I finally found the first book in the Spiderwick Chronicles, which starts out with the Spiderwick Chronicles: the Field Guide (Young Adult 107 pages) by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.
Since I already read the first book in the second series, I kind of had a little bit of an idea what to expect from the first book in the entire series.
The summary on the back of the book is covered up by a leaf that says, “Go away, close the book, put it down, do not look” so I can’t give you an accurate summary from there.
This book was obviously intended for a very young audience, as the story-telling is very quick and lyrical with short, descriptive paragraphs. There’s a lot of rhythm to the story, and even several sections with actual rhymes about the story or the characters or potentially things to come in future books in the series. There’s also a selection of character portraits and drawings from the story itself, which gives the book something of a class feel, for those who believe that fantasy simply must start with a map in the front and continue with drawings throughout the story. I liked the drawings and felt that they added a good visual depiction of the characters and events.
I really liked Mallory’s character in this story. She’s very much a “take action” kind of person and it helps a lot that she enjoys fencing. I liked Simon’s love for all the animals and how important it is to him that even animals that are frequently overlooked are treated with care. I liked Jared’s courage and how he wanted to do the right thing and treat the potential other occupant of the house with due consideration. I liked how Jared used his own experiences to make a connection with the boggart and how he related to what the boggart might be going through.
Overall, I liked the characters and the world-building is interesting. These are really quick reads and I like reading them when I have an hour to spare, since that’s how long it usually takes me to get through them. I think this book is a low three on my scale, since they’re tons of fun for a quick read, but designed for a much younger audience.
Works cited: DiTerlizzi, Tony and Black, Holly. The Spiderwick Chronicles: the Field Guide. New York: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2003.