Book review

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Seeing Stone by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi (2003)

Part two of The Spiderwick Chronicles

It was Arthur Spiderwick who started it. He wrote a Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. And it was Jared Grace who found his Great-Great-Uncle Arthur's ancient cloth-wrapped book. Inside it were details of all the strange and startling faerie creatures that Arthur Spiderwick had ever encountered.

Now, Arthur Spiderwick is long gone, and Jared Grace lives in Arthur Spiderwick's dilapidated old house along with his twin brother Simon, and his sister Mallory, and his mother...and Tibbs the cat...and Thimbletack the house brownie, who is clearly a rather opinionated brownie:

"You kept the book despite my advice. Sooner or later there'll be a price."

There's certainly trouble coming for Jared. Thimbletack can see it all before it happens:

"Goblins in the wood. Doesn't look good. My warning comes too late. There's no help for your fate."
"By the fence. Have you no sense?"
Jared squinted and looked in the direction the brownie indicated. There was Simon, standing very still and staring at the grass in an odd way. Jared watched in horror as his brother started to struggle. Simon twisted and struck out, but there was nothing there.

Jared can't see his enemy. He needs help, and where else would he look but the Guide?

The page beneath Jared's fingers showed different ways to get the Sight. He scanned quickly. "'Red hair. Being the seventh son of a seventh son. Faerie bathwater'?" He stopped at the last and looked up at Thimbletack, but the little brownie was pointing excitedly down the page. The illustration showed it clearly, a stone with a hole through the middle, like a ring.

A seeing stone. That's what Jared needs. And that's where you take over. Read the book to see how Jared finds The Seeing Stone, and how he discovers what else is out there in the garden with Simon, and how he rescues Simon from a no doubt grisly fate:

Simon was stuffed in a cage much too small for him. His legs were drawn up against his chest, and the toes of one foot stuck through the bars. His bare skin was scraped from the thorns that lined the cage.

Beastly things, goblins...

What can I read next?

Lovely stuff. If you enjoy magic I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with the Spiderwick Chronicles. And there are plenty of titles. Read them in order. It's all one long story:

  • The Field Guide
  • The Seeing Stone
  • Lucinda's Secret
  • The Ironwood Tree
  • The Wrath of Mulgarath

Of course, Arthur Spiderwick isn't the only person to spot faeries living in the garden. Herbie Brennan has written about them too:

And the Grace children aren't the only ones to fight magical battles:

And if you enjoy the Spiderwick Chronicles you might like to have a look at the Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell:

Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:

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