THE FIELD GUIDE: BOOK 1 - The Grace children - nine-year-old twins, Simon and Jared, and their thirteen-year-old sister, Mallory - are as different as night and day, seeing as how Simon is busy with his menagerie of pets, Mallory practices her fencing 24/7, and Jared has been labeled a troublemaker. But each of the three children all agree on one thing when they arrive at their new home, the Spiderwick Estate - it's a dilapidated, old shack. But within a short time, the three children realize that the Spiderwick Estate is more than meets the eye. For it is home to various mythical creatures who are all after one very important thing - Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. A book which Jared is guarding with his life, and will not give up without a fight.
THE SEEING STONE: BOOK 2 - When Simon Grace's cat disappears, Jared simply thinks that the cat has wandered off on an excursion, and refuses to help Simon locate the missing animal. But when Jared discovers an old seeing glass - monocle - that gives him the ability to see strange and magical creatures around him, he realizes that Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide was absolutely right, and soon sees something amazing: Simon being pulled into the forest by a group of goblins. Now it's up to Jared and his older sister, Mallory, to make their way through the creepy forest, encountering goblins, an injured griffin, a terrifying troll, and a baby-toothed hobgoblin with a very interesting way of giving humans the "sight," in an attempt to save their kidnapped brother, before it's too late.
LUCINDA'S SECRET: BOOK 3 - When the Grace children realize that Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You is leaving their family in danger, they decide to consult their Aunt Lucinda in the matter of what should be done with the book. The problem, is that Aunt Lucinda is locked away in an asylum, where she is being held under the false pretense that she is crazy, when she is quite the opposite. Luckily, the three children are able to convince their mother to bring them to Aunt Lucinda for a visit, where they hope to ask her all about Arthur Spiderwick and The Field Guide. However, when you've got an angry house brownie named Thimbletack, who has recently transmogrified into a nasty boggart who plays tricks on Jared, a task as easy as that may be quite difficult.
THE IRONWOOD TREE: BOOK 4 - Things have been quiet for the Grace children ever since they tricked a group of nefarious faeries a few weeks ago. But when you're a resident of the Spiderwick Estate, and surrounded by various forms of mythical creatures, things can never stay quiet for long. And they don't. Which is quite evident, when Jared runs into a menacing shape-shifter that has taken on his characteristics, at Mallory's fencing match. But before Simon and Jared can figure out who the shape-shifter truly is, or inform Mallory about the mysterious character, she disappears - kidnapped, apparently. In an attempt to save their sister before something terrible happens to her, Simon and Jared embark on a journey into a local quarry, where they soon end up prisoners of some very strange characters, and find Mallory wearing something very strange...a dress.
THE WRATH OF MULGARATH: BOOK 5 - The Grace children - Mallory, Jared, and Simon - are back, but this time they are trying to save their beloved Mother who has been captured by the evil Mulgarath. With the help of Uncle Arthur's Guidebook to the Faerie World, as well as elves, and Hogsqueal, a sneaky hobgoblin, the three siblings set out to defeat Mulgarath for the last time. However, the children know that they have only a short time to save their Mother, before Mulgarath harms her, so they set their minds to do just that.
I had seen the SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES series in bookstores for years before I ever decided to read them. I wish that I had read them earlier, for they have become one of my favorite book series. Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black did an amazing job of creating a fantastical series featuring mythical creatures in modern-day America, and mixing in gorgeous illustrations in, to create an enchanting series that will be loved by readers young and old. Each book may be quite short - only about 108 pages each, including illustrations - but a lot of punch is packed into that small package, and will keep you enthralled for hours upon hours. The perfect series for young/middle readers - or children too young for J.K. Rowling's HARRY POTTER and Lemony Snicket's SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS series.
Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper