The Haunted Mansion: Frights of Fancy

IDW. Aug. 2020. 72p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781684056071.
Gr 3-6–Sydney, a young ghost, must find a new home when the hotel she’s been haunting is demolished, so she makes her way to Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Sydney thinks she’s discovered a resort for ghosts, but here she’s expected to scare people. Enthusiastic Sydney’s new ideas for terrifying visitors to the mansion upend old practices and threaten Constance, the ghosts’ unofficial leader. With the 50th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion looming, Constance decides to have a competition between Sydney’s team and her own to see whose is the scariest. All the ghosts have lessons to learn about respect and teamwork. The artwork is a feast of color, depicting charming and ethereal stylized spirits who are almost transparent; all are white except for Sydney, who is brown-skinned with curly black hair. However, the narrative doesn’t quite deliver; though child-friendly, with scares that are played for laughs, it’s heavy-handed in its message of cooperation. With back matter that details the history of the Haunted Mansions at each Disney theme park, the title feels more like a Disney souvenir than a stand-alone comic.
VERDICT Recommended only for libraries with high demand for Disney properties.

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