This is a series of books I read last year with my son. Both of us enjoyed these books tremendously. When I heard that they would be releasing a Spiderwick Chronicles movie in February 2008, I was very excited. With all of the publicity this series will be getting as a result of the upcoming film, I thought I would write up a review for those interested in reading the books before the movie comes out.
The three young heroes, 9-year-old twins Jared and Simon Grace, and their 13-year-old sister Mallory Grace, are part of a newly divorced family. They have moved with their mother to the old, run-down, family estate at the edge of a small town. As the Grace children try to adjust to their new surroundings they discover a secret world populated by brownies, goblins, griffins, elves, and worse. In the first book they meet Thimbletack, the family’s house brownie, who is mighty unhappy with the new occupants of his home, especially when young Jared finds Arthur Spiderwick’s field guide. The field guide contains all of Arthur Spiderwick’s observations on magical creatures, which could endanger all of the faerie world if it fell into the wrong hands. Over the course of the rest of the series, the children learn the family secrets and how to make their way in faerie society through a series of exploits culminating in a desperate quest to save not only themselves and all of the good creatures of the faerie world but, all of the non-magical world as well.
Holly Black and Tony DiTerrlizzi have created a truly original work of art in the realm of children’s literature. When I first saw the books in the store, I was convinced they were just another Series of Unfortunate Events knock off. Three kids from a broken home to whom all sorts of wonderously bad things happen. We bought them anyway because they were just the right reading level for my son. Once we got into them though, the similarities became glaringly superficial. The Spiderwick Chronicles are both dark and creepy (but not too dark and creepy for kids) and yet at the same time wonderous and exciting. You really enjoy discovering and exploring the faerie world with the Grace children. The series is very well done. Holly Black as done an awesome job of weaving together a world that is intriguing, characters who are real and interesting, and a plot that is mature and suspenseful. Tony DeTerlizzi’s unique pen-and-ink drawings, which are scattered through out the books, lend to the eeriness and assist the young reader’s imagination.
This series is great for kids ages 8 to 11. Fantastical books such as these are quite popular among this age group right now. If your kids like books like Dragonology, A Series of Unfortunate Events, or The Edge Chronicles these books will be right up their alley. And like A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Spiderwick Chronicles come as small hardcover books, which another one of the things I really like about this series. The five books in the Spiderwick Chronicles are:
The Field Guide
The Seeing Stone
The Ironwood Tree
The Wrath of Mulgarath
In addition to the five books in the series, Black and Terlizzi have also published the book which started it all, Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You as well as a number of other Spiderwick related books. They have just recently published the first Spiderwick novel in two years, The Nixie’s Song (Beyond The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1). I’m ordering this one today from Amazon so I’ll write a review of it as soon as we finish the book.
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