Posted by: Nyxks | September 14, 2007

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide
by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black © 2003
Simon and Schuster
ISBN 0-689-85936-8
Hardcover
107 pages
$9.95 (U.S.) $14.95 (Canada)
Ages 6 to 9
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

With the exception of a couple of “stand alone” books I have done over the past several years, this book is aimed at the youngest set of readers I have looked at. I have always been a nig fan of reading, both for myself and for my children (and for children in general, for that matter). I guess that admission won’t be too shocking if you have seen my review output over the past several years. I am also a big believer is seeing what the general public has available to portray the “occult” or “paranormal” or even just “spooky” stories to children. I had no illusions about how such things would most likely be portrayed, but decided to check out some of the more popular children’s series to see if my impressions were correct.

For those who are unfamiliar with this series, as I was before getting this book, a little background will undoubtedly he appreciated. The series details the experiences of the Grace children (Jared, Simon, and Mallory) with the world of fairies. Jared and Simon are identical twins and Mallory is their sister. Simon loves animals, and Mallory loves swords. They all move into an old Victorian home with their mother (dad has moved out) and prepare to start their lives over. At thirteen Mallory is not afraid to throw her weight around.

Jared follows the clue he found in a hidden library and finds a book, filled with watercolor sketches, entitled “Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You”. Then world of fairies was suddenly laid open to him.

And so the adventures begin. This book lays the groundwork for a series of books which are, like a magic circle, set “between the worlds, and beyond.”

Written for the younger reader, the story is easy to understand and fast-paced. The youngsters are engaging and believable; the adults are only peripherally involved; and the story is just plain fun.

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