The Spiderwick Chronicles Blog


On November 12, 2021, Disney+ released an overwhelming amount of information about their future projects and upcoming films. Hidden in all of the superhero updates and the remakes of old animated films, Disney revealed that they will be releasing a new live-action fantasy series based on Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi’s best-selling children’s book series, The Spiderwick Chronicles. With the exception of a tweet containing beautifully whimsical concept art, there is not much information out about the show yet. However, in preparation for the show, I am going to go through everything we know so far and summarize the books, so that when it is released, we are all prepared. 

On November 12, when Disney announced the show, Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi both posted their own tiny tidbits of info within their celebration posts. Holly Black expressed her excitement that Disney+ would be making the show with “fantastical folklore and fantasy enthusiast Aron [Eli] Coleite as the showrunner.” In addition to Black’s post, DiTerlizzi wrote on his Instagram photo that The Spiderwick Chronicles adaptation would be “a modern coming-of-age story combined with fantasy adventure from Paramount Television Studios and 20th Television, one of the Disney Television Studios.” Though there is no casting information or a set script yet, both the authors’ involvement in the adaptation bodes well for the show being loyal to the source material. 

For those not familiar with The Spiderwick Chronicles, but are fans of Holly Black or Tony DiTerlizzi, or really loved the shows Locke & Key and The Mysterious Benedict Society, don’t fret! You still have plenty of time to read the series before the show is released. The Spiderwick Chronicles is made up of five books, each of which is around 100 pages. So, all in all, you have about 500 pages to read and plenty of time to do it. If you have not read the series, just reading my quick summaries will not do the series justice. Please read the books as Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi are amazing authors who poured so much heart and family into these stories. For those of us who have already read the series, but it’s been a while, I have summarized the first three books. Make sure to bookmark this blog, so you’re ready to go when The Spiderwick Chronicles comes out on the big (or small) screen for us to enjoy. 


If you have not read the series, do not read past this. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

The Field Guide
“Arthur Spiderwick’s book is not for your kind. Too much about Fey for mortals to find. All who have kept it have come to harm. Be it through violence or through charm. Throw the book away, toss it in a fire. If you do not heed, you will draw their ire.”

The first book in this series, The Field Guide, was published in May 2003. It introduces its readers to the Grace family: nine-year-old identical twins Jared and Simon, thirteen-year-old Mallory, and their mother Helen. The small family has left New York to move to their broken-down family home, the Spiderwick Estate, in Maine. The first night in their new home, the three siblings are disturbed by a strange noise in the walls. As they attempt to find the source of the noise, they discover a dumbwaiter that leads upstairs to a hidden library. Later, they find that the library can also be accessed through a secret door in the second-floor hall closet. As the siblings continue searching the house for the noise, they break open the wall (yes, you read that right) and find a small, creepy nest inside. After they throw away the items found in the nest, things begin to get freaky in the house. First Mallory’s hair is tied to her bed, then Simon’s mice are stolen, his tadpoles are frozen, and the kitchen is trashed. Jared is blamed for these events and goes searching the house for something to prove his innocence. While looking for clues, he finds a tiny riddle that leads him to a trunk in the deteriorating attic. Inside the attic, inside the trunk, inside a secret compartment, Jared discovers Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. Flipping through the book, Jared finds that it is a book describing and illustrating the fae and magical creatures in the woods surrounding the Spiderwick estate. As he reads, Jared learns that the disasters in his house are being caused by an angry Brownie named Thimbletack who, Jared presumes, has turned into a Boggart due to his anger at the Grace children who destroyed his nest in the wall. To please the disgruntled Brownie, Jared and his siblings create a new nest for him made from an old, yet regal, birdhouse. The novel ends with Thimbletack revealing himself to the Grace children, returning Simon’s mice, and telling them that Arthur Spiderwick’s book is dangerous and not meant for humans. 

