This is what my boys and I have been reading lately–The Spiderwick Chronicles. The original series of five compact books by Holly Black and Tony DeTerelizzi (later made into a film) is about three children who move into an old house, find an old field guide documenting the secret life of fairies, and soon realize not everyone or everything is pleased about their discovery.
My boys are almost seven, and we read the first two Harry Potter books and loved them. However, the Harry Potter books are big and long, and the stories get progressively darker, so depending on the age of your children and how easily they scare, you may want to delay introducing them to these addictive books. They are hard to stop once you start reading them, as many of us can attest.
The Spiderwick Chronicles is a simpler read for young children–filled with magic, fantasy, intrigue and still plenty of dark sinister happenings–but the size of the books, both in terms of page length and physical dimensions, make them compact and an easy-to-follow read for kids age six and up. And my kids and I love the simple, black ink illustrations that Tony DeTerlizzi uses in this series (actually we love all of DeTerlizzi’s books and his artwork for that matter).
The Spiderwick Chronicles is more than just the original five storybooks: it now comprises a whole collection of companion books. So if your children like the Spiderwick tale, they will have plenty of opportunities to read and learn more about this magical world of fairies. Read the Field Guide that is at the center of story and learn more about fairies and their habits, both good and bad, in the beautifully illustrated, full-color book about the Caring and Feeding of Sprites (meaning fairies and elf-like creatures). We reserved all the books from the library, which is always a great way to sample books and decide which ones are special enough to purchase for your collection. One of my sons’ favorite books in the collection is The Notebook–designed to look like an actual notebook in which you record your own fairy findings, with lots of space to draw, charts, and questions to answer. You could check it out from the library, but this one is more fun to own so your child can record and illustrate their own findings.
We have resisted seeing the film version of Spiderwick because the boys are so fascinated with the series and its characters. I therefore cannot comment on whether the movie is good or not; for now we are happy to stay wrapped up in the book series.
Details of the The Spiderwick Chronicles collection by Holly Black and Tony Deterlizzi:
– Book 1: The Field Guide (The Spiderwick Chronicles)
– Book 2: The Seeing Stone (The Spiderwick Chronicles)
– Book 3: Lucinda’s Secret (Spiderwick Chronicles)
– Book 4: The Ironwood Tree (The Spiderwick Chronicles)
– Book 5: The Wrath of Mulgarath (The Spiderwick Chronicles)
– Notebook for Fantastical Observations (Spiderwick Chronicles)
– Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You
– Care and Feeding of Sprites (Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles)
– The Chronicles of Spiderwick: A Grand Tour of the Enchanted World, Navigated by Thimbletack
Visit the Spiderwick website to learn more about the books and creatures and to access fun downloads and short videos.