Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Posted September 13, 2017 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly BlackArthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You by Holly Black, Tony DiTerlizzi
Illustrator: Tony DiTerlizzi
Published by Simon & Schuster on November 1st 2005
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Pages: 142
Format: Hardcover
Source: Owned
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It all began with a strange, mysterious correspondence left for authors Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black at a small New England bookstore. Written by three siblings, the letter told of their great-great-uncle Arthur Spiderwick and an unfinished tome filled with eyewitness accounts of creatures otherwise thought to be the stuff of legend. In the #1 New York Times bestselling serial the Spiderwick Chronicles, readers were enthralled by the account of the those siblings, Jared, Simon, and Mallory Grace, as they battled dwarves, goblins, elves, and a diabolical ogre in their efforts to hold on to their uncle Spiderwick,s life work. Now, through the combined efforts of the Grace children and authors Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, Simon & Schuster is thrilled to present that work to you!
Beginning with a thoughtful and informative introduction, progressing through six exhaustive sections featuring thirty-one faerie species, and culminating with an addendum that includes observations supplied by Jared Grace, this long-awaited compendium to the worldwide Spiderwick phenomenon delivers enough information to satisfy even the most demanding faerie enthusiast. Not only will readers learn the habits and habitats of the fourteen fantastical creatures featured in the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling chapter books, but they will be delighted and astonished by an additional seventeen creatures. Also included are dozens of snippets from Arthur Spiderwick,s personal journal as well as cameos from a few series favorites.

With so much to offer, this book is destined to be pored over for generations to come!

Main points

I love the Guide. It is much more detailed than the books, obviously, and includes many creatures that the books don’t mention but are found elsewhere in folklore. The illustrations are beautiful, of course, and there are many two-page spreads for larger illustrations. They are very detailed and beautifully-coloured. I like how Arthur provides many examples of a lot of the faeries, based on several observances. So while we may think of Mulgarath as the main ogre, there were illustrations of others that were even more interesting, because there was more backstory. And seeing a female troll was strange! But it was so cool and a lot of things were realistic—like you could actually see the faeries or proof of their existence if you looked closely enough. Some things were just about impossible, but others simply required a bit of open-mindedness. And I do find it hard to believe that Arthur got lucky enough to see some of the rarer creatures! Like a phoenix, which was only supposed to exist one at a time, and live for 500 years before rebirth…and a banshee, following around someone who is dying…and a sea serpent! I find that the rarest of all. (Second, I suppose, after the phoenix.) It’s hard to find something that far out to sea, even if it is enormous. And he apparently saw it in its entirety.

But really, so many of these creatures could have their own offshoot books, like the sprites have. I would be so into that idea. They’re all fascinating. And you’re probably going to ask me to pick a favourite. However I don’t really ever choose favourites in anything! Hmmm…I really like the concept of a house brownie, but I think sprites would make for better pets, although difficult to contain…I think phookas would be easy to get along with, and I think mermaids are beautiful…I think nixies would also be easy to just hang out with…but I have always liked elves. I would like to be able to live among them, I think, because they would not accept me as a human, an outsider. And they are very beautiful as well, and wise. I would like to get even more information about all of these creatures. Then I would be able to talk a lot more. But this book had to cover so much in a reasonable amount of pages! I am quite happy with what it is. It’s a lovely addition to the mythology section of my personal library.

  reaction upon finishing

Love it!

this book in one word


About Holly Black

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 Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her new series which begins with The Cruel Prince in January 2018.

She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.

About Tony DiTerlizzi

New York Times bestselling author and illustrator, Tony DiTerlizzi, has been creating books for over a decade. From his fanciful picture books like “Jimmy Zangwow’s Moon Pie Adventure”, “Ted” and “The Spider & The Fly” (a Caldecott Honor book), to chapter books like “Kenny and The Dragon” and the WondLa trilogy, Tony always imbues his stories with a rich imagination. With Holly Black, he created the middle-grade series, The Spiderwick Chronicles, which has sold millions of copies, been adapted into a feature film, and has been translated in over thirty countries. In 2014, he teamed up with Lucasfilm to retell the original Star Wars trilogy in a picture book featuring artwork by Academy award-winning concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie.

Overall: five-stars


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