Thus far, the formula has worked almost flawlessly: combine fantasy with a family friendly approach and the recent result has caused studio heads to smile. The Spiderwick Chronicles is the latest in what could be considered "starter" fantasy tales. The set of five books, written by Tony DiTerrlizzi and Holly Black, falls into the same category with respected offerings like C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain, and (of course) J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorceror's/Philsopher's Stone. It's no coincidence that all of these have been filmed in one way or another (The Chronicles of Prydain as Disney's animated The Black Cauldron and The Hobbit thus far as a Rankin-Bass cartoon). The Spiderwick Chronicles is arguably geared for a slightly younger crowd than the other stories but it stands up well to cinematic conversion. The finished product will enthrall the target audience without boring those who chaperone them to theaters.
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