A Giant Problem (Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
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|A Giant Problem (Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jason Mark Curley|
|Summary: Spiderwick goes to Florida in this Giant tale.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 176||Date: October 2008|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's|
Nicholas Vargas (a regular computer game playing couch-potato) is enjoying the summer break at his home in Florida. Well, at least that was the plan. Laurie, his stepsister is intent on spending the summer learning how to kill and then actually killing giants. She is taking lessons from Noseum Jack, the local blind and slightly insane giant killer.
One stormy Florida night, during a heated and disturbing argument between his father and stepmother, Nicholas and his sister are visited by Jack; he takes them out into the swampy woods to show them something that might interest them. Just as thunderstorm reaches its peak, they get to a clearing and spot two giants, wrestling in the mud. Jack sneaks forward and tried to kill the winner, but gets slapped away like a fly, and the children have to carry him off to safety.
With Jack's revelation that there are an untold number of Giants that could wake up at any moment, the children decide to turn to the Kingdom of the Merfolk for help, which could prove even worse that fighting giants in the first place.
I have read The Spiderwick Chronicles, but this is the first Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles book I've seen, and the second in the series. I'm sure most of you are as anal as me about reading a series of books in order, but I have to say, not having read the first instalment, it didn't seem to make much difference; this book can be read as a stand alone volume.
Simon and Schuster have done a wonderful job with the production of this series. If you're not familiar with them, they are in the same small, hardcover format as the A Series of Unfortunate Events books. The illustrations are fantastic and will certainly appeal to the young readers this book is aimed at. I'm sure they look fantastic on a bookshelf too, all lined up and waiting to be read; the kind of Christmas present that would have made me jump up and down with joy as a kid.
The writing is unusual and can take a little while to penetrate. The narrative seems to be framed in the vocabulary of its central character, though at times, it shoots off and begins to sound a little like classic Jack London (that's not a bad thing at all if you ask me). The characters are well defined and lovable. The only area that really suffers is the originality of the plot, but then again, I'm not sure these books need to be, or should be, cutting edge; they're good old-fashion story telling.
And the joy with any series of books is the joy of repeated excursions with your favourite characters; it makes me think reviewing this book is a little pointless for those who are already into the series; they're going to buy this anyway.
For those of you who haven't read any of the books in this series, do yourself a favour and start from the beginning. It'll be worth it.
If you like this book, I think you might like Hootcat Hill and The Thirteen Treasures. I'd also give Jack London a try, The Call of the Wild and White Fang would be my recommendations, you never know, you might love them.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this lovely book.
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You can read more book reviews or buy A Giant Problem (Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi at Amazon.com.
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