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Snow Spider Trilogy by Jenny Nimmo

Snow Spider Trilogy (edition 2003)

by Jenny Nimmo

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1462121,710 (4.22)3
Title:Snow Spider Trilogy
Authors:Jenny Nimmo
Info:Egmont (2003), Paperback, 476 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:children's book, chapter book, juvenile fiction, fantasy, Smarties Grand Prize, award winner

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The Snow Spider Trilogy by Jenny Nimmo



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On his ninth birthday Gwyn is given a brooch, a scarf, a piece of seaweed, a tin whistle and a small broken horse by his grandmother and told to give them to the wind. The first thing he gives to the wind is the brooch which comes back as the snow spider and suddenly magic is in his life, real and with consequences and responsibilities. The trilogy covers from his ninth to his thirteenth birthday and a variety of adventures all of whom require him to employ his wits and to embrace the magician within.

I liked it, originally published in the 80's it reminded me of my teenage years, and the possibility of there being magic around the next corner. There were pieces that stood out in capturing a moment and made the characters more rounded. Gwyn has issues and problems dealing with the magic and this comes across too. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Nov 11, 2009 |
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Jenny Nimmo’s The Snow Spider Trilogy was the third of three great works of children’s literature that appeared in the 60s, 70s and 80s set in Celtic Britain. The first was Alan Garner’s The Owl Service, the second Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Quintet, Nimmo’s trilogy was the third. In each the writer took one or more of the myths of the Celtic world and explored how it might play itself out in the world of today. I originally read each of Nimmo’s three books as they were published and I’ve been back to them between then and now as students I’ve worked with have been studying them This time I’ve returned to them for a planned discussion with friends and found that however well I thought I knew them they still have something fresh and psychologically demanding to offer up.
The Snow Spider always seems to me to have been written for slightly younger children that the other books. Certainly, when it first came out I shared it with my nine year olds and when a wonderful television version was made with Sian Phillips magnificently cast as Nain I frequently showed it to classes on rainy afternoons when we couldn’t get out for planned games lessons. But, that doesn’t lessen the psychologically reality with which the dilemmas of the main characters are explored. Although this may be a work of fantasy it also examines the pain of a family from which a child has been lost. Nine year old Gwyn Griffiths lives in a house in shadow following the disappearance four years earlier of his older sister, Bethan. His father in particular has become sullen and ill-tempered. On his ninth birthday, Gwyn is given five gifts by his grandmother, five gifts, four of she tells him to give to the wind. The first of these is an ancient broach which he sets free and receives in return Arianwen, the snow spider of the title. With Arianwen’s help he brings to the house the mysterious girl, Eirlys, a frail likeness of his lost sister. Frail she may be, but she helps to restore harmony to the Griffiths home even when Gwyn lets the fifth gift loose to the wind and has to deal with the consequences of having let loose the spirit of the Welsh prince of legend, the evil Efnisien.
In Emlyn’s Moon Gwyn again plays a prominent role, this time using the gifts bequeathed him by his wizard ancestor, Gwydion, to mend the rift in the family caused when Emlyn’s parents, Gwyn’s aunt and uncle, split up four years before the story’s onset. Again, Nimmo is using the stuff of fantasy and legend to explore one of the more common tragedies of the present age. And the same is true in the final book, The Chestnut Soldier, when the evil Efnisien returns to inhabit the body of Evan Llyr, a soldier who has suffered horrendously in Northern Ireland and who cannot find a way to come to terms with what he has seen and suffered. As his nightmares take him over he destroys the peace of the Lloyd family with whom he stays who cannot understand the anger and rage that he is experiencing.
By the time we reach The Chestnut Soldier, I think Nimmo is writing for much older children than she was in The Snow Spider. She is certainly dealing more openly with a much darker side of human nature. The three books work together to explore the difficulty that Gwyn has coming to terms with the gifts given to him and awoken within him on his ninth birthday and as such they make a satisfying whole. However, I think if I were giving them to a child now I might well make it one a year as a birthday present to make sure that the appropriate levels of emotional maturity were there.
2 vote ann163125 | Feb 12, 2008 |
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A trilogy charting the story of Gwyn's extraordinary battle against evil in worlds glittering with snow and ice.

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