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The Field Guide
Cover of The Field Guide
The Field Guide
The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1
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After finding a mysterious, handmade field guide in the attic of the ramshackle old mansion they've just moved into, Jared; his twin brother, Simon; and their older sister, Mallory, discover that there's a magical and maybe dangerous world existing parallel to our own--the world of faerie.

The Grace children want to share their story, but the faeries will do everything possible to stop them...

After finding a mysterious, handmade field guide in the attic of the ramshackle old mansion they've just moved into, Jared; his twin brother, Simon; and their older sister, Mallory, discover that there's a magical and maybe dangerous world existing parallel to our own--the world of faerie.

The Grace children want to share their story, but the faeries will do everything possible to stop them...

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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Chapter One: In Which the Grace Children Get Aquainted with Their New Home

    If someone had asked Jared Grace what jobs his brother and sister would have when they grew up, he would have had no trouble replying. He would have said that his brother, Simon, would be either a veterinarian or a lion tamer. He would have said that his sister, Mallory, would either be an Olympic fencer or in jail for stabbing someone with a sword. But he couldn't say what job he would grow up to have. Not that anyone asked him. Not that anyone asked his opinion on anything at all.

    The new house, for instance. Jared Grace looked up at it and squinted. Maybe it would look better blurry.

    "It's a shack," Mallory said, getting out of the station wagon.

    It wasn't really, though. 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 the roof like a particularly garish hat.

    "It's not so bad," their mother said, with a smile that looked only slightly forced. "It's Victorian."

    Simon, Jared's identical twin, didn't look upset. He was probably thinking of all the animals he could have now. Actually, considering what he'd packed into their tiny bedroom in New York, Jared figured it would take a lot of rabbits and hedgehogs and whatever else was out here to satisfy Simon.

    "Come on, Jared," Simon called. Jared realized that they had all crossed to the front steps and he was alone on the lawn, staring at the house.

    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.

    Their mother fit a jagged key into the lock, turned it, and shoved hard with her shoulder. The door opened into a dim hallway. The only window was halfway up the stairs, and its stained glass panes gave the walls an eerie, reddish glow.

    "It's just like I remember," she said, smiling.

    "Only crappier," said Mallory.

    Their mother sighed but didn't otherwise respond.

    The hallway led into a dining room. A long table with faded water spots was the only piece of furniture. The plaster ceiling was cracked in places and a chandelier hung from frayed wires.

    "Why don't you three start bringing things in from the car?" their mother said.

    "Into here?" Jared asked.

    "Yes, into here." Their mother put down her suitcase on the table, ignoring the eruption of dust. "If your great-aunt Lucinda hadn't let us stay, I don't know where we would have gone. We should be grateful."

About the Author-
  • Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), the Modern Faerie Tales series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Darkest Part of the Forest, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), and the Folk of the Air series. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of both an Andre Norton Award and a Newbery Honor. She lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. Visit her at BlackHolly.com.
Reviews-
  • DOGO Books Mrs. Hardinger - Great review, "ydelg." I loved this book too. Did you find that you had more in common with Simon, Jared, or Mallory? Which character did you like best. p.s. Next time, try to use proper capitalization and punctuation. p.p.s. To earn credit for the Summer Reading program, try reviewing some books from the summer list as well. -Your teacher :)
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 14, 2003
    This snappy story, the inaugural title in The Spiderwick Chronicles, sets the scene for the next four books planned. The authors introduce the three Grace siblings—13-year-old Mallory and nine-year-old twins Jared and Simon—and their recently divorced mother, who move into their great-aunt's dilapidated Victorian house. The paper-over-board volume opens to a Victorian-style design; a full-page, framed pen-and-ink scene appears opposite each chapter opening (with clever headings such as "In Which There Are Answers, Though Not Necessarily to the Right Questions"). After Jared hears scuttling inside the walls, Mallory pokes a broom through a kitchen wall and discovers a "nest" filled with unusual trinkets—a doll's head, tiny lead soldiers, bits of tattered fabric—plus one of her own fencing medals. Jared encounters more mystery when a dumbwaiter carries him to a doorless upstairs library. Here he spies a yellowing riddle in rhyme (reproduced on a glossy insert), which leads him to the attic and ultimately to Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You—a handbook to the faerie realm. Often in trouble, Jared gets the blame for some odd occurrences (e.g., Mallory awakens to find her hair tied in knots around her headboard, Simon's tadpoles are frozen into ice cubes, etc.). Appealing characters, well-measured suspense and an inviting package will lure readers on to The Seeing Stone (-85937-6), due the same month. Youngsters may well find themselves glancing over their shoulders as they eagerly follow the events. Ages 6-10.

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    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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