Sometimes when things go wrong and we feel that nothing could possibly get any worse, an unexpected surprise comes along to brighten our lives. This is one of the underlying themes of The Spiderwick Chronicles, a wonderful series written by Holly Black and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. The first book introduces us to three siblings, Jared, Simon, their sister Mallory, and their mum. When the story starts, the family has had one major thing go wrong in their lives. The dad, who has recently gone, has left behind him unresolved issues and a lot of heartache. Each of the children deal with this pain in a slightly different way. Now, you think about a time that you felt everything was going wrong. How did you deal with it? Did you get angry? Did you talk about it or keep it to yourself? Which character from this story do you relate with the most? Would your reaction to heartache be more like Jared's, Mallory's or Simon's? When the story starts out, we see that Jared deals with the sadness of his dad leaving by getting into fights at school. Simon, Jared's twin brother, deals with his sadness by trying to ignore it. He focuses all of his energy on learning about animals. Mallory becomes overwhelmed with improving her fencing skills. All of them, in their own way, are trying to hide their feelings. The story becomes even more interesting when the family moves into their new house, a large Victorian-style building. Here the children find that they are not the only ones who are hiding something. One day while exploring the house, they discover a secret room where they find clues which eventually lead them to a very old handwritten book full of sketches. The book is called Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. The book is filled with all sorts of creatures and fairies, although the latter are not as nice and cute as your usual fairies. Initially, it is only Jared who finds this book attractive. However, as strange happenings in the house begin to occur, Mallory and Simon start to take interest. This is where the adventure really begins. Imagine that you have just moved into a new house and found a secret room ... What would you find inside the room? A book? A map? Or something else? Have you ever hidden something from someone else? What was it and where did you hide it? I won't tell you exactly how the story ends; maybe the new house has a ghost; or maybe all the strange stuff happening is really just in their imagination. You must read it yourself to find out how it turns out. I'm certain you'll be glad you did. Not only is the story captivating, but the illustrations and design are creative and unique. I will tell you one thing that becomes clear by the end of the story, however - the children begin to draw some sort of comfort from this new-found world of fairies, imaginary creatures and mystery. They find that their own lives, full of changes and surprises as they are, also feel quite 'fantastical'. This is in fact one of the most significant messages of the story - that all of us in our own way, in our own world, experience magic and fantasy, adventure and adversity. Food for thought ... What is the most magical thing that has happened in your life? What is your greatest adventure? What is your biggest adversity or struggle?