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The Nixie's Song (Beyond The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 18, 2007

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About the Author

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of both an Andre Norton Award and a Newbery Honor. She lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. Visit her at

Tony DiTerlizzi is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator who has been creating books with Simon & Schuster for more than a decade. From his fanciful picture books like Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure, Adventure of Meno (with his wife, Angela), and The Spider & The Fly (a Caldecott Honor book), to chapter books like Kenny and The Dragon and The Search for WondLa, Tony always imbues his stories with a rich imagination. His middle grade series, The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Holly Black), has sold millions of copies, been adapted into a feature film, and has been translated in more than thirty countries. You can visit him at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

In Which There Are Many Different Sorts of Developments

After his mother died, Nicholas Vargas stopped bothering. His Aunt Armena had told him to be good and not to bother his father, but he decided that her advice could extend to everyone and everything. It seemed that Nick's brother had the same idea -- Jules never hung around long enough to bother anyone anymore. So the whole family kept on not bothering each other right up until Nick and Jules's dad suddenly decided to get married again.

Leading his new stepsister up the carpeted stairs, Nick had to keep his jaw clenched to stop himself from shouting. He hated that he had to give up his room and move in with Jules, who snored all night and woke up at the crack of dawn to go surfing. If his father hadn't married his stepmother after only six months of dating, Nick would still have his own room. And he wouldn't be stuck with a bedroom-stealing stepsister. Laurie was almost exactly his age and the biggest, weirdest loser he'd ever met. She bothered everyone.

Nick thought he was being fair about it, too, because he'd been called a loser and a nerd and a spaz himself. He was eleven, kind of fat, and bad at sports, while Julian shredded waves and made it to state in track. The only thing Nick thought he was really good at was school, and that was mostly about being quiet and following directions. So, okay, he knew he wasn't cool. At least he knew better than to advertise everything lame about himself. Laurie seemed to be proud to be the lamest person alive.

"What are you thinking about?" Laurie asked him, hugging a box to her chest. Her skirt brushed the floor, making the little bells along the hem jingle.

Nick cringed and set down another box of her crap on the canopy bed. All the boxes seemed to be labeled unicorns, fairies, or books about unicorns and fairies. A few of them had even bled glitter onto the hall rug.

"Things I hate," said Nick.

"Like what?" Laurie tucked a tangle of blond hair behind her ear. Bracelets clattered at her wrists.

He was tempted to tell her. "Clowns," he said instead. "They creep me out."

"I hate my name," she told him, like he'd just given her the green light to overshare. "I wish I was called Lauranathana."

"That's stupid," said Nick. "Everyone would make fun of you."

"I don't care what people think," Laurie said simply, like she meant it.

He wanted to snap at her, to tell her that everyone cared what people thought about them, but his dad had told him to be "civil" on moving day. He sighed. "Okay, so what stuff do you like?"

He looked out of her window at the empty concrete shells of houses going up all around theirs. When it had been his window, he'd liked to watch as workers poured and smoothed foundations and cut planks and nailed them in place. He liked to smell the sawdust and see that his dad's development was finally, really happening. Even though there was still some swampy forest left, soon it would all be cut back and turned into golf courses, swimming pools, and lots of other cool things. Stuff he liked.

He'd imagined playing out there with other kids, but the construction was behind schedule. Nothing was done. His dad kept complaining about the weather -- it was the hottest summer he could remember. And that, along with the brushfires and water rationing, had everyone on edge. The sun had turned the grass on the front lawn crunchy and brown, and Nicholas's dad hadn't filled the pool in the backyard, even though he usually filled the pools as soon as they were built. Now, with the rainy season about to start, Nick's whole summer was turning out to be as lame as his stepsister.

"I like all this stuff, I guess." Laurie stacked books onto her white beadboard shelves. They were mostly fantasy and fairy tales, but she'd set aside a big tome that had gold letters and what looked like a hawk on the cover.

"What's that?" he asked.

"A field guide. So you can tell which kind of faeries are which. I bet there are a lot around here, since there's so much nature."

"You don't really believe in that stuff, do you?" He took the book from her and flipped through it. It was filled with paintings and sketches of things that made the hair along his arms stand up. They didn't look like faeries. He flipped to the back. "This isn't some kind of ancient magical text. It's fake. It was published in 2005 in New York."

"It's a reprint," Laurie told him.

"Look," he said, turning the book toward her. "It says 'fiction' inside. Explain that."

"They had to put that there," Laurie said, taking it out of his hands. "So they don't get in trouble or sued. And if you don't believe me, you can ask the authors yourself, since they're signing -- "

"Hey, kids," Nick's father called from downstairs in that new, cheerful voice he used around Laurie and Charlene. "Lunch!"

After Nick and Julian's mom died and before their dad decided he needed to impress Charlene and her wacko daughter, lunch had been cold slices of leftover pizza from the night before or, on at least one occasion, a piece of apple pie with cheese melted on it. Now, apparently, it was alphabet soup and bologna sandwiches. With the crusts cut off. Nick wanted to hurl.

Downstairs in the kitchen, Julian was already sitting at the granite island. Earbud cords hung from his head, and his thumbs jabbed at the game console cradled in his hands. His hair was stiff with salt. He didn't even look up when Nick sat down next to him.

Laurie still had the stupid book tucked under one arm. "After lunch, I'm going to go look for faeries," she told her mother.

Charlene smiled mildly. "Maybe Nick can go with you. Show you around the neighborhood."

Nick scowled at his soup. Charlene was okay, but he wished she wasn't around all the time. And he wished she would stop trying to make him be friends with her daughter. Although Charlene hadn't seemed to figure it out yet, he was willing to ignore them if they'd just ignore him back.

