by Holly Black with Tony DiTerlizzi
Book 1 in the Spiderwick Chronicles series (2003)
Publisher: Simon Schuster
It all starts when Jared Grace finds their great uncle’s book, ‘Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastic World Around You’ and the Grace kids realize that they are not alone in their new house. Now the kids want to tell their story but the faeries will do everything they can to stop them.An old, dilapidated home of an unloved aunt – this is the new home of twins Jared and Simon, their sister Mallory, and their mother. Jared is not keen on living there at all. But Jared’s parents are divorced, and they can not live anywhere else. But the house of Aunt Lucinda has many secrets, as the children quickly realize: there are strange noises in the walls, a nest with a cockroach garland – and a lift that leads into a hidden room.
In this room, Jared finds clues to another world of elves, goblins and gnomes. And soon the children get to feel the presence of these beings up close: Mallory’s hair is tied to her bed, and Jared meets a bodily boggart. He also finds “Arthur Spiderwick’s Handbook for the Fantastic World around You”, and that’s where the adventure really gets started.
In this first part of the story about Jared, his siblings and the fantastic world of elves and goblins, the foundations are laid for the adventures that the three children will experience in the following editions. In many ways, this is a classic fantasy story told, but some of it is unusual: the children do not live in a fairytale fairy tale world, but suffer from the divorce of their parents and have their mistakes and quirks. And the world of elves and goblins – as hinted at in the first volume – is not only fantastic and wonderful, but also very dark and frightening. Overall: Good furniture for little fantasy friends with strong nerves!