I was so excited when I received an email from Simon & Schuster about becoming a part of their blogger mailing list. Not because this is my first review list to be on, but because the books they were sending out were the 10th anniversary paperback editions of The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide! I fell in love with these stories when I was a teen (yes…I was a teen, not a kid when I first read them.) And rereading the first book has brought me back to the magical land of sprites that I love!
I was graciously provided a copy via Simon and Schuster. I was not compensated in any way for my review (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.
When Mallory, Jared, and Simon–the three Grace children–and their mother move into their Aunt Lucinda’s old house, they know something isn’t quite right from the beginning. One evening, the kids discover a nest of junk which they think might have been left by a mouse.
That is until Jared discovers a secret dumbwaiter which leads to a secret which leads to a discovery that might just change their lives: Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You.
Next up, the kids meet Thimbletack–a mischievous brownie who opens up a whole new world for the Grace’s.
5 Reasons Why This Book is Marvelous!
- I have sort of always had this thing for sprites and faeries. In fact, when I was a kid, I had two imaginary friends–a pink faerie and a blue faerie. Now, these weren’t Cinderella-style Fairy Godmothers or Sleeping Beauty Fairies. Nope. These were mischievous little creatures who I tried to blame all my messes on, and who kept me company when I got sent to my room. Perhaps they weren’t imaginary after all, but instead creatures from Arthur’s book! Anyway, I remember reading the Spiderwick tales when they came out (I was in high school) and I loved them. Faerie lore has always intrigued me, and my intrigue was only cemented when I traveled to Ireland. Needless to say–Diterlizzi and Black’s stories are so imaginative and creative that I find my own stories drawing inspiration from them.
- The illustrations are gorgeous! I am always a fan of illustrations in middle grade books because I find they add to the story. But DiTerlizzi’s pencil drawings are simply evocative. They add a completely different element to the novel, and as I reread it, I found myself wanting to get lost in the pictures. I even checked out the Spiderwick website because it features color illustrations. This is one of those stories/series that simply has to include illustrations. I mean, as readers we could imagine the setting and characters because the writing is so descriptive, but getting to see the images of the sprites as the writers imagined them helps create a reading atmosphere that sweeps the reader away from a moment of normal-ness.
- As far as MG books go, The Field Guide is a quick but not-so-simple read. I read it in about an hour, and I could probably read the whole series (5 books) in an afternoon as each book is only about 7 chapters long and chalk full of illustrations. But, I found myself slowing down. This is a story that doesn’t necessarily require you to think about the plot, but it is a story where you want to pick out detail. You want to figure out who each character is, and what makes them tick. You want to explore the setting through the images, and discover the secret world that might, just possibly, exist around you.
- Not only is this story part of a series, but there is a whole Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles series, an actual field guide, a how-to-care for sprites, and an observational notebook. I just love how one story spun off a whole other world for readers to imagine and explore. Sure, my own imagination runs wild all the time, but seeing all of these books on my shelves makes me believe, if only for a moment, that another world exists. And imagining a world full of sprites and mischief just sounds like a fabulous, imaginative day to me.
- I simply have to go back to faerie lore. But beyond DiTerlizzi and Black tackling such a fabulous topic in my imagination, it was the way they tackled it. The Spiderwick Chronicles are an imaginative series. They open up readers to something different. Something fun. Something that might make them want to go exploring or become someone grand. I love the description of the house, and the grounds, and the characters, and the sprites themselves. But mostly, I just love the storytelling that happens within the pages of The Spiderwick Chronicles. If you’ve somehow missed this series in the last 10 years, I challenge you to race out and pick them up. You won’t be disappointed.
Book Talk: What do you think about the new paperback Spiderwick Chronicles? I sort of miss the fun hardcovers, but I do love the new look! Have you been a fan of the series?