Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Review: The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: October 1st, 2009
Grade rating: A-
When the Grace children moved into the old, abandoned Spiderwick Mansion, little did they realise that their lives would never be the same again. Having uncovered a fantastical world of sprites, faeries and goblins there's no turning back. The Ultimate Spiderwick Chronicles features all five of the original books plus great new bonus content! Discover the three 'lost' chapters that were included in the Nestle Cereal Partners cereal boxes, and the special 'development' section showing sketches and early drafts.
The Spiderwick Chronicles is one of those series that has been around for ages, and it's one that I've been meaning to read but never have. I'm not quite sure why I waited so long to meet all the fantastic creatures and characters featured in the story, as it's right up my street: I love little people, fantasy stories and faeries, and all these and more are in The Spiderwick Chronicles. There are also numerous brilliant illustrations that basically just rock. I love seeing a story come to life through artwork, and this is a great example of that!
This book tells the story of three siblings - Jared, Simon and Mallory - who discover a world of faerie when they stumble on their great-uncle Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide. In it is information about all the creatures of faerie, and it turns out to be a very wanted treasure among its subjects. They all want it because it holds the secrets of their species, and they'll stop at nothing to get it. Eek!
In fantasy books, my favourite characters are very rarely the humans. How can I choose a normal boy or girl over a brownie or an elf?! I can't, I don't know how. My favourites from The Spiderwick Chronicles have to be Thimbletack the brownie and Hogsqueal the Hobgoblin. Why, you ask? Well, it's simple really: they're small, they're cute, they wear funny hats, have cool names and are brave and willing to help. Characters like this make me wish they were real. I'd love to come home one day and find a teeny little brownie taking two mice for a walk on a lead, or find a grumpy Hobgoblin getting up to no good. I would never go to work again!
The Spiderwick Chronicles is written for younger readers, but really, who cares? It doesn't detract from the story in any way, though I do wish each book was longer. I could have read so much more about the world of Spiderwick: it's fun and exciting, and almost as magical as something like The Hobbit. If, like me, you haven't read this series but would like to, I would highly recommend this omnibus edition. It has extra content at the back, including concept art and lost chapters, both of which are an added bonus to an already accomplished five-volume book. I'm really glad I finally read it, and I'm going to hunt out some of the companions that were subsequently published. I've got to prepare myself for the day when I finally find a faerie in my house!