Illustrator: Tony DiTerlizzi
Series: The Spiderwick Chronicles #2
Also in this series: The Field Guide, Lucinda's Secret, The Ironwood Tree, The Wrath of Mulgarath, The Chronicles of Spiderwick: A Grand Tour of the Enchanted World, Navigated by Thimbletack, Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, The Care and Feeding of Sprites
Published by Simon & Schuster on May 1st 2003
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
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The Grace kids are just beginning to get used to Aunt Lucinda's strange old mansion when Simon suddenly disappears. Jared and his sister have to rely on the help of a mischievous house boggart, a nasty bridge troll, and a loud-mouthed hobgoblin to get him back.
Minor spoilers ahead!
This second book delves a bit more into the world of faeries, but still leaves a lot unknown.
There is still some distrust between the siblings, even after the events of the first book, and this is increased by the fact that they all have such different interests. Mallory’s interest in fencing “borders on obsessive,” Simon really just cares about his pets, and Jared is the only one truly interested in the world of faeries and Arthur’s life and study. Their interests don’t overlap too much; for instance, Jared has no interest in helping Simon take care of his pets, or in animals in general, although he seems to make an exception for faeries. And both twins only grudgingly spar with Mallory when she needs to practice fencing. But it is a good thing that Jared does have this interest in faeries, because as he noted in the first book, he really doesn’t have an idea of what he wants to do with his life. He doesn’t have a hobby or interest like the other two. So even though his new interest is something that most of the world doesn’t (and probably shouldn’t) know about, at least he has one. It’s good for his growth as a person.
Despite their differences, the world of faeries can’t help but inevitably bind them all together. Even though Mallory is quick to be angry at Jared, she helps him without question when he says that goblins have taken Simon. They both prepare to rescue him. Of course this is familial loyalty as well, but it’s important that they’re going in to rescue him despite the dangers of the unknown. Mallory can’t even see the goblins, but she goes without question. They prepare as best they can and leave immediately. It’s also interesting to note here that in this book, Thimbletack has entered their everyday lives (still hidden from their mother, though). He converses with them like friends, although not without a little distrust still. He is insanely protective of the book and full of foreboding messages about what uncovering and reading the book has caused. And he does not trust Jared with the Seeing Stone, because he believes that Jared may use it for harm as well as good, and Jared ends up forcibly taking it from him because they are running out of time to find Simon. So even at the end of the book, their relationship with Thimbletack is strained, but at least they know how to pacify him now.
Another thing that binds the siblings together (and to the faerie realm, permanently) is how they earn the Sight which allows them to always see faeries even when they don’t want to be seen. (Previously, Thimbletack has been the only faeries allowing them to see him.) It is a sort of ceremony, almost. Initially Jared uses the Seeing Stone to go after Simon, but when they meet a hobgoblin whose spit can give them permanent Sight, they all eventually agree to that instead. Thus, when Mallory gains the Sight at the end of the book, the ceremony is complete, and all three children are permanently entrenched in the world of faeries, and they are also “in it together.” They won’t question each other about faerie-related things and will always help. This is further evidenced by the fact that both Mallory and Jared help Simon bring a particularly large creature back with them to nurse back to health towards the end of the book, when previously both would definitely have said no. It also helps that Simon had just gone through a horrible ordeal from which they had to rescue him, but there is much more sibling loyalty and affection than there was at the beginning, when Jared wouldn’t even help Simon look for his cat (which arguably started the whole mess in the first place). They are already growing as people.
We are introduced to many more types of creatures in this book—five, in fact—but none are explored as fully as ones in later books will be (but you can indeed get more knowledge from the Guide). In fact, it may be argued that the focus of these books isn’t on the creatures themselves (that’s what the Guide is for) but rather the dangerous situations the kids get into on account of the creatures and how they get out of them with limited knowledge of the creatures themselves. The Guide simply makes for fantastic supplemental reading.
We also don’t quite get introduced to the main source of conflict yet—we know that malicious faeries are after the book, but we don’t know why and we don’t know if they have a leader. All will be revealed!
This book had much more adventure and conflict than the first one, but we still haven’t gotten into the meat of the story yet, I would say. Onwards.
reaction upon finishing
Okay, that was exciting- but I need more conflict!
this book in one word