I picked up the first Spiderwick Chronicles book, mainly because I was curious because there was a movie coming out. Each of the books can be read in a sitting, depending on how fast you read. The basic plotline follows the Grace twins, Jared and Simon, with Jared being the main character. The Grace family, Mom, the twins, and older sister Mallory, have moved into their Great-Aunt Lucinda's house, after the parent's divorce. The house is creepy, and from the first Jared discovers that it holds strange secrets. He finds a hidden way into his Arthur Spiderwick's study, and there finds the field guide. Thus begins his adventure into the world of faerie, which is really all around us, if you know how to see it. The twins and their sister must save the book, their family, and the good guys of faerie from the evil ogre Mulgarath, who wants to get his hands on the field guide in order to destroy all the other creatures.
I wasn't expecting much, for some reason, but I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining the books were. I enjoyed the characters, especially Mallory. She's a typical young heroine - a fighter, smart, unafraid - but she argues like crazy with her obnoxious little brothers. How true to life! I loved it. I also liked the way they didn't hide Jared's anger, and made it clear that he struggled with how to deal with it. His parents divorce is not simply glossed over. These are very enjoyable books, great for any kid ready to read this level of chapter book.
**And a side note: I saw the movie last night. Please, please remind me never to expect anything that comes out of Hollywood to have anything resembling what was actually in the book that the movie is made from. I am always disappointed. Every time I think, "Well, maybe if I hadn't read the book, I would have enjoyed that." Of course I exaggerate. The movie resembles the book. But the changes they make are so typical of Hollywood, so obviously just to sell, it sickens me. And I didn't even feel particularly invested in this particular story. Oh well, like I said, remind me next time.