Wednesday, June 18, 2014

by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
June 2014

I read the five volume series of The Spiderwick Chronicles:  1. The Field Guide; 2. The Seeing Stone; 3. Lucinda's Secret; 4. The Ironwood Tree; 5. The Wrath of Mulgarath.

These are all very short and end with a cliff hanger. They could have been made into one book, but it was much more fun reading them one by one.

Twins Jared and Simon Grace and their sister Mallory and mother Helen move to the Spiderwick Estate to make a new start for themselves after their father left them.  The estate is old and in terrible shape, but it's in the family and the only place to live until other arrangement can be made.  It belongs to Great Aunt Lucinda who is now in a mental hospital.

It doesn't take long for the Grace children to realize that something strange is going on at Spiderwick. Strange noises are heard and eventually Jared finds the secret library of Arthur Spiderwick, long since disappeared.  He also finds The Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You.  Although he's warned not to mess with the book he does. He reads it completely, fascinated by the world it describes. But then that world is revealed to him when his brother Simon is carried off by goblins.

Various factions of the faerie realm want the Field Guide. The elves want to destroy the book so that so one holds power over them. The dwarves want the book so that they can have control and build a world of metal trees and animals.  The ogre Mulgarath just wants to control the world.

I'd recommend this book for no younger than fourth grade. There are some tense scenes and the faerie realm is sometimes not pretty. Goblins catch and roast cats.  There's one scene of a cow chained to the ground while baby dragons suckle it.

But these are magical stories and would appeal to anyone that likes such things.  I enjoyed the series.
It's continued in Beyond The Spiderwick Chronicles.

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