The Field Guide
A book review for parents
This first fantasy book in the "The Spiderwick Chronicles" by Holly Black is published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.
The Field Guide is written for kids ages 6 to 10. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
After Jared, Simon and Mallory Grace's parents divorce, their mother moves them to a crumbling Victorian house owned by their now-institutionalized Aunt Lucy. The children hear scratching inside the walls and discover a nest. Then Mallory urges Jared to ride in a dumbwaiter, and he finds a secret upstairs library containing strange books. The children recover a volume compiled by Arthur Spiderwick (Aunt Lucy's father) about fairies and determine they've angered one type called a boggart. They finally rebuild the boggart's nest and set him at ease — but it's clear Spiderwick's book will lead them to other adventures.
Mrs. Grace is a frustrated mother trying to rebuild her family's life after a divorce. She blames Jared for the unexplained events the boggart has caused. In her mind, there is no other plausible explanation. The children lie and tell her Jared is in bed when he's actually in the secret library.
Other Belief Systems
Fairies of various kinds inhabit the Grace home.
Mallory says the house is crappier than it used to be.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Parents can discuss honesty and obedience.
- The Grace children lie to their mother and go into certain areas of the house when she warns them not to.
- Divorce, and the difficulties some kids experience when a parent leaves, is another potential talking point.
Note: This is a popular book series.
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.