Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi pull off an impressive five for five with Wrath of Mulgarath
, the satisfyingly dramatic conclusion to their series, The Spiderwick Chronicles
. After the gory conclusion of the The Ironwood Tree
, we don't get even a moment's reprieve before the action picks up again, in a starting chapter entitled, fittingly, "IN WHICH the World Is Turned Upside Down." Thirteen-year-old Mallory and nine-year-old twins Jared and Simon return to the Spiderwick Estate only to find their home in shambles, with trash and broken furniture scattered across the lawn and Simon's griffin chasing a "goblin" across the roof. The faerie world that the Grace kids have so slowly probed in this series has finally come home to roost. Black and DiTerlizzi pack a lot into the finale of this beautifully produced series, with dragons and goblins and elves--and even a magical cameo by Arthur Spiderwick (the long-lost author of the disappearing-reappearing Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You
). We get a dramatic rescue, a clever end to a fearsome foe (with some thanks to Hogsqueal from book two
), and a long denouement that leads to a final cryptic note from the author and illustrator: "Are there more ogres / and dragons to slay? / Is there more mayhem, / perhaps, on the way? / Ask Tony and Holly. / They'll swear that it's true. / But you still won't believe / what's coming for you!" (Ages 6 to 10) --Paul Hughes
"The books wallow in their dusty Olde Worlde charm: Faeries! Dumbwaiters! Attics! But then, reading has an old-fashioned charm too."
-- "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