The Spiderwick Chronicles
Book 1: The Field Guide
Book 2: The Seeing Stone
By Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, published 2003
“See, brownies are these helpful guys. But then if you make them mad, they go crazy. They start doing all these bad things, and you can’t stop them. Then they become boggarts.”
It’s a little tricky to just read Book 1 and 2 of what is clearly a collection of five children’s books. Tricky because while I like the first two, I can’t vouch for the others. Book 1 is a good teaser, giving the beginning of adventure, leaving plenty of room for more. Book 2 continues the series, adding an interaction with some nasty goblins.
The adventure clearly has to do with children interacting with little people– unseen faeries and others. Not every writer gives faeries the kind of slant I agree with, so I do have some hesitations about the series. The author seems to lean towards mean little people; however, there’s also always a good one or two. Truth be told, I want all my fairies to be delightful beings with smiles, wings, and kind hearts. Alas, it’s harder and harder and harder to find in a contemporary children’s book.
The books are easy to read, sort of like a fantasy book for younger children. Older readers need more complex stories. The books are not exceptionally scary, although I don’t love the fact that the boggart does mean things to the children. However, it’s not over the top so I think kids can handle it.
If you want to avoid any scare factor at all, then this isn’t the right children’s book series for your child. Otherwise, it’s a well-written fantasy series to explore, with 8-year-olds and up. Not younger, please. The younger ones need much kinder spirit beings.