The Snow Spider - Jenny Nimmo | Book Review

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

"On Gwyn's 9th birthday, his grandmother tells him he may be a magician, like his Welsh ancestors. She gives him five gifts to help him--a brooch, a piece of dried seaweed, a tin whistle, a scarf, and a broken toy horse. One blustery day, unsure what to do with his newfound magic, Gwyn throws the brooch to the wind and receives a silvery snow spider in return. Will he be able to use this special spider to bring his missing sister, Bethan, home?"



This was such a charming read and would be perfect for young children! I came across this book whilst browsing in my local Waterstones, as I was looking for a small-ish book to read, and The Snow Spider caught my eye!

This book was first published in 1986, and the cover of this edition is really beautiful. The Snow Spider tells the story of a young boy named Gwyn who learns from his grandmother that he is a magician. We follow his story from learning how to summon his magic and finding out what happened to his missing sister Bethan all those years ago.

Upon reading, you would have never guessed that this was written over 30 years ago! The themes and language are all very much as relevant as a book written today. The subjects tackled within this book I think are vital, especially as this targets such a young audience. The themes mainly circle around loss, coming to peace with that loss and being able to let go, which I found was quite cathartic whilst reading. 

It is implied early on in the book that the loss of Gwyn's sister, Bethan, has had a tremendous effect on his family home. No one speaks about it, Gwyn's father doesn't show him any affection and Gwyn's mother can't bring herself to accept that their daughter is gone. Throughout the book, we see these characters grow and (without giving too much away, I wouldn't want to spoil anything!) finally come to terms that their daughter has left them.

This is also implied in another way. Gwyn's grandmother, affectionally known as Nain, gives him three gifts for his birthday that he will have to give away to learn if he wants to uncover if he is a magician or not. Gwyn finds himself becoming quite attached to the objects but understands that he has to give them up if he wants what his heart desires. 

Overall, this is a very charming tale of courage and bravery. I found myself relating to Nain more than I would have imagined (the description of her front room is practically my bedroom!). In this edition of the book, there is bonus material for children to sink their teeth into if they want to know more about the Welsh legends that are included in the book.

Let me know what you thought of this book in the comments!

Love, K :)

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