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The Snow Spider (Snow Spider Trilogy #1)

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,373 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews
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 ab ...more
Hardcover, 146 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published July 30th 1986)
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Feb 20, 2009 Ronda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many, many years ago, I read Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising. The series enthralled me, and I found myself anxiously waiting for each book in the series to come back in to our school library (the series was popular). So how is this relevant to Jenny Nimmo's The Magician Trilogy? Reading The Snow Spider put me in the same frame of mind that Cooper's series put me into so very many years ago, so much so, that I (1) can't wait to read the 2nd book in Nimmo's series and (2) am itching to re-read Coope ...more
Deborah O'Carroll
For my review of the overall series, see my series review on The Page Dreamer:

Brief thoughts on this individual one:

I remember starting this out, accidentally, late one night, and then staying up to finish it. I was thinking, near the end, of possibly giving it 4 stars, since it was rather intriguing and some of the writing was pretty, and I tend to be fairly generous in my star-ratings. Then the ending was a little flat for me, so I settled on 3 stars. I
Feb 25, 2009 Lori rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not every book needs to be 500 pages, but the storyline in this book could have used just a bit more TLC. The other thing that made me crazy were all of the names that I had no idea how to pronounce. Not very many people are fluent in the Welsh language (including people from Wales!), and I, for one, would have really appreciated having a pronunciation guide included in the book.
I was absolutely enchanted by this story of a young boy searching for his lost sister. Gwyn discovers that he is a magician, and he can use his magical abilities to call his sister, Bethan, back home. She has been missing for four years, and Gwyn's family is broken by her loss. Through a series of magical encounters, Gwyn searches for his sister and discovers his own powers.

The setting is in the Welsh countryside, which immediately gives a sense of legend and myth to the story. The magic system
Jim From YAYeahYeah
Young Gwyn's world has been lonely since the disappearance of his sister Bethan. His parents, particularly his father, are still grieving and his father blames Gwyn for his sister's loss. On his ninth birthday, though, his life takes a strange turn as his nain (grandmother) gives him five gifts and tells him that now is the time to find out if he's a magician. One of the gifts, a brooch, is tossed into the wind and becomes Arianwen, the snow spider. And so begins a journey which could finally he ...more
Candy Boisvert
Jun 19, 2008 Candy Boisvert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kids
Recommended to Candy by: No one
Title: The Snow Spider
Author: Jenny Nimmo
Copyright date: 1986
Publisher: Egmont
How many pages: 122 pgs
How long it took me to read: 2 days
Category: Fiction
I learned about this book from: going on a search looking for something to read after Harry Potter.

This book was purchased at: Chapter's
This book is: for anybody who has an imagination
Other books by this author: Emlyn's moon, The chestnut soldier, Midnight for Charlie Bone, The time Twister, The blue boa, The castle of mirrors, The renaldi ring,
Kenneth Zhu
Jul 01, 2013 Kenneth Zhu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have chosen this book because it looks so exciting to me that I want to read it. I like to read a books about magic, magical stuff will surprise the readers of how they did, where they learnt etc. The static image of the book cover were OUTSTANDING to me because they used a magical stuff in it. I just attention to it and I just wanted to start reading it!

This book will fit in the category of fantasy book because it creating our imagination of how the snow spider glow their white snow light in
May 09, 2014 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f, ya
I read this book when I was in elementary school. I remember very few books that I read at those ages, but the feel of the Snow Spider Trilogy stuck with me. I like the dreamy, intuitive feel of the magic.

On my recent reread, though, I realized that the grandmother is a terrible person. She's wanted to be magic her entire life but she didn't inherit it, so she positioned herself as close to the magical world as possible. When she realized her grandchild did inherit magic, she pushed him into it
A very confusing and poorly constructed first book in a trilogy series. As I read the story via audiobook format, where an intrusive brough accent made understanding multiple conversations quite challenging and unverifiable, I might have enjoyed it more and found it less puzzling had I read it in a visual format. For reasons that are never clearly identified, Gwyn is discovered to be a magician, although no one but his paternal grandmother believes in anything having to do with magic.

Another mys
Dec 20, 2014 Aelvana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gwydion's birthday is always a bit of an event, owing to the fact that his sister disappeared four years before on the very day. But his grandmother's presents this year promise to make up for some of the coldness: five strange items and the promise of magic.

