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on 10 September 2011
Having recently purchased '1001 children's books you must read before you grow up', I realised that there is a lot of fantastic children's literature out there that I never got round to reading when I was a child, even though I was an avid reader then, as I am now. So, having loved the lemony Snicket series of unfortunate events ( so good I read them twice, and I'm not joking!)I thought the Spiderwick Chronicles would reflect the same type of attention grabbing storylines and characters, and I wasn't disappointed! I couldn't put it down! For three days straight I read this book, and the stories are brilliant, not too short, and the fantastic creatures that Simon, Jared and their older sister Mallory encounter will enthrall both children and adults. It's excellent value for money, but it doesn't include beyond the Spiderwick chronicles. That said, however, this has been one of the most entertaining books I've read in a while, and I'm a Jo Nesbo fan! Also, the illustrations are beautiful, and this edition includes lost chapters and a whole host of bonus material. Utterly brilliant, and every bit deserving of its five stars!
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on 1 February 2011
I gave this book to my 8 year old son for his birthday, but as I had never read it I had a quick skim read and felt that my 10 year old daughter would probably enjoy it too. We read it aloud altogether and all thoroughly enjoyed it.It brings together fantasy and reality very realistically. The story is exciting and really gripping at times. My kids were begging to carry on for another chapter way after sleep time. The illustration is also wonderful and straight away had my daughter drawing elves in the style of the book illustrations. After reading the book we watched the film, which, while very good in many ways, is not in our opinions a patch on the book.
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The Spiderwick Chronicles is one of those series that has been around for ages, and it's one that I've been meaning to read but never have. I'm not quite sure why I waited so long to meet all the fantastic creatures and characters featured in the story, as it's right up my street: I love little people, fantasy stories and faeries, and all these and more are in The Spiderwick Chronicles. There are also numerous brilliant illustrations that basically just rock. I love seeing a story come to life through artwork, and this is a great example of that!

This book tells the story of three siblings - Jared, Simon and Mallory - who discover a world of faerie when they stumble on their great-uncle Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide. In it is information about all the creatures of faerie, and it turns out to be a very wanted treasure among its subjects. They all want it because it holds the secrets of their species, and they'll stop at nothing to get it. Eek!

In fantasy books, my favourite characters are very rarely the humans. How can I choose a normal boy or girl over a brownie or an elf?! I can't, I don't know how. My favourites from The Spiderwick Chronicles have to be Thimbletack the brownie and Hogsqueal the Hobgoblin. Why, you ask? Well, it's simple really: they're small, they're cute, they wear funny hats, have cool names and are brave and willing to help. Characters like this make me wish they were real. I'd love to come home one day and find a teeny little brownie taking two mice for a walk on a lead, or find a grumpy Hobgoblin getting up to no good. I would never go to work again!

The Spiderwick Chronicles is written for younger readers, but really, who cares? It doesn't detract from the story in any way, though I do wish each book was longer. I could have read so much more about the world of Spiderwick: it's fun and exciting, and almost as magical as something like The Hobbit. If, like me, you haven't read this series but would like to, I would highly recommend this omnibus edition. It has extra content at the back, including concept art and lost chapters, both of which are an added bonus to an already accomplished five-volume book. I'm really glad I finally read it, and I'm going to hunt out some of the companions that were subsequently published. I've got to prepare myself for the day when I finally find a faerie in my house!

4.5/5
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According to Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, the text of this story was left for them by three mystery kids.

With that stab at blurring the boundaries between fantasy and reality, these two authors slip easily into a haunted house tale that rapidly blossoms into a story of hidden fae and strange creatures. "The Spiderwick Chronicles (Boxed Set)" brings together five extremely brief little books that form one overarcing story, which becomes more tense and eerie as it winds to the inevitable battle with the Big Bad.

After their parents' divorce, the Grace kids -- teenage Mallory and nine-year-old twins Jared and Simon -- move with their mother to a crumbling old Victorian house, owned by a weird old aunt. Jared is having a rough time with all of this, but he's distracted from his personal woes by a "squirrel" scuttling around inside the walls. And their investigations reveal a strange little stash of items that were obviously not taken by a squirrel.

An exploratory trip in a dumbwaiter takes Jared to a hidden library full of strange books on mythic creatures -- and soon strange things start happening to the family. Jared's further investigations uncover a strange little book called "Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide To The Fantastical World Around You," a little guide to faery creatures. Jared begins to believe that the unbelievable might be true -- that there are faeries causing trouble in his new home.

But it becomes painfully obvious what is up when various creatures try to get ahold of the book -- Simon is kidnapped by omnivorous goblins, a search for Arthur Spiderwick leads the kids into a elven trap deep in the woods, and Mallory is sealed in a glass box by malevolent dwarves deep inside an old quarry. But the one who really wants the Guide is Mulgarath, a terrible creature who (surprise!) wants to conquer the world -- and he'll take their mother to accomplish it.

For the record, this is a short series full of short books. Each book is only about a hundred pages of heavily-illustrated text, and we're not talking large pages. They're more like the chapters of a longer novel, meaning that older children and adults will find them ultra-quick and simple.

But Holly Black's writing style definitely makes it worth reading (such as the descriptions of stalactites "hanging above them like a forest of icicles"). Though the storyline is pretty simple, she weaves a web of subtle, eerie strangeness around the seemingly ordinary circumstances (such as elderly, seemingly batty Aunt Lucinda), to the point where you can almost believe that missing cats were eaten by hobgoblins.

