Friday, February 13, 2009

The Spiderwick Chronicles

by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
read by Mark Hamill

This is really one story following the Grace kids after they move to a ramshackle old mansion owned by their (crazy) Aunt Lucinda. In the first book, Simon, Jared, and Mallory find a field guide of magical creatures compiled by their uncle, Arther Spiderwick. In the second book the kids have their first real adventure with magical creatures, and see them for the first time. In the third book we finally meet crazy Aunt Lucinda and learn that there is more to the story of Arther's disappearance than we originally thought. In the fourth book the kids are still trying to figure out what to do with the field guide (this book has a fairly violent scene with lots of murder (not of the kids) near the end). In the fifth and final book, the kids face Mulgarath, the evil ogre who has been making their lives miserable. The entire series takes place within a couple of weeks of the first book.

First, I have to say that if I had read the first book when it was originally published, I would have felt totally ripped off. It's not a story in and of itself, it's the introduction to a story. I was shocked by how short each of these "books" were. The Harry Potter series has seven books with one overarching story (Harry v. Voldemort), but each individual book contains its own story. Not so with Spiderwick. They are literally one story broken up into five segments.

Anyway. Once I got over the initial disgust, I enjoyed the story quite a bit. The kids are interesting (though not super well developed), and I love the idea of living surrounded by magical beings without knowing it. Also, the idea of moving into a large rundown mansion is fun. Think of all the exploring (and trouble) that could happen!

Since I listened to the books, I didn't get to enjoy the pictures that probably make the books even better. But, the reader did a good job and I enjoyed the book on the whole.

3.5 out of 5 stars


Janssen said...

I liked the movie, but I don't know much about the books.

Jeane said...

Are they short because they're aimed at younger readers? It sounds like they should just all be in one volume.

Charlotte said...

My eight year old has been reading these, and they are perfect for him! I think he is rather close to being the target audience...but I have had no desire to curl up with them myself.

Charlotte said...

Oh-one other thing--you won the ARC I was giving away of the new Ranger's Apprentice book! Send me an email with your address, and I'll pass it on to the publisher who will mail it too you!


KT said...

Janssen - I've not seen the movie, but will probably check it out at some point. Is it worth it?

Jeane - yes, I think they are broken up because they are for younger readers (the CDs said 5 and up, though I think 5 might be a bit low). My real problem with it is that each book sells for like $10 or $12, so you are spending $50+ on a single story. Just seems like a rip. I guess that's what libraries are for.

Charlotte - I'm glad your son likes them. And yay! Thanks! An email is coming forthwith.

Kim said...

I listened to these recently too but I had to take them back to the library before I could finish the 4th and 5th books. I enjoyed them okay but I agree that they should be in one book. I don't think they are meant for young enough readers to make the separate volumes justified. It's a total marketing scam if you ask me.