Friday 56: The Ironwood Tree

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it! Meet our hostess:
It's that simple.

Based on the series of five serial children's novels, The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 4 is called "The Ironwood Tree." Oh dear,  Spiderwick Chronicles provides lots of thrills and chills -- so much so that it may be too scary for younger readers. Maybe a 7 or 9-year-old but definitely not for my grandson, almost 3. I was curious about the book. I believe it is under juvenile fiction at our library.

Page 56: 

"Is he like the dwarf king or something?" Simon asked.

The dwarves did not answer. One pulled on a carved handle and the net opened. Both boys  fell heavily into the cage. Jared's hands and knees felt raw all over again..."
By Holly Black

The Story
The Spiderwick Chronicles is a serial, making it necessary to read the books in order to understand subsequent books. The Grace children, 14 year old Mallory and the 9 year old twins, Jared and Simon and their mother move into their great-aunt's abandoned house. While moving in Jared hears sounds inside the wall and chalks it up to a squirrel. Upon further investigation, Jared discovers the actual source of the sound, a faerie creature known as a brownie, whose job it is to protect the house. Jared also discovers a secret room in the house which holds still another secret, a book written by his great-great-uncle: Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical Worlds Around You. This book contains descriptions of many faerie creatures that they children go on to meet throughout the series. In The Ironwood Tree, the children end up in a quarry where they encounter a group of artisan dwarves. The dwarves capture the children hoping to get their hands on the Field Guide.

Here's a sample of Chapter Two:

Title: The Ironwood Tree (Book 4: The Spiderwick Chronicles)
Author: Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black
Format: Hardcover
# of pages: 108
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Editorial Reviews Review

After a brief breather in book three (Lucinda's Secret), the Spiderwick Chronicles heat up with doppelgangers, then dwarves, then a dastardly double-cross, as this five-part series approaches its dramatic end. The Grace kids (9-year-old twins Simon and Jared, and 13-year-old Mallory) might think that things have finally quieted down for them, but the nefarious faerie world has many more surprises in store. In the second chapter, titled, "IN WHICH the Grace twins are triplets," a mysterious and menacing shape-shifter shows up at Mallory's fencing match--and before Simon and Jared can suss out what's up, their sister disappears, presumably kidnapped. Eager to recover Mallory, the two descend into a strange subterranean world beneath a nearby quarry, only to find themselves prisoners and then privy to a wicked (and almost unbelievable) plan. The twins do end up tracking down Mallory, but only in very peculiar circumstances--not the least of which that she's wearing a dress.
Author Holly Black once again skillfully manages to weave in plenty of creepy details (including a bloody final chapter) without whitewashing or leaving young readers feeling too creeped out--and she gets able assistance from Tony DeTerlizzi's ever-evocative pen-and-ink drawings (especially in the looming menace of the Mulgarath). Fans of the series will have a hard time waiting for the final installment, titled fittingly, ominously, The Wrath of Mulgarath. (Ages 6 to 10) --Paul Hughes

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6–The Grace children are back for their fourth adventure in the quest to understand and protect Arthur Spiderwick's guide, a book that offers information about the faerie world. Mallory, the oldest, goes missing from a fencing match. The twins, Jared and Simon, must solve a riddle to save her from evil dwarves who want to create a world totally out of metal with their sister as their queen. This installment in the fast-paced series continues with short chapters and well-developed, likable characters. Black-and-white drawings enhance the suspenseful mood. Reluctant readers and fans alike will enjoy this adventure and look forward to the finale.–Krista Tokarz, Cuyahoga County Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I was fascinated by the illustrations of Tony DiTerlizza.


Dragons, space monsters, goblins and insects: the characters that inhabit storyteller Tony DiTerlizzi's world haven't changed since he was a kid growing up in South Florida.
Born in Los Angeles, California in 1969, DiTerlizzi is the oldest of three siblings raised in an artistically rich household. He started drawing at a very young age including a crayon mural of Winnie-the-Pooh on his freshly painted bedroom walls.
One of his first hand-made books was on his favorite subject; dinosaurs, and was done for a Boy Scout merit badge.

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis

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