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"You've lost your uncle. How careless." ―Lucinda's Secret
The Spiderwick Chronicles #3
by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black
The Grace children are surrounded by problems. Thimbletack wants revenge. A hungry griffin is hiding in the carriage house. Creatures will stop at nothing to get Arthur’s Field Guide. Giving up the Field Guide isn’t an option, so the children go to see their Aunt Lucinda. But the more they learn about the fantastical world around them, the more they are convinced that the only way to stay safe is to discover more about the creatures who want to silence them.
Lucinda’s Secret takes the reader into the past and begins to answer the question: Why do the fairies want the Field Guide? The third installment of The Spiderwick Chronicles has several scenes that may scare younger readers. The children go to visit their Aunt Lucinda in an asylum, and they see several patients in straightjackets and a man “in a bathrobe giggled over an upside-down book.” Lucinda’s story of monsters that attacked her at night may also frighten readers.
Readers will be able to relate to the realistic sibling relationships. Even though the children work together and care about each other, they still squabble, fight, and disagree. Because the siblings often have conflict, the scenes when they work together are even more enjoyable. The story shows how relationships are always changing and that people can love each other and still disagree.
The introduction of new characters and new creatures adds interest to Lucinda’s Secret. Book three focuses on advancing the plot and giving important background information. However, this book also has less action than the first two books and readers will miss Thimbletack and the griffin, who do not appear in the story. The introduction of elves and a glimpse into the elves’ world adds a new, interesting element. Readers will want to continue the series to find out how the elves and Lucinda’s secret are connected.
- When Aunt Lucinda was younger, monsters came looking for her father’s book. She shows the children her scars and says, “Late one night the monsters came. Little green things with horrible teeth held me down, while a giant one questioned me. I struggled, and their claws scraped my arms and legs . . . Before that night, my back was straight. Ever since, I have walked hunched over.”
- When Mallory touches a unicorn, she sees a vision of people hunting. As the unicorn runs, “arrows fly, burying themselves in white flesh. The unicorn bellows and goes down in a cloud of leaves. Dog teeth rip skin. A man with a knife hacks the horn from the head while the unicorn is still moving.”
- Elves capture Jared. With the wave of an elf hand, “dirty, hairy roots climbed Jared’s legs and held him.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- “Crappy” is used once. “Crap” is used three times.
- When Jared talks about his dad leaving to take a new job, Mallory says, “You can’t really believe that load of crap.”
- The Phooka tells the children he is “an ass or perhaps merely a sprite.”
- Sprites visit Aunt Lucinda. They are “creatures the size of walnuts, whirling in on iridescent wings. They alighted on the old woman, tangling in her white hair and crawling up the headboard.”
- Sprites gave Aunt Lucinda fruit, and when she ate it, “it tasted better than any food I’d ever imagined. . . After that, human food—normal food—was like sawdust and ashes. I couldn’t make myself eat it.” She now must rely on the sprites to feed her.
- The children learn that wearing their clothes inside out will allow them to find the elf world. The children meet the green-skinned elves.
- The children meet a Phooka, who speaks in riddles. The Phooka “had the body of a monkey with short, blackish brown speckled fur and a long tail that curled around the branch on which it sat.” The Phooka has a face that looks like a rabbit “with long ears and whiskers.”
- When Mallory touches a unicorn, she sees a vision.