A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Seeing Stone: The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2, by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, is an exciting book with a rough edge that might trouble kids prone to nightmares. Book 1 in the series is tamer. 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. But 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 SEEING STONE, 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 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, but the children don't do this themselves. Although The Seeing Stone 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 The Seeing Stone compares to the first book, The Field Guide. Why do you think the books in a series often get darker and more violent with each installment?
Some pretty gross stuff happens in this book, like a cat gettingeaten. Is reading about violence different than seeing it in a movie or experiencing it in a video game?
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