First a pack of vile, smelly goblins snatch Simon. Then a band of elves try to entrap Jared. Why is the entire faerie world so eager to get their hands on Spiderwick's Guide? And will the Grace kids be left alone, now that the Guide has mysteriously disappeared? Don't count on it.
At school, someone is running around pretending to be Jared, and it's not Simon. To make matters even worse, now Mallory has disappeared and something foul in the water is killing off all the plants and animals for miles around. Clues point to the old abandoned quarry, just outside of town. Dwarves have taken over an abandoned mine there. And the faerie world's abuzz with the news that a creature with plans to rule the world has offered them a gift to join with him -- he's given them a queen...
Sometimes it is hard to remember that Jared and Simon are supposed to be just nine years old. Only a little bit older than my children. They seem so resourceful and self-reliant. At the same time, these are characters in a book and I am not even sure if the authors have children of their own, so these characters may be based on what the authors think nine-year-olds are like. That has troubled me a bit in the last books as well, but especially now.
In this book Jared and Simon need to help Mallory, who has been kidnapped by the Dwarves. They work as a team and figure things out, but not without some fighting and hurt feelings. It is easy to see that the stress of the faerie world is starting to wear on them, along with the constant vigilance against fantastical creatures and trying to keep all of this from their mother.
The picture of the Dwarves mines and mechanical creatures is very well done. I could picture the mechanical dogs and birds as well as the tree that did not need sunlight. At the same time all of these robotic beings seemed a bit cold and eerie as well.
In the movie version the Dwarves as cut out just as the elves were from book three. It would have been interesting to see what Hollywood would have done with them if they had made it into the movie!
Pub. Date: April 2004
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Format: Hardcover , 128pp
Age Range: 7 to 11
Series: Spiderwick Chronicles Series , #4