A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this exciting book has a rough edge that might trouble kids prone to nightmares. The first book in the series is tamer. Though this installment might be scary for younger children (among other things a cat is roasted and eaten, and a goblin's arm is bitten off by the griffin, though none of this is described), older elementary-aged children, especially reluctant readers, are going to be big fans.
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What's the story?
"You kept the book despite my advice. Sooner or later there'll be a price." The price comes quickly in the second book in The Spiderwick Chronicles. Simon is kidnapped by invisible goblins. His twin brother Jared and older sister Mallory set out to rescue him, armed with rapiers from Mallory's fencing class and a stone monocle that lets the wearer see the invisible. With the monocle, the faerie world, which so far they have mostly only read about in Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, comes to life, and it's no fairyland. Into the darkening woods Jared and Mallory go, encountering sprites and a troll along the way. But rescuing Simon is only the beginning of their adventures, as they discover the goblins holding many creatures prisoner, including a dying griffin and a hobgoblin with a fondness for cats ("and not just 'cause they're tasty, which they are, no mistake.").
Is it any good?
If the first book in the series (The Field Guide) was mostly introduction, this one jumps right into the action -- and there's an edge to it that the first book only hinted at.
Here Simon is in danger of being eaten by goblins, and the only way to rescue him is to kill his abductors, though the children don't do this themselves. Though the story is more exciting than the first book, it offers some of the same pleasures: a short, easy-to-read fantasy adventure in an old-fashioned edition filled with illustrations and printed on soft, unevenly cut paper.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this book compares to the first one. Books often get darker and more violent with each installment in the series -- why do you think that is?
Some pretty gross stuff happens in this book, like the cat that gets eaten. Is reading about violence different than seeing it in a movie or experiencing it in a video game?
For kids who love fantasy and magic
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