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AUTHOR: Tony DiTerlizzi
ILLUSTRATOR: Holly Black
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
PAGES: 672 pages
Three kids have moved into the Spiderwick Estate from New York City. The mother has just got divorced and doesn’t have the time for their foolishness. Later, fairies show up.
The Words in The Bound Text Square
When I first heard about Tony DiTerlizzi’s books, I was a little put off by them. Another writer decides to mine the world of children’s fantasy to tell a story that’s been told eighty times before. You’re not going to find gold by hopping on the claim that several others have dug out ages ago. But, there’s something to DiTerlizzi’s Spiderwick Chronicles that sets these books apart.
The series opens on the move to the Spiderwick Estate that leads to the Grace children discovering the Field Guide. The Field Guide unveils a world of creatures that their Grand Uncle Arthur Spiderwick discovered ages ago. The second book centers around the kids discovering the hobgoblin Hogsqueal who wants to help them. He spits in their eyes, thus giving them the ability to see the secret creatures that dwell around them.
The rest of the books center around an evil Ogre trying to use the Field Guide for evil. The Grace kids learn more about their relatives and what happened to Arthur Spiderwick. This leads into a showdown with the evil Ogre and his pending army of dragons. Kid power rules and everyone ends up playing a role in slamming evil.
The Things I Learned
Apparently, kids being placed into danger still equals a successful premise. Yet, child abuse is still frowned upon. The amazingly short page counts for each book leads me to believe that they should’ve been combined into one master tome. I love the serial aspect, but it’s a short burn for kids that are being raised on the yearly adventures of Hogwart’s star pupil. I don’t think six hundred pages will kill them.
What does irk me about the series is its nature to be insanely repetitive. If the kids have been following it from Book One, there’s no need to keep restating what happened before the current adventure. Just work off a shared knowledge of the growing Spiderwick universe and go forward. But, I guess that would be asking too much.
The Section for People That Don’t Read So Good
Kids find a magic book that shows off the monsters that normally can’t be seen. They fight together and learn how to bring their family back as a whole. There are also dragons.
The Last Word
I don’t get the admiration for these five books. But, I support whatever gets kids into reading. This release is a nice package that throws in a ton of supplemental material to bring kids further into the Spiderwick world. On top of that, it all comes in this sturdy trunk that seems like something discovered in the Spiderwick estate. I love it when publisher put out stylized collections like this.
The only thing that really detracts from this collection is the sheer blah nature of the story. We’ve been there and we’ve done that. Sure, this was entertaining enough, but it didn’t wow me. Hopefully, it’ll win over the kid in your life. I feel like my love for fantasy has slipped away over the last decade or so.
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