Sunday, September 30, 2012

Courtney Crumrin: Volume 1: The Night Things


by Ted Naifeh, 125 pages

Young Courtney Crumrin is none too thrilled when her parents eagerly agree to become "caretakers" of her wealthy, eccentric great (?) uncle Aloysius and move the family to his creepy old house beside some spooky woods in a class-conscious town where things go bump in the night (and not everybody comes out of the woods who goes in).

Naifeh takes the old fairy tale tack of keeping the darker bits in order not to shield children from the more unpleasant aspects of reality and, so, doesn't pretend bad things don't happen or that protagonists don't have personality flaws like everybody else.  His heroine makes as many selfish, ill-advised decisions as the rest of us, but she has the pluck to sometimes succeed in getting herself out of fixes, too.  No little angel role model, is Courtney, but she's got what it takes (including luck) to face both the school cliques and the things lurking in the shadows.  If she gets a little in over her head now and then, well, that's when kids need to rely on grown-ups, right?  Or at least on the reliable ones who understand her.

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