The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1: The Field Guide Novel Review

 

Title: The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1: The Field Guide

Authors: Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781416950172

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

After their parents’ divorce, the Grace kids – twins Jared and Simon and their older sister Mallory – move with their mom to the decaying old mansion belonging to their ancient great-aunt Lucinda, who has been sent off to an asylum. But before they can even unpack, Jared begins to notice that they’re not alone in the house. There’s something living there with them. His investigations eventually lead to an old book filled with pictures of fantastic creatures – Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You – and an even bigger mystery – the disappearance of his great-great-uncle and Lucinda’s father, Arthur Spiderwick.

This was so not what I was expecting.  I placed a hold on this book without really knowing anything about it, and when I went to pick it up, I was a little taken aback by the slender tome that was waiting for me.  When I sat down to read it, I was even more surprised, this time by how much I enjoyed it.  There isn’t much to the story, but the complete package is delightfully charming.  This would be a fun book to read to someone else.  Too bad there weren’t any kids around when I was reading this.

The book focuses on Jared, a young boy who is dealing with some issues.  His parents have divorced, and he hasn’t been handling the disruption to his family very well.  He’s not getting along with anyone, and he’s even lashing out at classmates.  He believes his life has sunk to a new low when his mother packs him and his siblings up and moves them to a dilapidated old house that belongs to his even more ancient aunt.  With the house falling down around them, he makes one more startling discovery: he is certain that something is living in the walls, and that that something isn’t very friendly.

The book is packed with expressive illustrations that are skillfully interwoven throughout the prose.  They give the story extra depth as Jared, who is blamed for every mishap that takes place in the seemingly haunted house, tries to prove that he’s not at fault.  With his new bad rep, though, his protestations of innocence are falling on deaf ears.  As the pranks become ever more ominous, Jared is drawn into the secrets hidden within his uncle’s journal.  The suspense mounts as he tries to uncover the identity of the prankster before something really bad happens – like getting grounded for life.

The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1: The Field Guide is a light and diverting romp through a creepy old house.  And yup, I have a request in at the library for Book 2.

Grade: B

This book was checked out of my local library.  Support your library!