The Seeing Stone
we said no / still you looked / now instead / someone gets cooked”

The Spiderwick Chronicles’ second book, The Seeing Stone, was published alongside the first book in May 2003. The book opens with the Grace siblings who have, shockingly, ignored Thibletack’s rhythmic warning, and kept the Field Guide. When Simon is stolen by a group of goblins who live in the woods near the Spiderwick Estate, Mallory and Jared must turn to Thimbletack for help. The Brownie takes the children to the old carriage house, where they discover a stone with a hole in the middle. When one looks through the stone, they are able to see faeries. The stone is known as the seeing stone and the ability it grants its wearer is called the Sight. Equipped with the seeing stone, Jared and Mallory go into the woods looking for Simon.

 They barely make it to the goblin camp; on their way they fight a troll, losing their fencing weapons in the process, and they meet an injured griffin. When they finally arrive at the goblin camp, they discover that the goblins have many prisoners they have captured and stuffed into hanging cages made from trees. They also learn that the goblins want the Field Guide, which will come into play later.  As Jared and Mallory attempt to save Simon, they meet an imprisoned hobgoblin named Hogsqueal. Hogsquel makes a deal with the siblings and offers to help them rescue Simon if they will free him. The hobgoblin gives the children the Sight without the seeing stone. How? He spits into their eyes. It’s very gross. The three misfits team up and manage to free Simon and flee while leading the goblins to the troll Mallory and Jared encountered earlier. When they arrive home, Simon asks to return to the now safe goblin camp to free the prisoners. When they arrive, they find the injured griffin, Byron, who they take home with them and put in the carriage house. When they get home, following a conversation with their upset mother, they encounter Thimbletack in his Boggart form. Angry that Jared stole the seeing stone, Thimbletack has begun to come after Jared. 

Lucinda’s Secret
“Maybe he was a prisoner of the elves. And maybe – if Jared was clever enough – Arthur could be saved”

In October 2003, the third book in the series, Lucinda’s Secret (I’m very jealous of readers in 2003 who only had to wait 5 months for the next book in The Spiderwick Chronicles), came out. Lucinda’s Secret begins with Mallory and Simon quarreling with Jared about getting rid of the Field Guide. The siblings decide the best course of action is to go ask their aunt, Lucinda, what to do with the book. Lucinda is Arthur Spiderwick’s daughter and the Grace family’s relative who lived in the house before them, but who currently lives in a psychiatric hospital because of a misunderstanding brought on by the faeries. Once the Grace family arrives at the hospital, the children begin to ask their aunt questions about the book, the estate, and Arthur himself. She tells them that the last time she saw her father, when she was just a small child, he went on a walk in the woods with the Field Guide and never came home. Lucinda is shocked to find that they are living at the Spiderwick Estate and becomes even more horrified when Jared tells her they have the Field Guide. When Jared pulls out the guide to show her, he finds that the book is missing and has been replaced by another book, presumably Thimbletack’s doing. 

When the children arrive home, they decide to look for the guide. In the process of their search, they find a map of the woods with a note that says “September 14th. Five O’clock. Bring the remains of the book.”  Jared, Simon, and Mallory decide to go out and look for Arthur, assuming the map was his and that maybe he didn’t mean to leave his family—maybe he was kidnapped. As they walk to the woods to find their great uncle, they encounter a strange creature who only speaks in riddles and predictions: a Phooka. It gives them very little info and they continue on their path. Once they finally reach their destination, they discover an odd little grove inhabited by elves. The elves make it clear that they want the book, they believe it is not meant for humans. They tell the Grace children that Arthur refused to destroy it and was punished. If the Grace children refuse to give the elves the book, they will punish Jared and trap him in Faerie with them forever. The children manage to escape through very clever thinking on Jared’s part and make it back to their home. After their encounter with the elves and the riddles of the Phooka, the Grace children theorize that maybe Arthur isn’t dead after all, maybe he has been imprisoned by the elves for 70 years. 

If you’re so excited about the series that you can’t wait for Disney to release it, check out the 2008 Nickelodeon movie. It might not be the best film ever made, but it might tide you over before the show comes out. 

PRR Writer and Editor, Frances Drye 

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