I will confess that I enjoy reading young adult fiction and even chapter books.Â There is something about the creativity when combined with the illustrations that I find enjoyable and entertaining. They are super quick reads and a great way to sort of cleanse your mental pallet.
One such series I have enjoyed is The Spiderwick Chronicles. The five books in that series were a hit and they even made a movie based on the story.Â Rather than keep that series going, however, author illustrator combo Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi decided to go in a different direction.
The Spiderwick Chronicles leave the old-fashioned charm of New England far behind and head south for some fiendish faerie fun in the hot Florida sun. Eleven-year-old Nicholas Vargas only thinks his life has been turned upside down after his developer father remarries and moves his new wife and daughter into the soon-to-be completed Mangrove Hollow. But an â€œexpeditionâ€ to a nearby lake turns up a little nixie with a giant problem – the huge, lumbering, fire-breathing variety – and itâ€™s up to Nick; his stepsister, Laurie; and his big brother, Julian (plus a familiar face from the original Spiderwick Chronicles) to figure out the best way to stop a host of rampaging giants before all of Florida goes up in smoke.
In the second book in a planed three part series, A Giant Problem, Nick and Laurie are still trying to save Mangrove Hollow from the giants with the help of Noseeum Jack.Â As you might imagine this is no small feat.
And all looks lost when the development Nick’s dad is building is nearly destroyed in a rampage.Â But after risking getting grounded for life, not to mention being smashed by giants, the gang comes up with a plan to prevent any more destruction at the hands of the dangerous creatures.
But the story ends with a twist: what if the giants were destined to defeat an even greater threat?
Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles is a creative and entertaining series.Â Obviously, the type of chapter books are not high literature.Â But they are interesting stories for children (target age 9-12) with a nice mix of adventure, humor, and social interaction (issues like divorce, step parents, sibling rivalry are dealt with throughout both series).
Voracious young readers – and those who follow the genre – are probably already aware of the series, but for those who haven’t I recommend them.