And despite the Victorian house, the sprites and faery creatures here are anything but Victorian -- sometimes ugly, bizarre or malicious, and with their own strange ways (the beautiful, ruthless elves) and preoccupation (the dwarves' obsession with making forests of "ironwood" trees). And there are plenty of weird side-creatures: lake trolls, fey doppelgangers, metal dogs, haughty nature-robed elves, a "knocker" who escorts the kids underground, and so on.

And Tony DiTerlizzi's artwork is simply perfect for the story that he and Black are telling. He crafts lots of intricate pen-and-ink drawings, shadowy depictions of the decayed Victorian mansion, and illustrations of the weirder aspects of the Spiderwick estate (like the dusty library, or Mallory suspended in a glass box in medieval clothes). There are even pages and scribbled-on pages from Arthur Spiderwick, expulsion notices, and more.

The main characters are also quite believable: Mallory is a loving but slightly brittle teenager, and the mom is clearly struggling to stay afloat after her divorce. Simon is a tidy animal enthusiast, while the more prominent Jared is a kid who is starting to sink into trouble after his parents' divorce, only to find new and unexpected strength when he discovers the world of the Guide. The biggest problem is that the kids bicker a lot, which becomes a bit tedious after awhile -- even if it is likely.

"The Spiderwick Chronicles" is a solid brief story spread over five small books, building up a sense of suspense, eerie fantasy and otherworldly creatures. Beautifully written if a wee bit simple for older readers.
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on 2 September 2013
It's a amazing book, all 5 of the first series in one book! saves getting any lost etc and saves space!
I gave it 5 stars coz it's really an amazing book
I have only currently read the first one and halfway through the second!
but I can't put it down!
I highly recommend not for very young readers though as some parts are quite gruesome It's more aimed at 10 years and up but I'm an 24 and It isn't too childish for me!
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This is a lovely hardback edition, containing the five original Spiderwick Chronicles novels: The Field Guide, The Seeing Stone, Lucinda's Secret, The Ironwood Tree and The Wrath of Mulgarath. Both my children (aged eight and six) like this series of books about three children, Mallory, Jared and Simon Grace, who go to live in their aged Aunt Lucinda's house, after their parents divorce. The author uses the house, and the woods outside, to great effect. When Jared finds a book, "Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You", full of fantastical creatures, he unearths a world he could not possibly have imagined and the children find themselves discovering boggarts, goblins, sinister trolls and other mythical creatures.

As well as the five books in the series, this volume also has some extras, including lost chapters and a Spiderwick Gallery. It is a lovely volume, which would make any child a lovely present and is also great value for money.
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on 5 April 2012
If you like stories about fairies, dwarves and dragons, this might not be for you. If you are sensitive and prone to nightmares, this might not be for you. If, however, you thirst for adventure stories that skip along, pulling you into them; if you like dark tales of goblins and power-hungry ogres; if you aren't too young, this will definitely appeal.

I bought this for my 8 year old. I read it first primarily because I adore children't fiction but also because my child has a graphic imagination and tends to rerun terrifying images and 3 o'clock in the morning. Needless to say I will be hiding this book ... hiding it in a secret drawer where he can discover it and thrill to it as I have but not just yet.

Spiderwick Chronicles: The Completely Fantastical Edition
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on 24 January 2011
My 7-year-old daughter saw the movie at a friend's house, so I suggested we read the book. You can buy these books individually at huge expense, so this volume is perfect - all the chronicles in one place, for a reasonable price.
Anyway, the story is perfect for reading aloud. It is exciting without being too scary, the characters are compelling, and the drawings help with imagining all the mythical creatures in the world of faerie. We both really enjoyed the book, and still refer to it regularly. I definitely recommend it as a bedtime story for older children who might already be reading on their own - studies show you should keep reading to them anyway, and this is a terrific place to start as there is so much to talk about. Boys and girls would be equally interested.
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on 24 August 2014
I think these books are modern fairytales that deserve to be seen as classics in the near future.

I am now 23, but I discovered the joys of these books when I was about thirteen. Even if I have always found these books quite childishly written, I nevertheless have always been enthralled by the stunning artwork of Tony DiTerlizzi and the imagination of Holly Black, who as far as I am concerned has written little else worthy of consideration.

Now, ten years later (I still cannot believe this!), I still own my original hardbacks, which I prefer still due to the fact they have all the colour plates that have been excluded from this otherwise gorgeous bound volume. I think it is worth mentioning that if you are new to the joys of Spiderwick, the original five volumes are best place to start. They are a joy to hold, read and to be honest, use as ornaments on your bookshelf! They are beautifully bound! But for the more dedicated fan, this volume is essential, for the dact that finally the reader can sit and read this entire story in just one book, and also benefit from all the special features, which include outside artist impressions of the series events and a lost chapters, amongst other things!

I think it is safe to say that I love these books very much. Having grown up on the classics, including the old (Alice's Adventures In Wonderland), and the modern (Harry Potter), Spiderwick stands tall amongst all of them, and the series positively cries out for a better film adaptation!

10/10 
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on 30 July 2013
Having used this as a theme in my teaching job, it was very useful in bringing out the artistic and fantastical side of children's learning. The imagination of the writer amazed me and the children were really drawn into the writers world. Definitely worth putting in the family library.
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