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The Field Guide (The Spiderwick Chronicles) Paperback – May 7, 2013
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Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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Superficially, the Spiderwick Chronicles smack of Lemony Snicket, with its "true story" setup and breathless warnings ("Go away/close the book/put it down/do not look"). But Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black owe no one for the intensely absorbing world they've created. Black certainly showed fey promise in her slightly freaky debut and DiTerlizzi has weird cred to spare, from his zany Jimmy Zangwow to countless credits for the Magic: The Gathering card game.
By combining their ample skill with thoughtful art direction and demanding production values, the duo has succeeded in creating a series with irresistible appeal. Each book promises a quick read, snappy plot progression, and dozens of DiTerlizzi's imaginative pen-and-ink drawings. So if you're drawn to The Field Guide at all, you might as well save yourself the trouble and make sure you have the second book (The Seeing Stone handy. (Ages 6 to 10) --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"With their evocative gothic-style pencil drawings and color illustrations, rhyming riddles, supernatural lore, and well-drawn characters, these books read like old-fashioned ripping yarns." -- "New York Times Book Review"
"Appealing characters, well-measured suspense and an inviting package will lure readers...younsgters may well find themselves glancing over their shoulders." -- "Publishers Weekly", starred review
Top Customer Reviews
For one, I do not understand the hullabaloo surrounding the similarity in packaging to the Lemony Snicket books. This book was not dark or full of satire like the Series of Unfortunate Events books. Truly, the packaging of these series is where the similarities begin and end.
These series is probably more appropriate for a younger audience as well, except for one expletive ("crap") that adults may find objectionable.
The family dynamics are believeable. The sibliings love each other and help each other out, but that doesn't stop rivalry or redicule.
The story begins as the family moves into a new house, sans the father. After some exploring with the dumbwaiter, the children find mystifying secrets. The author's secrets are tough to figure out, but is good for mind-stretching purposes.
I would especially recommend this book for children who may be too young for Harry Potter.
For a twin, poor Jared Grace seems oddly the quintessential loner - the typical setup character who sees and believes in the elements of fantasy first, but whom nobody believes. Nevertheless, it's impossible, through both the writing and the deft illustrations throughout, not to have empathy for him. I "fell in love with" Jared in the first two pages, and maintained that throughout the story, which, while short, was still lively and well paced. Jared, who characterizes himself through the narrator as aimless and not the smart one (the smart one is Simon, his twin), is the character who is determined to solve the clues he is faced with, and upon realization that their families disruption of a faerie creatures habitat is the cause of all of their weird troubles, sets the situation right all by himself.
While comparisons to Lemony Snicket are inevitable, I found more similarities to L. Frank Baum, particularly in chapter titles, such as "In Which Two Walls are Explored by Vastly Different Methods". I particuarly enjoyed the drawing of the boggart in the final scene, as it was reminiscent of Jon O'Neil's wonderful and still (in my opinion) unparalleled artistry in children's books from the Wizard of Oz series. And kids - if you haven't read all of Baum's Oz books, rush to the library or beg your parents to buy them for you here on Amazon (*grin*) for they are amazing and wonderful, and in this most delightful rennaisance of children's fantasy, should not be forgotten. More than one hundred years ago, L. Frank Baum started it all.
Three siblings arrive at their new home with a whole lot of baggage (physical and otherwise). Their mother has divorced relatively recently, and each kid has had to deal with the change in a different way. Mallory, the eldest at thirteen, has thrown herself body and soul into her fencing. Simon concentrates more fully on his pet animals and his twin brother Jared... well Jared tends to get into fights at school. He hasn't found anything to fill the lonely and angry hours spent missing his father.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As an adult parts of this were interesting, but for me, probably since I'm not the target audience it read more like a short story prequel building up to an actual story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jenn
These books are proving to be rather popular at my child's school. The boys especially seem to identify with the main characters. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A.Guthrie
Turns out my granddaughter likes mysteries. Scary mysteries. She loved this book.Published 3 months ago by mslacajun
Am amazed by the marketing of this book, and did not know anything about this movie until now.Published 5 months ago by Randall Laue