After making tentative peace with Thimbletack (a coveralled house brownie who's "the size of a pencil"), Jared chooses to ignore the creature's pleas that he destroy his great-great-uncle's mysterious tome, Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. Thimbletack warns, "You kept the book despite my advice./Sooner or later there'll be a price." Sure enough, the brownie soon sniffs out a "fell smell in the air," and the disappearance of Simon's new cat starts to make sense. And if the chapter titled "IN WHICH Mallory Finally Gets to Put Her Rapier to Good Use" doesn't get your heart racing as fast as the kids', just wait till you get a load of the troll. ("Cooome baaack. I haaave something for youuu.")
The series' already-fast pace picks up quickly in the second installment, and we can begin to imagine what other sorts of trouble these three will turn up as they learn the rules to this odd (and dangerous) new world--while, of course, trying to explain away the strange goings-on to their mother. Next up, book three, Lucinda's Secret. (What's her secret? I want to know. Now! (Ages 6 to 10) --Paul Hughes
-- "Time" magazine
"With their evocative gothic-style pencil drawings and color illustrations, rhyming riddles, supernatural lore, and well-drawn characters, these books read like old-fashioned ripping yarns."
-- "New York Times Book Review"
"Appealing characters, well-measured suspense and an inviting package will lure readers...Youngsters may well find themselves glancing over their shoulders."
-- "Publishers Weekly, " starred review