary school. When her parents decide to move the family from the city to a posh suburban neighborhood Courtney isn’t exactly thrilled, especially because they’ll all be moving in with her uncle, Professor Aloysius Crumrin. As you might guess from his rather ominous name, Uncle Aloysius is guarding plenty of dark secrets in the back rooms of the most haunted (and most talked-about) mansion in the neighborhood, secrets that hide behind the curtains and lurk in the back yard! As the old mansion and her elderly uncle start to seem more ordinary, Courtney discovers that she has some interesting magical talent, and that the scariest things in her new neighborhood may be the “normal” people she sees every day.
NOTE from reviewer Russ: As of March 2012, Oni Press is re-releasing Courtney Crumrin in newly colored hardcover editions. The color palette is suitably muted, preserving and enhancing Naifeh’s creepy tone and making these newer versions a great fit for library shelves.