Reviews /

Groosham Grange Graphic Novel

Authored by Anthony Horowitz
Illustrated by Clement Lefevre
Published by Walker Books Ltd

I have struggled a little with this review, mainly because Groosham Grange must now be considered a classic. Many claim it is the forerunner to Hogwarts, and Anthony Horowitz is not an author who needs to be examined or explained by someone like me. Yet here we are…

I always find it interesting when such well-thought-of books are reimagined as a graphic novel – think The Graveyard Book or Northern Lights. Many have already been adapted to film or TV, and a graphic novel interpretation may appear to be futile in such cases. Perhaps it is being a fan of graphic novels that might lead to my bias, but I loved diving back into this story. Adapted by Max L’Hermenier and illustrated by Clement Lefevre, Horowitz’s tale of David Eliot, a 13-year-old boy who is sent to a boarding school off the coast of Norfolk, is lovingly retold, staying true to the dark humour and gothic nature of its original.

The sinister cast of teachers and staff are almost caricature in how they’ve been created – somewhere between the sublime and the ridiculous – but somehow, it works. From the mummified Miss Pedicure to Gregor the porter, who drily claims to be over-qualified to work in a circus, there is strangeness at every turn. The colouring of each frame lends to the atmosphere throughout the story, ranging from dark and eerie to…darker and eerier. It manages to straddle between being scary but being silly enough not to actually scare.

At 70 pages, the story seems to come and go fairly quickly, but David’s confusion is well detailed, his friendships and allegiances are formed, and, as mentioned already, the staff of Groosham Grange are just perfect. I know that so many of the children I teach in KS2 will devour this and am looking forward to the second instalment.