Snow Spider Book Poster Image

Snow Spider

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.

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.

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?


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. 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. 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

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Kid, 10 years old 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