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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


***The Field Guide

The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1

by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Reviewed June 30, 2003.
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 2003.  107 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (J MCN F DIT)

The Field Guide is the first in a series that is already making the New York Times bestseller list.

Jared Grace, along with his twin brother Simon and his older sister Mallory, have moved with their mother into their great-aunt Lucinda’s old Victorian mansion.  The house is run-down and dilapidated, and when Jared hears a skittering in the walls, everyone else is sure it’s a squirrel.  They decide to investigate, and Jared ends up riding in an old dumbwaiter and discovering a secret library.  In the library is a field guide.  This field guide is not a guide to birds or animals.  It’s a field guide to faeries.  Simon thinks he may have an explanation for some of the strange things that have been happening and blamed on him.

This is a book for younger kids.  I think it will be perfect for my almost fourth grader.  The pictures, done by Caldecott honor-winning Tony DiTerlizzi of The Spider and the Fly, are abundant and capture the atmosphere of the old house perfectly.  The plot stays simple—They move into the old house, strange things happen, and they discover that faeries are involved.  As an adult reader, I didn’t feel like a lot happened, but then I reflected that this is a book for younger kids, who might enjoy an interesting story that isn’t difficult reading.  I admit that I am interested in finding out what happens next, so I’ll be sure to order the rest of the five-book series for the library as it is published.

Reviews of the other Spiderwick Chronicles:
The Seeing Stone
Lucinda's Secret
The Ironwood Tree
The Wrath of Mulgarath

Reviews of other books by Tony DiTerlizzi:
The Search for WondLa
A Hero for WondLa

Reviews of books illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi:
The Spider and the Fly
The Story of Diva and Flea

Reviews of more books by Holly Black:
Doll Bones
White Cat
White Cat audiobook
Red Glove
Black Heart
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Zombies vs. Unicorns
The Cruel Prince
The Wicked King
The Queen of Nothing
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories
The Stolen Heir
The Prisoner's Throne

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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