Friday, April 18, 2008

Module 7 Fantasy: The Spiderwick Chronicles

The Spiderwick Chronicles: Book One The Field Guide
DiTerlizzi, Tony and Holly Black. 2003. The Spiderwick Chronicles: Book One The Field Guide. New York: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black have teamed up to bring us a delightful, action-packed adventure into the world of goblins, boggarts, faeries, pixies and brownies. The Grace children, older sister Mallory, and twins Jared and Simon must move with their recently divorced mother to a relative’s run-down, old Victorian house. The house provides the setting for the magical adventures that exist all around us if you only know where to look. “In a man’s torso you will find/My secret to all mankind/If false and true can be the same/You will soon know of my fame/Up and up and up again/Good luck dear friend.” This mysterious message begins a series of adventures for the threesome that will cause them to band together to overcome their problems and strive to help and understand creatures different from themselves. Jared finds a ‘field guide’ in Arthur Spiderwick’s secluded library that educates them in the world of these other creatures. After the siblings have destroyed a brownie’s home, Jared is blamed for a series of mischievous pranks played on the others. Exquisite, detailed illustrations exemplify the humor and imagination of the whimsical and playful adventures that the authors have created. The artistic account of Mallory, tied to her bed by her hair will make you laugh out loud. Determined to clear his name and right their wrongs, Jared prepares a new home for the brownie and harmony is somewhat restored in the odd, mysterious home. This short, picture filled novel will appeal to the most reluctant reader. The brief chapters with easy to digest plot and dialog will leave children clamoring for more. The Field Guide sets the stage for four other novels to follow which chronicle the adventures of the Grace children and their interaction with the magical world. The recently released movie tie-in has created much buzz and interest into this charming series.

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