Frighteningly Good Reads: The Envious Siblings by Landis Blair

I picked this book up specifically with FGR in mind. Who could resist this delightfully morbid cover?


Eight gleefully macabre vignettes by an award- winning comics artist, as delightful as they are deadly.

Inspired by the dark imagination of Edward Gorey, Envious Siblings is a twisted and hauntingly funny debut. Comics artist Landis Blair interweaves absurdist horror and humor into brief, rhyming vignettes at once transgressive and hilarious. In Blair’s surreal universe, a lost child watches as bewhiskered monsters gobble up her fellow train passengers; a band of kids merrily plays a gut-churning game with playground toys; and two sisters, grinning madly, tear each other apart. These charmingly perverse creations take ordinary settings—a living room, a subway car, a playground— and spin them in a nightmarish direction.

Envious Siblings heralds a brilliant new cartooning talent, and will captivate readers who have thrilled to the lurid fantasies of Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake, Charles Addams, Shel Silverstein, and Tim Burton. from Goodreads


This was such a ridiculous purchase but I just had to have this book. It is one of those books that is sealed shut in the bookstore so you can’t peek inside but I knew I would love it. Yes, that means I 100% judged this book by its cover.

Landis Blair‘s illustrations are, without a doubt, my favorite part of this book. I cannot decide whether I am thrilled or terrified to discover their Etsy shop. You can actually see all of their illustrations on their website and I spent far too long ogling everything but especially this one which looks just like my favorite local bookshop. And it might be since it appears that Landis Blair lives in Chicago with me.

The Envious Siblings includes eight morbid poems each of them extremely dark. I mean it, this is not the light hearted dark of Shel Silverstein. This is pulling other kid’s teeth out to craft and cooking someone’s mother. The only child this book would be automatically appropriate for is Wednesday Addams. All other parents, well, you know your child best! It will not be on my gift list to my small niece and nephew.

I loved it. It is the kind of book you want to read with someone so you can both snicker and laugh and gasp together. It was most likely sealed at the bookshop because you could read it standing in the isle of the bookshop. Reading this book like that would be a shame because the illustrations are so detailed that, every time I re-read the book, I see something new. This book needs to be savored or, at least, tasted again and again.

I should be embarrassed, but I am not, but this author is how I found my next FGR, Edward Gorey. Blair is frequently credited as being “inspired by” Gorey and, since I enjoyed this book so much, I had to look into those books as well. More spooky stories to come!

Tell me, please! How do you feel about books sealed in the bookstores?

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Beverley A Baird

Writing, reading, on upward path to being published. Believer in "all things are possible".

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