Laurie took a bowl and crumbled a handful of Goldfish crackers into it, making a mess. It never seemed to matter what Laurie did or how bothersome she was. No one was going to tell her to stop.

"Faeries," Nick's dad said with a grin, tucking a paper napkin into his collar. "I thought they were only in England. Down here, the palmetto bugs'll get them if the lizards don't."

Nick snickered.

"They're not all small, you know," said Laurie. She clearly didn't think his dad's joke was funny, which, in Nick's opinion, only made it funnier.

"It's too hot to look for anything," Nick said, smiling down at his reflection in the granite. "Especially things that don't exist."

Nick's dad frowned and then rubbed the bridge of his nose. Maybe he was upset his joke hadn't gone over all that well. "Go help her look. Keep her from getting lost."

Nick pushed the noodle letters in his soup so they spelled l-a-m-e. Lame. Like his summer. Like his stepsister. Like how he felt as he slurped his soup down and, without saying a thing, followed Laurie out into the yard. Copyright © 2007 by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689871317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689871313
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on September 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Over the course of a few months, the Grace family - twins Simon and Jared, and their older sister, Mallory - spent much of their time discovering creatures of a netherworld, after they moved into a dilapidated old house that had been in their family for years. Given the sight when they were lucky enough to meet a goblin who spit in their eyes, the three children worked side-by-side day and night, researching mythical creatures in their relative - Arthur Spiderwick's - notes and field guides. It was by doing this that the children were able to locate their missing father, and bring their family back together. Since then, their adventures have been limited. However, they did appear in a series of books known as THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES, which have quickly gained popularity among the masses, looking to believe in something out-of-this-world. Which is how, with the assistance of Arthur Spiderwick's Field, a new generation of believers have entered the picture.

Nicholas "Nick" Vargas is devastated when his father marries Charlene, quickly moving her and her completely off-the-wall daughter, Laurie into their sunny Florida home in Mangrove Hollow. Suddenly, Nick feels more displaced than he ever thought imaginable. Quickly relegated to give up the privacy of his own bedroom, and share the same living space with his older brother Julian "Jules" who does nothing but listen to his iPod, read surfing magazines, and talk about surfing on the phone with his girlfriend, Cindy. Nick is shocked by how quickly his life has been flipped upside down. Each and every box Laurie moves into her new "room," is labeled unicorns, fairies, or books about unicorns and/or fairies. And, to make matters worse, she carries around something titled Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide everywhere she goes.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the Matthew Carpenter review regarding the language but I am even more disappointed regarding it. I personally have over 15,000 - yes 15 THOUSAND pieces of children's literature with an age range from pre-K to high school. Therefore I understand and appreciate the differences in story line and language used. I have been in education at the elementary and college level (for children's literature)for 37 years so I am considered a resource of information among those who know me. The first five books of the Spiderwick Chronicles were suggested to me by students and we all enjoyed them together and couldn't wait to get our hands on the next book.
After reading Nixie's Song, I realized caution was the keyword - due to the language. I wondered if my reaction was due to age - talked to different age groups of adults and the opinion was overwhelmingly a negative for the use of the words. Those with young children - BEWARE. By the way... I didn't feel this book was up to par with the original stories.
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45 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Matthew T. Carpenter on October 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read every night to my sons, age 8 and 9. We have been following most of the major fantasy series, like Hiccup Haddock, Araminta Spooky and Spiderwick. Some of these have scatalogical humor and mild epithets that I have to be careful about (Dragon Slayers Academy does not have any offensive language and scant comic book violence, while Moongobble, for younger readers only has 1 or 2 words that bear watching out for). The first Spiderwick series had some complex psychology of anger over a divorce, some capricious behaviour by the faeries, some rather scary death scenes and a very unnecessary mild 4 letter word that appeared with regularity in all the books. I was annoyed and edited it out as I read them aloud; at the time my boys were younger.

The Nixie's Song shares the strengths of the preceding series. It is a beautiful hard cover, perfectly sized for younger readers. Production values are flawless. It is packed with with the marvelous drawings of Tony DiTerlizzi. It is just about the right length, not too long, which I consider a good thing in the age of door stop weight science fiction. The plot is interesting and well handled, as discussed by other reviewers, although I find that the device of the authors inserting themselves into the story to be misguided; as a result a bit of the magic of the first series is missing.

My biggest problem was with a very specific epithet. The main characters encounter Simon Grace about half way through the book and here he is represented as an altogether unpleasant child. He almost gets in a a fight with the chunky protagonist, and then calls him a vulgar name, lard-****** (I am not allowed to print it on the family friendly Amazon site; does that give you a clue?).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
After the five-part The Spiderwick Chronicles (Boxed Set): The Field Guide; The Seeing Stone; Lucinda's Secret; The Ironwood Tree; The Wrath of Mulgrath ended with a promise that there would be more to follow in the `Spiderwick' world, it was only a matter of time before there was another installment in the series. Now we pick up in the first book of a proposed trilogy that features a new set of children (two step-siblings) and a different location (the mangrove swamps of Florida as opposed to the old world charm of New England), but with plenty of new faerie lore incorporated into the story. As always, writer and illustrator manage to capture the essence of old faerie-lore, in which the creatures are both beautiful and dangerous, with a set of obscure rules surrounding them that need to be followed if one wishes to keep safe.

Nick Vargas is a plump eleven-year old who is not at all happy with the inclusion of a new stepmother and stepsister into his family home - especially when his new sister Laurie is such a weirdo. Interested in mystical creatures, and carrying around a copy of Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You (Spiderwick Chronicles), Laurie is convinced that faerie creatures might inhabit the construction zone of Mangrove Hollow. She's right, and soon the two are attempting to help a nixie named Taloa who has lost her sisters and is suffering with the development of the surrounding swamplands. The two feel themselves in over their heads, and go for help...
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