As a kid I loved the idea of Fairies, Elves, and Goblins- anything traditionally considered folklore really. I wanted a brownie to live in my home so badly, I was willing to bake it tiny treats as a thank you in my easy bake oven. And one of the series I credit to giving me this love for folklore and magic is The Spiderwick Chronicles. Not only did it give me this love for mysterious things and myths, but it actually inspired my love for drawing. Their field guide illustrations seriously inspired me to pick up a pencil and draw as I read about this fantastical world. The Spiderwick Chronicles is one of my top series of all time, and I will recommend it to anyone who will listen .
The books are targeted towards a middle school reader, but they are so good you can grab them and read one at any age. They’re also a brilliant tool to use to convince a middle schooler to read more books and spend less time on less social media (still trying to balance this one myself ).
The World of The Spiderwick Chronicles
One of the things that I thought The Spiderwick Chronicles did well was that it took all the folklore my parents had taught me about Brownies and Fairies and mixed it with modern fantasy to give the stories more life. They showcased drawings, and characters, and a playfulness that really set my imagination running wild. And of course I was then on the look out for a stone with a perfect circle in the middle, so that I too could use it to see the other world.
I already was head over heels for the more classic stories my grand mother would tell me when I visited, or the little things that my mom would say the gremlins were responsible for, and I was so excited to find a modern retelling of some tales that many don’t talk about in today’s world. I felt that the authors really knew their folklore and history to be able to re-imagine these stories in a way that was true to the originals and yet simple enough to captivate the minds of younger readers.
The writers used tons of classic myths and folktales to create the world of The Spiderwick Chronicles and all of its creatures – many more than you’d notice with jus tone read through. This series is made to be reread!
Another plus is that each of these books are a short read. Each book is close to 100 pages and is a complete story, checking all of the boxes you need to make the story feel rounded and complete.
The Spiderwick Chronicles starts off when the Grace children move into their new home. New meaning used generously because they’ve moved into an old Victorian home that used to be their great aunt’s place. Here they find a note that tells of a book about how to see and protect yourself from fairies. But of course that’s just make believe… right? The more the family settles into their new home and lifestyle, the more they want to see if this book exists. What they end up discovering is simply that ignorance is bliss because once they unearth that book, they get a whole lot more than they bargained for.
The Grace children are composed of the older sister Mallory and her twin brothers Simon and Jared. Mallory loves fencing, Simon loves animals, and well Jared is just angry that his parents got divorced and they had to move into the new house. As they all start to get used to this new normal, the children start noticing things are not what they seem. They can’t seem to prevent odd things from happening…
The first book in the series is just an intro into the families’ lives, their discovery of magical creatures in and around the home, and how they deal with them. The rest of the series is jam packed with adventures, magic and mishaps. You discover the alluring side to the new world, as well as the dangerous side. You watch the kids discover why their great aunt had this book in her possession, and the secret that the Grace family harbors, hovering over each page of this field guide to the mysterious.
If you’re in the market for a middle grade series that will captivate readers of all ages, The Spiderwick Chronicles is the perfect kind of fantasy. Borrowing from folklore of old, with gorgeous artwork to boot, it’s a series that will stand the test of time for escapism and entertainment value.