A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Adventure planning skills. Information about the sport of fencing.
Work together to find solutions to hard problems. Situations are not always what they seem, so ask questions and listen for answers.
Positive Role Models
The three siblings model empathy, work together even when things are hard, and make amends when they see how their actions have harmed others.
Violence & Scariness
A brownie (household spirit) creeps around in the walls of the house and plays nasty pranks.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Field Guide: Spiderwick Chronicles, by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, is the first (and mildest) book in a captivating five-volume series about three siblings who discover a parallel fairy world. There are mildly scary moments for younger readers, such as when a boggart creeps around in the walls of the house and plays nasty pranks. The family dynamic is interesting: The kids learn to help each other, their mom is mostly irritable and sometimes unfair, and their father recently left them. There are wonderfully Gothic full-page, black-and-white illustrations by DiTerlizzi at the beginning of each chapter. An audiobook version of the series is narrated by Mark Hamill.
Is It Any Good?
This is a fast, fascinating story and an engaging entry into the world of more mature fantasy storytelling. Also, the way this physical book is designed, with irregularly cut pages and tons of Gothic-style illustrations throughout, is a delight. The Field Guide: The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1 is small and lightweight, with an old-fashioned feel and an inviting, detailed map. At 107 pages, the story is short enough to appeal to reluctant readers and fast-paced enough to captivate more mature readers while being without seeming babyish for either audience.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.