The small, solid details really make this story shine. The quiet life of Welsh farmers comes through in bits and pieces as Gwyn wanders from the life he's always known into a strange new world. The magic was a lot of fun, too. Welsh legend m
May 12, 2010 Cory rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love Charlie Bone, so I was disappointed by this slim volume. Something about the narrative style made it very difficult to connect to the characters. Maybe it was that everything happened freakishly easily, but without any explanation. You need to tell me why the main character shouted Welsh words into the wind, and why that made things happen. Also? The things that happened that were "magic"? Not so much with the impressive/fun/magic/interesting.
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 a promising idea, and I picked it up with h
Mar 31, 2016 Cfrankie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Frustrating. There are so many good qualities about The Snow Spider - I adore the Welsh country farm setting and the era; it being so family-focused and cosy, even through well-written heartstring tugging moments; and the Welsh names, places and loopy characters are charming.

But, it really is lacking bite. Yes, it's for children, fine, but I read it when I was a kid and now remember why I found it so dissatisfying, as it doesn't explore the really strong elements it sets up. The sister missing
May 28, 2007 Pearlpelt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
This was a complete waste of my time. After I had read the first twenty pages, I considered just tossing it into the trashcan. Unfortunantly, I didn't. After I had finished it, I lamented about all the time I had taken to read it that I cannot get back.
I loved the Charlie Bone series and was prepared to really love this book. I am really saddened that I didn't. I felt that the author spent too much time world building and setting up the plot and then rushed through what should have been the climax and the ending. It saddens me because I think this could have been a great story had the events and the characters been fleshed out more.

The bright spot of the book for me was the narrator. I actually listened to this book on cd and loved listening
Jul 21, 2014 Jeff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like many of the other reviewers, I felt like this book could have been better. It starts off well enough, but then lots of random things happen that don't flow well together. My other reason for a lower rating is that I don't like books where the kids are the protagonists and they do things that would be big no-no's in our house and not only get away with it but actually profit from it. The worst example of that in this book is when one of the characters goes out into a blizzard without telling ...more
Dec 26, 2014 Sem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth-fiction
3 stars is generous. I failed to read this book years ago after seeing the TV series and if it hadn't been so short I might have failed again. I don't care about the characters, there's insufficient development of the plot elements and - most importantly - I don't believe it. Perhaps the protagonist is simply too young to take on such a role or perhaps the author hurls the reader into the midst of things without providing sufficient context. I recall thinking when I made my first attempt on this ...more
Arliegh Kovacs
Jun 30, 2015 Arliegh Kovacs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My nine year old grandson and I read this book together and we both loved it. It was a book about discovery, magic, and forgiveness. About being different and learning to love the things that are different about ourselves, our friends and our family. It was about power -- and learning what power is safe to use and which powers need to be held back and controlled.
This was an excellent book for young boys who look up to super heroes and haven't yet learned a lot about how almost unlimited power sh
Harley Bennett
Nine year-old Gwyn receives five very strange gifts from his grandmother for his ninth birthday and begins his quest to become a magician; and to find his sister who disappeared four years before. Gwyn is an inconsistent character, sometimes behaving as a twelve year-old, sometimes acting like a seven-year old, and occasionally acting his age. This is part one of a trilogy, and I was not really inspired to continue the series. This story does have an ending, so it can be read without having to r ...more
Pam Baddeley
The first in a trilogy set in Wales. The book opens with nine year old Gwyn who lives on a farm and is celebrating his birthday. Since his big sister disappeared when he was four years old, there hasn't been much to celebrate because his father has been cold and rejecting towards him, blaming him for the loss of his sister, but the day begins differently with Gwyn's grandmother Nain giving him a number of items that he must cast to the wind. She believes he is a magician, inheriting the powers t ...more
M.C. Crocker
After reading the book, I’ve been set with a quandary as to how to review this book. I have read books by Jenny Nimmo, particularly her Charlie Bone series. The series is a book about a boy with special powers and there is an allusion in the series to the title character being a descendant of a magician. Thus, when I saw that Jenny Nimmo has a book series based on a magician I was all for the idea and eager to read it as it might be who was alluded to in the Charlie Bone books.

