Children's Literature · Modern Fantasy · Review

Troll Trouble by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Spiderwick Chronicles Troll TroubleSeries: The Spiderwick Chronicles, #2, Part II
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: 2007
Genre: Children’s, Fantasy
Pages: 58
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Troll Trouble, by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, is apparently Part II of the second book in the Spiderwick Chronicles, but it’s a special edition. What makes it special is that it has an exclusive chapter about Arthur Spiderwick, the Spiderwick Estate’s previous owner. I have to give a star for the authors trying to keep everyone up to speed with an introduction of what was missed in the previous books, especially since I missed Part I of The Seeing Stone.

Since The Field Guide, Jared’s twin brother, Simon, has been kidnapped by goblins. In this book, Mallory and Jared have set off into the nearby forest to rescue him. Plus, there’s the exclusive chapter about Arthur Spiderwick’s encounter with a troll.

I felt a little lost as to what was going on, despite reading the introduction. Since the full original books seem to have a handful of chapters, I’ve missed a lot by catching only two of them. I have little idea what this seeing stone is beyond a basic description of its function. It’s also unclear why Simon was kidnapped. And where is the mother of the Grace children? These issues are likely caused by the unnecessary chopping up of a book that’s short to begin with.

On the subject of the exclusive bonus chapter, the tale is alright but not that great. The plot is simple. The setting and the characters are not described well at all. It leaves too much to the imagination. I feel like I could insert anyone into these roles. This chapter did not change my perception of the world encompassed in the chronicles, and that is mostly due to the lack of description.

Once again the book forces the reader to rely on illustrations for descriptions of the characters and now the fairies. This is hard for me to swallow because I expect this of a graphic novel, not a novel or chapter book. I did not mention the benefit of a map in my review of The Field Guide because it changed nothing about my perception of the setting. The same happened again in this book. I’m starting to wonder if there is any point to this map, but I don’t think I will read further to find out.

I cannot recommend Troll Trouble because the plot leaves much to be desired, and I feel lost after missing a few chapters from the original The Seeing Stone.

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