Monday, October 8, 2007

The Nixie's Song by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

This is the first of three books in the Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles series. (Is it redundant to say series if you're already talking about chronicles?)

First of all, let me say that I adore the first Spiderwick Chronicles. I love the creatures, the realistic portrayal of siblings (despite some of the language), the design, everything. And I think that Arthur's Spiderwick's Guide to the Fantastical World Around You is exquisite. I even bought the calendar. Twice.

So you might think that I would be overjoyed at the prospect of more Spiderwick novels. However, one of my biggest criticisms of the children's publishing industry at this time is the complete and utter lack of restraint. Any commercially successful book must have a sequel, whether or not there is any more story left. And if I learned only one thing from Cathie Mercier, it's to ask if there's really more to tell, or if I just want
more. I wasn't convinced that there was really more story to tell, so I was a bit trepidatious.

Having said all that, I enjoyed
The Nixie's Song, but it's definitely more of the same. We have an unlikely hero who is feeling misunderstood and marginalized with the changes that are happening in his family. He is introduced to the faerie world and, although Nick is more doubtful than Jared was, he will probably end up saving the world from some mean creature. And he will probably learn to love his new stepmother and stepsister in the process, and he might even have a nice moment with his dad when they learn to appreciate each other again. I hope I'm wrong. I hope it's more imaginative than that.

What I
loved about this book is that Laurie has a copy of Arthur Spiderwick's Guide and she and Nick go to a book-signing where they meet Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black and ask them for help. It reminds me of the movie Ocean's Twelve, in which Julia Roberts plays a character who impersonates Julia Roberts. Cracks me up every time I think of it. I love meta-stories.

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