“The Spiderwick Chronicles” – Illustrates the New Trend in Children’s Fantasy Literature

Book Review : The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Spoiler Alert!

The Grace children, Mallory, Jared and Simon have moved into an old Victorian home owned by their Aunt Lucinda following the divorce of their parents. Immediately the children notice odd noises and soon find an entrance into a secret library through the dumb waiter in the kitchen. This is only the beginning of the secrets and mysteries they find. Jared discovers a field guide to the world of faeries. Though it seems completely unbelievable soon the children are forced to believe when Simon is kidnapped.

Adult Point of View

I initially picked up The Spiderwick Chronicles because of the beautiful illustrations, the deckle edge of the paper and a sense of quality that is not typically seen in many modern books. I was quite entranced with the faerie world created by DiTerlizzi and Black even though it has a rather dark edge. Even though this has been out for awhile, I decided to review it because I did not realize at the time that the darker tone exhibited in this series would become so common. I have mixed feelings about this trend because though it makes for a dramatic setting it may be too macabre for some in a young audience. If a child is scared of the dark or believes in monsters I would not read this series with them. This series, as well as many others, also features a family where the father has abandoned his children and I believe these kinds of details could be cathartic for some children and disturbing for others in similar situations. As a parent we certainly have to use our discretion.

I am currently reading the story aloud to my eight year old (though I edit out some of the rude things Mallory says, such as, “shut up”) and he absolutely loves to hear the story unfold. I also glossed over when the cat was eaten because I knew it might bother him.

The Spiderwick Chronicles has a straightforward plot line, is creative and has interesting characters. It is a great read for children, 8 years old and up.                                                (The book recommends 7 and up)

3.5 out of 5 stars

– the Mother

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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