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The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 – The Field Guide | Book Review

Children’s books are one of the favourite genres for us here at Thinkerviews. We are always looking for books filled with adventure, enterprise and magic that makes childhood such a fascinating phase of life. We have reviewed a fair few series designed for young readers and shared our reviews on those here at Thinkerviews platforms.

We added the Spiderwick Chronicles series to our reading list a while ago. Created by authors Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, these series has captured the readers with its tales of fairy land creatures inhabiting a derelict estate and the trio of children who go looking for them.

Book Title : The Field Guide
The Spiderwick Chronicles - 1
Author :
Published by : Simon and Schuster
# of Pages : 107 (Hardcover)
# of Chapters : 7

First published in 2003, the series has grown over time and been loved by readers old and young, inspiring a TV adaptation by the same name that’s hit the screens lately… So let’s begin exploring this world with this review for the first book where it all begins…

Book Cover:

Let us take a look at the cover page of this book.

The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 – The Field Guide | Book Cover

The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 – The Field Guide | Book Cover

We found the lovely hard back copies of the series. The coverpage of this first book in this series shows the three siblings, the twin brothers and their dark haired sister poring over the field guide that they discover in this Spiderwick estate. The fonts used on the coverpage will remind of classical wrought iron casting work and ancient tapestries. The authors’ names are shown in flying leaves….

Inside, this edition is filled with beautiful illustrations, almost on every page, making a very attractive read for young readers.

A classic cover page that would be more appealing to the fans of the series looking for a collector’s edition.


We meet the Graces – nine year old twin brothers Simon and Jared, their thirteen year old sister Mallory and their mother Helen – as they arrive at the Spiderwick estate.

It is a grand old home to Helen’s great aunt Lucinda who is letting them stay here while the family copes with the aftermath of the kids’ father leaving them. Moving here is supposed to be a new start they all need – especially Jared, who has been struggling at school.

The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 – The Field Guide | Book Cover

The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 – The Field Guide | Book Cover

As Jared enters the house, he thinks he can hear a squirrel in the wall. Looking for this creature, the kids discover what looks like a strange nest in the wall – filled with odd knickknacks and trophies. They throw the stuff away and in the process discover an ancient dumb waiter. Jared takes a trip in the dumbwaiter and discovers a secret room, filled with strange, old books. There’s a picture of an old, bespectacled man on the wall and a poem filled with clues on the desk:

In a man’s torso you will find

My secret to all mankind

If false and true can be the same

You will soon know of my fame

Up and up and up again

Good luck dear friend

But stranger things start happening that night. Mallory’s hair end up in knots tied to her bedframe, and she is covered in bruises. Thinking this might be the work of the strange creature from the secret room, Jared follows the clues from the poem and finds a chest in the attic that contains a book called Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You.

This handwritten, loving drawn book contains the knowledge about faeries. And Jared finds himself drawn into its fascinating stories. While his siblings are skeptical about it, he comes to a conclusion that the mischief maker in their new home must be a Boggart.

But Jared’s attempt at finding the Boggart backfires. His mother and both his siblings are angry at him for destroying their kitchen, bruising his brother and sister during night and attacking Simon’s pets.

What is real and what is imaginary in this new home of theirs? Will Jared be able to find the truth? Will his brother and sister join forces with him?

Arthur Spiderwick’s book is not  for your kind.

Too much about Fey for a mortal to find.

All who have kept it have come to harm.

Be it through violence or through charm.

Throw the book away, toss it in a fire.

If you do not heed, you will draw their ire.

Views and Reviews:

This first book in the Spiderwick Chronicles is an absolutely delightful beginning of adventures for children who love to read about magical places hidden in our world. The book is written in simple language with illustrations to go with the text to make it easy for younger readers.

The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 – The Field Guide | Book Cover

The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 – The Field Guide | Book Cover

The backbone of any such book is having relatable characters, and we have three loveable children in Simon, Jared and Mallory.

Mallory is the eldest, an avid fencer and as Jared says – very likely to impale someone with that sword in her hand. Simon is the twin with a soft spot for animals and carries with him a veritable menagerie of them -ranging from mice to tadpoles. While Jared is the troubled twin. He is the one who gets in fights and struggles to find his footing. But that’s what makes him understand the boggart:

Maybe the boggart was a little bit like us, because it’s stuck here too. May be it doesn’t even want to be here. Maybe being here makes it mad.

And then there is the house. As we read through the series, we will see more of the estate. But this first book introduces us to the grand old house, as the children see it for the first time:

It was more like a dozen shacks had been piled on top of one another. There were several chimneys, and the whole thing was topped off by a strip of iron fence sitting on top of the roof like a particularly garish hat.

The doors were a faded gray, worn with age. The only traces of paint were an indeterminate cream, stuck deep in crevices and around the hinges. A rusted ram’s-head door knocker hung from a single, heavy nail at its center.

The house is filled with character and the old characters come alive in it. It is as far as imaginable from their old life in a city apartment and the strangeness of it all becomes a thrill in itself. As the children realise at the end of this story is that the field guide they have discovered is really enormous.

If everything in it is true then they really have barely begun exploring the fantastical world around Spiderwick house.

We will meet more of the faeries as we learn more from the field guide, but the faerie of this book has to be the mischievous Boggart:

Boggarts delight in tormenting those they once protected and will cause milk too sour, doors to slam, dogs to go lame, and other malicious mischief.

The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 – The Field Guide | Book Cover

The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 – The Field Guide | Book Cover

These stories have also been turned into a delightful TV adaptation and are available to stream on: The Roku Channel.


An enjoyable segment in the series of adventures featuring three adorable children as they learn about the magical world around their new home…

ThinkerViews Rating:

Around 7.5 stars out of 10.

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Over To You:

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