Children's, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Mystery, what if

#480 The Spiderwick Chronicles: Lucinda’s Secret by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

The Spiderwick Chronicles: Lucinda's Secret by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizziThe Spiderwick Chronicles: Lucinda’s Secret by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

These kids chose a heck of a place to move into. The story continues on after Jared, Simon, and Mallory all get grounded for being out so late rescuing Simon and the other creatures. They are to stay home for a month. Mallory suggests getting rid of the book because it’s caused so much trouble but Jared says no. They continue to look after the Griffon whom they have named Byron. They determine that they need to ask Aunt Lucinda some questions. She’s in a local mental hospital. The children get a few moments alone with her. She tells them the house is not safe, but she doesn’t mean the architecture. She means all the fairies. She tells the children the story of how she ended up in the mental hospital. She isn’t really sick at all. The fairies thought that she had the guide. They attacked her. Everyone thought she was making it up. The children tell her they do have the guide, but it turns out Thimbletack has taken it. They go home and go into the library to look for clues about the whole thing. They find a note and some maps Arthur Spiderwick had made. They decide to go and check the location out. Their mother agrees to let them go for a walk. They are almost caught by some strange grass creatures, but they eventually meet a unicorn and some elves. The elves want to keep one the children in return for the guide, but the children get them on a technicality. They begin to think there is a possibility that Arthur might still be alive with the elves, especially after talking to a rather strange creature hanging out in a tree.

What I liked

Either Holly or Tony has done their research on unicorns.

“A girl in a colorless gown, urged on by hunters, lures the unicorn closer. One stray arrow knocks her to the ground. She falls, pale arm slung over pale flank. Both are still. Then hundreds of gray horns, shaped into goblets, crushed into charms and powders. White pelts streaked with blood, stacked in a pile buzzing with black flies.”

This is a fairly accurate description of the folklore surrounding unicorns. The way to hunt a unicorn was to lure it out with a virgin. The unicorn’s horn was ground up into alicorn and used for all manner of purposes, mainly to prevent poisoning. Horns were turned into goblets and into charms. Of course, unicorns aren’t real, so none of this really happened. It was all like one big urban legend. The black market trade for unicorn products was very strong for many years. It was all a big joke. There weren’t really unicorns. People said there were, but what they got were ground up goat horns, rhino horns, and narwhal horns. Nobody ever got a real unicorn horn. I appreciate that Holly and Tony took the time to look up this folklore and put it in their book. They’re not just blowing hot smoke when they describe, theoretically, how a unicorn should be captured.

What I didn’t like

The elves in this story seem like jerks. They also seem to have the ability to live forever, at least it’s hinted at; I don’t know if it’s actually a thing in the Spiderwick mythology for elves to live forever. The elves in the world of Tolkien do live forever, given the chance, they just don’t have green stuff growing on their faces like the elves in this story do. Thimbletack still seems like a jerk as well. How come all these creatures these kids encounter have to be jerks?


It’s a unicorn!

arthur spiderwick, elves, fairies, field guide, goblins, holly black, jared, lucinda, lucinda’s secret, mallory, simon, spiderwick, sprites, the spiderwick chronicles, The Spiderwick Chronicles: Lucinda’s Secret by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, tony diterlizzi, unicorn
Black-Holly, Children’s, DiTerlizzi-Tony, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Mystery, what if


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