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
For ages 7 to 10
Performed/read by: Andrew McCarthy
Simon and Schuster Audio, 2007   ISBN: 978-0743569156

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 neighborhood. He finds a four-leaf clover and something truly bizarre happens. That night he finds out that he is able to see creatures of faerie  when he sees a nixie (a water faerie) 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 on 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. 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 giants who could, without out too much difficulty, burn much of Florida to the ground should they choose to do so.

Andrew McCarthy does a wonderful job narrating this story, connecting with each character in a convincing way and bringing the tale to life.