Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles: Book One – The Nixie’s Song

Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles: Book One – The Nixie’s Song

Holly Black
Illustrator:   Tony DiTerlizzi 
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 to 10
Simon and Schuster, 2007   ISBN: 978-0689871313

Nick Vargas is a very angry eleven-year-old boy. His father has just remarried and Nick has had to give up his room to his new step-sister Laurie. Laurie is just about the same age he is and she is the “biggest, weirdest loser” he has ever met. For one thing Laurie is convinced that fairies exist and that the things mentioned in “Spiderwick’s Field Guide” are real. Doesn’t she realize that everything in that book is just made up?

Then Nick is bamboozled into taking his stepsister on a tour of the neighbourhood. He finds a four-leaf clover and something truly bizarre happens. That night he finds that he is able to see creatures of faerie - a nixie (a water faerie) is lying on the lawn of his home. Apparently the four-leaf clover has given him the Sight. In fact it gives the Sight to anyone who has it in their possession.

Reluctantly Nick agrees to help Laurie get the nixie back into the water of a nearby lake. The next day the Nixie dunks both of the children in her lake and gives them the gift of the Sight - permanently. Nick is not at all sure that this is a good thing. Does he really want to be able to see the faeries, boggarts and who knows what else that he has looked at in the pages of Spiderwick’s Guide?

To make matters worse the nixie, Taloa, now expects the two children to find her missing sisters. Apparently the nixie family members were separated and now Taloa does not know where her six sisters are. She wants Nick and Laurie to find them. Unfortunately the two children run into a very large problem, a fire breathing problem. In short they encounter a giant and it would appear that this giant may be only one of many.

Set in Florida, this story is the beginning of what promises to be a very exciting new Spiderwick series. Though the Grace children are not the main characters here, Simon and especially Jared do play a role in the story. This time the heroes of the story are confronted with a very different kind of problem, how to deal with an ‘outbreak’ of rousing giants which could, without out too much difficulty, burn much of Florida to the ground should they choose to do so.

As with the previous novels in this series, wonderful illustrations can be found throughout the book. Just to make things interesting Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black have put themselves in the story. They do not let themselves do anything splendidly heroic however.