Yet, it seems tha
Jun 17, 2013 Becky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, library, junior
This book reminded me of The Dark is Rising series, just not done as well. It takes place in Wales, I think, which may be why I find the two books similar. Also, Gwyn is a wizard and just naturally is able to do everything that he needs to do. There is no major struggles, not really a learning curve or anything. There was very little conflict in the story.

I also felt that some things were not explained very well. Maybe the rest of the trilogy would clear it up, but I don't plan on reading the o
Nov 20, 2013 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is actually my second time through this book, but I picked it up at the beginning of the trilogy again because I finally have acquired books two and three. Like many reviewers, I could feel the same sense of wonder that I did the first time I read The Dark Is Rising. I do see the similarities in the distinct Welsh flavor of storytelling, but I think it's unfair to judge this series too harshly in comparison. It doesn't have the same density of language that makes The Dark is Rising not as a ...more
Young Gwyn and his family live on a sheep farm in the mountains of Wales. Ever since Gwyn's older sister, Bethan, disappeared on the mountain four years ago, there has been little joy in the family. On Gwyn's ninth birthday, his 'Nain' (grandmother), tells him it is time for him to find out if he is a magician, as his ancestors were, and she gives him five gifts: a piece of seaweed, a yellow scarf, a tin whistle, a twisted metal brooch, and a broken horse. Gwyn is to give his gifts to the wind, ...more
Dylan Norbury
On his ninth birthday Gwyn received a strange present from his grandmother. "It is time," she said, "to find out if you are a magician." But a piece of seaweed, a yellow scarf, a tin whistle, a twisted metal brooch, and a small, broken horse seemed like strange tools to use to find out if he was a magician, but he put them away and wondered how to use them. All his grandmother had said was "Give them to the wind."

Three weeks later, the winter wind arrived, and when Gwyn opened his dresser drawer
Although I read the newer edition, this is the edition that I owned when I was a tween (before the term "tween" EXISTED and no one made clothes in the right size for tweens because they didn't exist yet, hmpf.)

I pretty much had forgotten about Gwyn Griffiths and his Welsh magic until the boyf and I decided to read Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain. Then a little memory pricked my consciousness, saying "Wasn't there another book about a Welsh boy magician?" (Besides The Dark is Rising). And
Chris Campbell
Nov 16, 2013 Chris Campbell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: a tremendously biased review follows... Because this is the book I read and re-read constantly aged 10-12. I love it: it's full of magic and mythology, and just enough darkness to thrill younger readers (and the young at heart).

I've just re-read it after many years, prompted to start on November 1st, the protagonist's birthday ("It was All Hallows Day, don't forget, the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Such a bright dawn it was; all the birds in the world were singing"). Despit
Stef Rozitis
Jul 24, 2016 Stef Rozitis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1981-1990
This is one of the weirdest books I have ever read even in the fantasy genre. I kept thinking it was set a long time ago (I think maybe the rural welsh setting helped me think that) and being stunned when there were bits of the modern day in the story. I didn't like some of the way the characters related, but I was drawn in and wanted to know what would happen next.

I also have some liking with any book with a Gwydion in it!
After losing interest with the Charlie Bone series, I thought I'd give Jenny Nimmo another try. The Snow Spider started off with a great plot and I loved the Welsch flavor (and especially the British guy reading it). About halfway through, however the plot began to take on an ethereal quality wherein nothing seemed grounded, and "mystical" things began happening with little explanation or reason. I've often ranted about the fantasy author's tendency to forget cause and effect and begin spouting ...more
I wasn't a fan of the Charlie Bone books but decided to give this book a try. I listened to the audiobook edition narrated by Jack Keating. While I enjoyed this book better than the Charlie Bone books I still felt the dialogue was a bit stilted and that the plot wasn't developed enough. I'm rating this book a three because it was an interesting premise and the audiobook narration was well done.
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Jenny Nimmo was born in Windsor, Berkshire, England and educated at boarding schools in Kent and Surrey from the age of six until the age of sixteen, when she ran away from school to become a drama student/assistant stage manager with Theater South East. She graduated and acted in repertory theater in various towns and cities: Eastbourne, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton, Hastings, and Bexhill.

She left
More about Jenny Nimmo...

Other Books in the Series

Snow Spider Trilogy (3 books)
  • Emlyn's Moon (Snow Spider, #2)
  • The Chestnut Soldier (Snow Spider,  #3)

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