The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide Book 1

TITLE: The Spiderwick Chronicles: Book 1 The Field Guide
AUTHORS: Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi (author/illustrator)
PUB DATE: May 2003

The first book in a beautifully produced series of five, The Field Guide sets up the story of the Grace children–13-year-old Mallory and 9-year-old twins Jared and Simon–who with their mother move into the dilapidated Spiderwick Estate only to quickly find themselves sucked into a dark and fascinating world of faeries.

Superficially, the Spiderwick Chronicles smack of Lemony Snicket, with its “true story” setup and breathless warnings (“Go away/close the book/put it down/do not look”). But Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black owe no one for the intensely absorbing world they’ve created. Black certainly showed fey promise in her slightly freaky debut and DiTerlizzi has weird cred to spare, from his zany Jimmy Zangwow to countless credits for the Magic: The Gathering card game.


I have to admit that I have never heard of Holly Black until I heard she was coming to town on November 4th to the Chapters in Pointe Claire for a three author book signing. She is coming with Scott Westerfeld and Cassandra Clare.

With that being said I went to Chapters to see if I could find her books that I could buy and get her to sign. I managed to pick up The Good Neighbors book 1 and 2 (my reviews are to come tomorrow and Saturday). I also picked up Tithe and that review will be coming up soon.

I have to admit that I really enjoyed this book and I am sure Michael will to as its almost in his age group. I ended up reading this in one sitting as it was a quick read (107 pages). I loved the illustrations that accompanied the book. Tony DiTerlizzi did the illustrations for the book. They added to the story I find.

This is book one in a five book series.

The book opens up with Jared, his twin brother Simon, older sister Mallory and mother Helen moving into his great aunt Lucinda’s dilapidated Victorian mansion. Their father has recently left the family. We also find out that for the very first time Jared got into serious trouble at school he broke another kids nose.

I loved how Jared describes the house upon seeing it for the first time:

“like a dozen shacks had been piled on top of one another”

Its not long that they are in the house when funny things start to happen. Such as strange noises coming from behind the wall. They think its a a squirrel. When they rip the wall apart the think they have found a squirrels nest. Still hearing the noise from what they think is a squirrel the kids continue to look around. The kids quickly discover that the house has a dumbwaiter. Jared climbs in that Mallory controls the cables. Jared discovers of a hidden library.

During the night both Mallory and Simon come under attack their mother quickly jumps to the conclusion that Jared is behind the pranks and believes that Jared is still angry and acting out because the father left.

Jared has to enlist the aid of his siblings if he is going to reveal their mystery attacker who may not be human… or animal and prove to everyone that he isn’t behind the attacks on his sister and brother.

Who and what could it be? Will Jared uncover the truth?

I am really looking forward to picking up the other books in this series as I am sure Michael would love them and I will to

This book was provided for review by myself. I bought this book because Holly Black is coming to town and I wanted to get it signed by her.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
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