The Grace kids--13-year-old Mallory and 9-year-old twins Jared and Simon--get to catch their breath in the third installment of the Spiderwick Chronicles, as they visit their "crazy old" Aunt Lucinda for some help in deciding the fate of the troublesome Field Guide
Fresh from near-fatal goblin and troll attacks in the previous book (The Seeing Stone, the children are torn over whether to hang onto their long-lost great-great-uncle's book or to turn it over to the menacing faeries. Thimbletack--the house brownie who's transmogrified into an angry "boggart"--has lost his patience with the kids, and he starts subjecting Jared to increasingly nasty pranks. Hoping that Lucinda might know something about Uncle Arthur's fate (or at least have some advice on how to fend off the faeries), the three children talk their mom into a trip to the asylum for a visit--but there they learn their situation might be even more dangerous than they imagined. (And, as readers of the series know, the kids already thought they were in hot water.)
Holly Black doesn't dish up the action quite as fast as she did in the first two books, but Spiderwick fans won't be disappointed: We learn more Spiderwick family history, we get an ominous glimpse of events to come, and Tony DiTerlizzi introduces a few new faeries to the menagerie in his ever-evocative pen and ink--including a special treat, the Cheshire-esque phooka. ("You've lost your uncle! How careless.") Ages 6 to 10) --Paul Hughes
From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-Simon, Mallory, and Jared Grace know that faeries are real-and that they aren't always the charming creatures portrayed in popular fairy tales. Ever since they discovered Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, the Grace family has been surrounded by magical beings with decidedly hostile attitudes. They have a wounded griffin convalescing in the carriage house, a spiteful house boggart playing malicious tricks, and even weirder oddities lurking around practically every corner. Hoping to learn more about the book and its long-vanished author, the kids decide to consult their Great-Aunt Lucy, Arthur's daughter. She has been hospitalized ever since she was attacked by faerie beings who suspected that she knew where her father's book was hidden. She warns that the family will be in grave danger if they remain at Spiderwick Estate. When the siblings find an old map that leads into the elves' secret forest, their aunt's grim prediction seems all too plausible. The story ends with a cliff-hanger, to be continued in book four. There is some background exposition, but familiarity with the plot and character relationships from the earlier volumes is assumed. The black-and-white Arthur Rackhamesque illustrations add a satisfyingly eerie note to this mock-gothic tale, which will be best appreciated by readers who have followed the "Spiderwick Chronicles" from the beginning.Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
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