Book Review: the Spiderwick Chronicles: Lucinda’s Secret by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

This is the third book in the Spiderwick Chronicles, which is the Spiderwick Chronicles: Lucinda’s Secret (Young Adult 109 pages) by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.

The summary on the back of the book is covered up by a scrap of notebook paper that says, “Let the story of my niece and nephews be a warning. The more you know, the more danger you’re in. And trust me, you don’t want to meddle with the Little People” so I can’t give you an accurate summary from there.

In the first book, Jared, Simon, and Mallory Grace move to an old house with a secret library and encounter a boggart. The boggart makes things a little uncomfortable for them and they wind up making amends and learning about a Field Guide written by a relative named Arthur Spiderwick.

In the second book, Simon gets snatched by a group of goblins and Jared and Mallory work to find him and rescue him. Along the way, Jared’s temper gets the better of him again and he winds up being a bit mean to Thimbletack when Thimbletack tries to help them out against the goblins. When Jared and Mallory find Simon, they also rescue a hobgoblin named Hogssqueel who assists with their escape and provides them with goblin spit, which gives them the ability to see the fairy world without use of the Seeing Stone.

This book was obviously intended for a very young audience, as the story-telling is very quick and lyrical with short, descriptive paragraphs. There’s also a selection of character portraits and drawings from the story itself, which gives the book something of a classic feel with a map in the front and continued drawings throughout the story. I liked the drawings and felt that they added a good visual depiction of the characters and events, but I learned to not look at the pictures until after I’d read all the words on open pages because the pictures gave away some of the upcoming plot or character elements in each part of the story.

One of the interesting points of this book is that from the first book through this book, Jared continues having a problem controlling his temper and using violence to resolve issues in his world. This continues to have negative consequences for him and also brings negative consequences to the other people around him as well.

Simon’s interest in animals is extremely fascinating for the sole purpose that he truly wants to help and save all the animals and he may or may not realize that the animals are probably better in their natural habitat. I find his level of enthusiasm and his fearlessness in dealing with animals inspiring, even and especially Byron, the wounded griffin they rescued from the goblins in the last book.

As an adult reading about Lucinda Spiderwick and what kind of life she’s had because of the faeries made me sad, but it also made me think about people in hospitals or who are supposed to have mental health issues. I wonder all the time if those people who the rest of society puts into special facilities can actually see things or have seen things the rest of us have not. The entire world is a matter of perception and honestly, I’m to the point in my life where I know that there is a lot going on in the world that I don’t know about and I learned that I don’t actually want to know. I used to think I did want to know everything about the world, but after everything I’ve been through, I’m content to just live my life as I see fit.

Overall, I liked the characters and the world-building is interesting. These are really quick reads and I like reading them when I have an hour to spare, since that’s how long it usually takes me to get through them. I think this book is a low three on my scale, since they’re tons of fun for a quick read, but designed for a much younger audience.

Works cited: DiTerlizzi, Tony and Black, Holly. The Spiderwick Chronicles: Lucinda’s Secret. New York: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2003.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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