Snow Spider

Common Sense Media says

Generic fantasy doesn't make much sense.





What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

A schoolyard fight; a story in which a man mutilates horses.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is a schoolyard fight, and a story is told in which a man mutilates horses with a sword.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When he turns 9, Gwyn's odd grandmother gives him several gifts for his birthday, the first they have celebrated since his sister disappeared four years ago. She says the gifts will help him discover if he has magic powers, like his legendary ancestors, and tells him to give them to the wind. He does, and receives in return a magical spider whose webs open a window into another world. But when he releases an object he was supposed to keep safe, he unleashes an evil power.

Is it any good?


Fantasies can fly as far off the beaten track as
their authors can imagine, but they have to have some internal
consistency and rules that are discernible and make sense. Fantasy may
not be real, but it has to feel as if it could be. Veteran author Jenny
Nimmo knows how to write a story that will keep you turning the pages,
but by the end you're likely to wonder what it was all about. Nothing
here makes sense, or has any obvious reason behind it, and the reader
is left with only questions.


What is magic
about these objects? Why does the wind want them? How does the magic
work? What happened to Gwyn's sister, why does she come back, why is
she changed, why don't her parents seem to mind, why does she have to
return again? What is the deal with the supposed evil power, and how
does Gwyn know how to trap it? And on and on. This story is pleasant
enough while you're reading it, but deeply unsatisfying by the end.
Perhaps the sequels explain some of this, but it's all so nonsensical
that it's hard to muster up the will to care. This reads like sloppy,
tossed-off work from an author who should know better.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the fantasy world created here. What are the rules? How does magic work? What happened to Gwyn's sister, and why do his parents seem to accept it so easily?

Book details

Author:Jenny Nimmo
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Orchard Books
Publication date:September 1, 2006
Number of pages:142
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Read aloud:8
Read alone:9

This review of Snow Spider was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old Written bybookworm_jz March 26, 2009

I'm a Bit Disappointed (pardon the spelling)

I agree with the review: the book was simply too short and unexplanitory.

Parent Written bySunnyScarlet August 16, 2011

Kids Will Enjoy It

I remember loving this book when I was my daughter's age and kept my copy for when I had my own kids. My daughter recently read it and I read it again too. She loved it, and I didn't enjoy it. I think the magic and mystery are appealing to children, as well as the description of the beautiful place that Gwen's sister goes to, but the plot is rather weak and the ending is disappointing because it leaves you without much resolution and makes the whole story rather a moot point. There doesn't seem to be much of a message behind the story, either.

However, it's a clean story, so that's a good point.

Kid, 11 years old January 23, 2013

It Is Well Written, Great

It's A Good Book, um... Ooh, I like the part where they dress up and they say it looks like the father . Also, I Like The School Fight in the yard. Well I think it is better for boys, because it has violence in it just in that one part.

What other families should know
Too much violence


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