Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Field Guide...random thoughts

Well, I had thought that I would whip out one last review today (of Life Artist) and then finally be caught up. That's because I didn't anticipate the way Gray would get sucked into The Field Guide (the first of The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black). Usually 20 to 30 minutes is the limit for the boys' attention spans when it comes to being read to. (Though Gray will, on occasion, read to himself for longer stretches, he's just not of the book-devouring breed that his older sister is.) Anyway, it speaks volumes about this little book's appeal that he had me reading it straight through to the end. And he wanted me to start the next one, but my voice was's not used to talking non-stop for more than an hour like that.

After their father leaves them, Jared Grace, along with his mom, his twin brother Simon, and his older sister Mallory, move from the city to an old, dilapidated house belonging to the children's great-aunt Lucinda. (Aunt Lucinda is currently residing in "the nuthouse".) No one is happy about this move. But Mallory has her fencing obsession. And Simon has his myriad of pets. And Jared has his propensity for trouble-making...or so his mother seems to believe. It was in part an incident at his old school that prompted his mother to move the family.

And when trouble immediately finds the Grace family in their new abode, Mrs. Grace is quick to blame Jared again. But is he really the cause of the malicious mischief that is occurring? Or does the book, Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, which Jared finds in the attic, hold the real answers?

This book does tell a fun little tale. From dumb waiters to cockroach art to tadpoles frozen in ice cubes. Oh, and the artwork by Tony, completely charming. The book honestly wouldn't be the same without it. Gray is looking forward to continuing the journey, and I'm so glad I'm along for the ride.


Nymeth said...

I keep hearing great things about the Spiderwick chronicles...they sound like such fun! I really have to read them.

Kim L said...

Isn't that great that your boys were so interested in that book. Sounds like a good one! I'm impressed that you read for a whole hour! That's pretty impressive.

gail@more than a song said...

I think maybe my little 7 yr old nephew and his dad have been reading these! I think they liked them.

kreed said...

Bryn and I listened to these in the car - loved them!

Carl V. said...

DiTerlizzi's art certainly does make the book, though I do like the story as well. I wish Holly Black would write more of this kind of fair rather than her 'teen' novels.

Debi said...

I couldn't agree more! It seems to me after reading this one and Tithe, that she certainly has enough talent in her. I think even if she wants to write to an older audience, that she could do it in a way that's more subtle and magical than the in-your-face style of Tithe.

Framed said...

The artwork on the cover is wonderful. This sounds like a series I would really enjoy.

Dawn said...

I've seen all the hype on TV about this movie but I had no idea what it was about. You wrote a great review! It sounds like a fun book (series).

take care,

Anonymous said...

this little book sounds gorgeous! very cute!

oh, i can't wait till i have kids to read to :D

i definitely have to have a look into these spiderwick books...!