The Care and Feeding of Sprites by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

 

ChildrenFantasyCare and Feeding of Sprites (Spiderwick Chronicles) Care and Feeding of Sprites (Spiderwick Chronicles)Holly Black; Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing 2006WorldCatReview by Molly

Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black’s The Spiderwick Chronicles Care and Feeding of Sprites is a Simon & Schuster book for Young Readers.

The authors do note that at times they did question the wisdom of keeping faeries as pets, the have come to see that people who love sprites are as unique as the sprites themselves.

And the pages that follow feature first a two page spread showing a Bearded Hopper and a page explaining terms and images used in the book.

Next comes a full page graphic of a Leatherwing, showing antenna drawings for both male and female with a page of text regarding the Magnificent Sprite.  A sidebar box cautions Do not attempt to keep a sprite if you have not acquired The Sight, the ability to see faeries.

At the bottom of the page is another memo noting that some insect sprites are not only beautiful but very intelligent as well.  Conversation with such sprites the notation, continues, can be quite stimulating.

Section two begins with a two page spread, on the left is a detailed listing of the Anatomy of a Sprite while on the right is a line drawing of the Basic Sprite Body carefully annotated a la a scientific drawing.

And, the work continues, tongue firmly in cheek, packed with lovely, full color, graphics of various sprites and a page of notes regarding how to select the sprite, obtaining the sprite, and even beings often mistaken for sprites, but that are not sprites and how to tell them apart, how to discover whether your sprite is a girl or a boy, housing the sprite, proper nutrition for the growing sprite, accessories to get for your sprite, grooming  your sprite, how to maintain well being of sprites and how to understand the moods of sprites.

Sprites detailed in the book include; Common Orchid Sprite, Flower Head, Agile Hopper, the beautiful moth winged Orchid Sprite, Dancing Pondneedle, Little Blueberry Sprite, cherubic Rackhams Sprite, Graceful Thicket Sprite, Royal Orchid Sprite, Sprout Sprite, Devil’s Spur and the Glowing Toadfly closing out the work are the Flower Winged and Beetle Winged Sprites.

What a fun book for middle grade readers who are often a tricky tribe to persuade into reading anything.  The books in this series are so beautifully wrought, filled with whimsical notes and graphics to tickle the imagination.

I like the notion of through the looking glass type fantasy and these charming sprites fit that idea nicely.  I found when teaching 4th grade for two years that the girls in particular were fascinated with this particular book and the possibilities sprites offer as motivation for writing.  I did find the boys too enjoyed thumbing the books for ideas for their own drawings and even pseudo scientific notations.

Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black’s is beautifully illustrated and detailed, The Spiderwick Chronicles Care and Feeding of Sprites is especially for middle grade readers, including classroom usage, but also for anyone with a sense of whimsy and whimsy in their soul.

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