GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Envious Siblings: And Other Morbid Nursery Rhymes

Norton. Oct. 2019. 240p. ISBN 9780393651621. $20. Rated: Teen+. satire/humor
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Cartoonist Blair (The Hunting Accident) presents this collection of eight twisted vignettes that range from the totally absurd to the gleefully macabre. In one, children with devious smiles plastered across their faces happily mangle one another with playground equipment before growing bored and turning on their father. Another features a little girl who is beginning to grow suspicious that her parents might not be telling her the truth about how her older sister became a skeleton. Other stories follow feuding siblings who hack one another limb by limb, a pack of stylishly dressed wild animals determined to lure a little girl out through her bedroom window to join them for dinner, and a group of insects throwing a raucous party atop a human cadaver. All but one story—that of a child who wanders into the subway and watches as hideous monsters gradually replace her fellow passengers—are told in light rhyming verse.
VERDICT The influence of Quentin Blake, Tim Burton, and especially Edward Gorey is clear, but the combination of surreal comedy and imagery far more horrific than any ever created by the artists by whom he was obviously inspired set Blair apart and result in an audacious and entertaining compilation

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