Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide - Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black

Summary: A warning to all those who come upon this field guide:  Go away.  Close the book.  Put it down.  Do not look.

So, run away quickly or join three ordinary kids, Jared, Simon, and Mallory Grace,as they enter a world of faeries without leaving this one!   (Summary from the back of the book with some paraphrasing by me - Image from

My Review:  The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide is the first book of five in the Spiderwick Chronicles series.  If you have watched the movie by the same name, I think it comprises approximately the first twenty minutes, give or take. 

When Jared, Simon, and Mallory Grace move into their Aunt Lucinda's run down Victorian house with their mother, they are anything but excited.  The house is filthy, falling apart, and something seems to be living in the walls.  It isn't long before strange, unexplainable things start happening.  While Mallory finds solace in her fencing, and Simon busies himself with his collection of animals, Jared explores their new home and uncovers a hidden room, and a clue that leads him to a mysterious field guide written by Arthur Spiderwick, that holds truths beyond his wildest imagination. 

My kiddos aren't home to help me with this review -- some pesky rule about them having to actually attend school -- but I think that I can safely say that both of them were fans.  At eight and six, sometimes it's hard to find a book they both will like; Kaisa is bored by picture books and Sophie needs the occasional illustration to keep her mind engaged and help her imagination along.  The Spiderwick Chronicles was perfect for them.  It had enough adventure and mystery to keep my eldest entertained, but also had incredible illustrations on nearly every other page that kept Sophie glued to my side. 

At a little over 100 pages (signficiantly less if you take illustrations into account) this book would be an excellent choice for school-age children who feel comfortable reading on their own, or for an extended storytime with parents.  If you have the time and inclination, I've even heard of parents who read the entire series to their children in an afternoon! 

In short, my kiddos ate this book up, and were consistently begging me for "just one more chapter, pleeeeeeease!!" We will be starting the second book, The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Seeing Stone, tonight.

My Rating: 4.25 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  My kids were fine with the tense moments in this book, but each child (and parent) is different.  Proceed with caution and you should be fine.

Sum it up:  A promising beginning to a beautifully illustrated series.

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