Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide Vol. 1 by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

Go away
close the book
put it down
do not look

My thoughts:
A year and a half ago we listened to these books in the car.  I was wondering what they would be like the second time around, especially since my children are older and much more fluent readers on their own.  Last time around they got very into the stories and started playing the parts in the backyard.  We even had fish named after Simon, Mallory and Jared Grace!

Today we listened to book one as we went about our day with trips here and there.  The story was mostly as I remembered it.  One thing I recall noticing last fall was that there are some differences between the print version of the book and the audio version.  Mark Hamill is reading it and I don't know if he made changes while reading it or if there are more than one version, but last year we had a copy of the book as well as the audio because I wanted my son to practice following along.  When I would check it I would sometimes find that a word or two would be changed on a page.  Not enough to change the meaning of the story, but often a synonym for what was printed.

In the first book Jared, Simon and Mallory move with their mother to a dilapidated old house that belongs to their great aunt Lucinda.  Lucinda has been taken away to a home because she refuses to eat, saying that fairies bring her food that is better than anyone has ever tasted.  The first day there the children hear sounds in the wall and dismantle what they take to be an animal nest.  After a few acts of retribution on Simon and Mallory, the children discover a brownie/boggert is living in the house and that a special book they have found is angering other fantastical, plus invisible, creatures.

This is book one of five.  The set of five were made into a movie.  The movie is similar to the books, but as always seems to be the case, a number of things have been changed to adaptation to the screen.  I like that the story is broken into five parts because is makes it a bit more manageable for younger readers who can be overwhelmed with large books.  It is good for getting their feet wet too with a story that spans more than one book.

Product Details

Pub. Date: May 2003
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Format: Hardcover , 128pp
Age Range: 6 to 10
Series: Spiderwick Chronicles Series , #1
ISBN-13: 9780689859366
ISBN: 0689859368


Holly Black is the bestselling author of the Spiderwick series. Her Modern Faerie Tales series is comprised of Tithe, which was an ALA Top Ten Book for Teens and received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews; Valiant, which was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a Locus Magazine Recommended Read, and a recipient of the Andre Norton Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; and Ironside, the sequel to Tithe, was a New York Times bestseller. White Cat, the first book in the Curse Workers series, was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults, and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and BCCB. Red Glove, the second book in the Curse Workers series, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Holly has also written a collection of short stories, The Poison Eaters and Other Stories. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. Visit Holly at

Tony DiTerlizzi is the author of The Search for WondLa. He is also the co-creator and illustrator of the bestselling Spiderwick Chronicles, the author and illustrator of Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-this-World MoonPie Adventure, as well as the Zena Sutherland Award winning Ted. His brilliantly cinematic version of Mary Howitt’s classic The Spider and The Fly earned Tony his second Zena Sutherland Award, and recieved a Caldecott Honor. Tony’s art has also graced the covers of such well-known fantasy writers as Peter S. Beagle, J. R. R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, and Greg Bear. He has also made significant contributions to Dungeons and Dragons and Wizards of the Coast’s Magic; The Gathering. His first chapter book, Kenny & the Dragon debuted as a New York Times bestseller. He lives with his wife, Angela and their daughter in Western Massachusetts and Jupiter, FL. Visit Tony on the web at

1 comment:

  1. I guess I should have read the other two reviews before the third one. I really liked this book, though my son didn't seem to like it all that much. Thanks for the reminder.