Review also includes:
The Seeing Stone (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2), 978-0857072443
These two attractive small hardbacks, reminiscent of the Lemony Snicket books, form the first two volumes of five, in a format pleasant to hold and a pleasure to read.
The Grace children and their mother have come to live in their great-aunt’s tumbledown Victorian pile, which they discover is also inhabited by ‘faeries’ of all kinds – toadlike goblins, shape-shifting brownies et al. The children’s various strengths are tried in encounters good and bad with the various other residents: in parallel they are coming to terms with their parents’ divorce. A mystery linking their great-aunt with the faeries is hinted at, to unfold in subsequent volumes.
The reader is addressed directly by the author through letters, biography and ‘what happens next’ clues, all of which move us quickly into the story: the writing is contemporary American – colloquial, with short straightforward sentences which again aid our progress to the abrupt ending of each volume.
DiTerlizzi acknowledges his debt to Arthur Rackham, evident in the typefaces, borders and chapter heads; the framed pen and ink drawings are nevertheless peopled by suitably modern children, while the style is also appropriate for the depiction of the faeryfolk. Very readable, and definitely moreish.