You may be asking yourself the age old question: why does a grown man continue to read children’s and young adult books? Well, I could offer the excuse that as a father I want to be in touch with what kids are reading, but my children (age 32 months and 3 weeks respectively) aren’t really reading at this point.
No, I read them because I find them interesting and entertaining. They are often uniquely designed and illustrated and full of the kind of imagination that sometimes gets left out of “adult fiction.” They make for a quick – depending on the size – but fun read. I particularly enjoy books that develop characters and explore a magical or fantastic setting over the course of series.
One such series I have enjoyed is the Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. I enjoyed the first five books and was happy to see that the author’s were taking the fun in a new direction. The Nixie’s Song is the first book in a new series called Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles. Here is a quick description from the publisher:
The Spiderwick Chronicles leave the old-fashioned charm of New England far behind and head south for some fiendish faerie fun in the hot Florida sun. Eleven-year-old Nicholas Vargas only thinks his life has been turned upside down after his developer father remarries and moves his new wife and daughter into the soon-to-be completed Mangrove Hollow. But an “expedition” to a nearby lake turns up a little nixie with a giant problem – the huge, lumbering, fire-breathing variety – and it’s up to Nick; his stepsister, Laurie; and his big brother, Julian (plus a familiar face from the original Spiderwick Chronicles) to figure out the best way to stop a host of rampaging giants before all of Florida goes up in smoke.
DiTerlizzi and Black have a good sense of humor – they even make a rather satirical appearance in the book – and have created an imaginative concept (or adapted one) but the books also deal with real life issues and relationships (divorce and relocation; sibling rivalry; or what it is like to have step mom and sister in the most recent volume) in interesting ways The stories are fast paced and fun and have just the right mix of the whimsical, the frightening, and the fantastical. Plus, they have great illustrations and cover art.
So if you have young readers, or not so young ones, who haven’t yet discovered this entertaining series I highly recommend they check it out. The web site is a fun place to click around as well.