Month: April 2016

The Field Guide – Spiderwick Chronicles

DIT - Spiderwick ChroniclesThe Spiderwick Chronicles have been on shelves since 2003, and here I am picking up the first book thirteen years later! I’ve always been curious about this series, but never had the opportunity to check them out until now.

The story starts off with the Grace family moving into the Spiderwick manor. We have Mom, Mallory, Jared, and Simon. Jared was nearly kicked out from their previous school for causing fights, but avoided expulsion due to the fact his family was moving anyways. Weird things happen in the Spiderwick manor, and due to his unruly behavior Jared is blamed for them. After stumbling upon an old, musty book titled Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You Jared believes the missing items and pranks are the cause of fairies, and is determined to make them stop.

My biggest problem with this book was that it was too short! The authors left off on a cliffhanger so children would quickly pick up the next book, but I’m still not sure why the authors chose to make this a five book series when two books of this length could have easy been put together.

Flora and Ulysses Review

Continuing with the Ds brings us to Dicamillo, and I have selected Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures!DIC Flora and Ulysses

The concept of this novel is hilarious; self-proclaimed cynic Flora Buckman rescues a squirrel from an out-of-control vacuum cleaner. The squirrel, named Ulysses, gains self-awareness, super-strength, the ability to fly and… can write poetry? Together these two find beauty in the world around them and friends in this cast of unique characters.

Dicamillo is not afraid to bring large vocabulary words into her writing, and this could be either a good or bad thing depending on the level of your reader. Children (and adults like me) will be drawn to the pages filled with comic strips depicting Ulysses’s adventures.

Matilda Review

Ah, Matilda. One of several children’s classics written by Roald Dahl. Overall, I thought this book was far from perfect, especially when I’m reading it for the first time in 2016. But this book has lots of charm, even though some of the wording would be considered outdated and have to be explained for students, I think this book would make a great read-aloud for elementary students.DAH Matilda

I was drawn by this book specifically because Matilda is a young reader. She has a passion for learning at her age (since she was 2!)that is rare. Her parents abhor education, and shudder at the thought of reading for fun! Regardless, Matilda deals with her home situation by playing pranks on her awful parents. When she enters Kindergarten she befriends her teacher, Miss Honey, and learns to be wary of the school’s principal, Mrs. Trunchbull. Matilda wants to deal with Mrs. Trunchbull the same way she deals with her parents; by pranking them, and discovers that she has telekinetic abilities.

Unfortunately, this is where the book lost it’s ability to be believable. Telekinetic powers are interesting and all, but I felt as though Matilda would have been more than capable of getting Mrs. Trunchbull to quit and leave without having those powers.