Tag Archives: Tony DiTerlizzi

Bedtime Stories: The Spiderwick Chronicles

spiderwickPost by Mark T. Locker.

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi.

I have been trying for ages to get my seven-year-old to embrace chapter books. Finding something that has short chapters, pleasantly distracting pictures and an exciting—but not too exciting—plot has been a challenge. For a while I had suspected that the children’s fantasy series The Spiderwick Chronicles would appeal to his love of magical creatures as well as his short attention span. When I finally remembered to put a hold on one of the books, I felt hopeful. We read the first couple chapters of The Field Guide together, hoping if I could get him interested in the first of the five novels that the rest would follow on its own. And it worked! Although he complained a couple times during his required reading time, those complaints became fewer and fewer. He is now on the third book and he read well beyond the 20 minutes and didn’t once ask how much time had elapse.

This was a huge victory, but I’ll never let him know. A quick summary of the first book:

Due to their mother’s financial problems, nine-year-old twins Jared and Simon and their thirteen-year-old-sister Mallory are forced to move into an old abandoned family estate in Maine called Spiderwick Estate. When he climbs in the old dumbwaiter, Jared discovers a secret library on the second floor with a poem loaded with clues which eventually lead him to a field guide to fantastical creatures. They discover that a whole world of faerie folk, brownies, sprites, goblins, exist and in their hands is the secret to finding and understanding them.

Great bedtime read for kids. Exciting without getting scary, clever and interesting, and written by two fantastic children’s/young adult authors.

Posted in Bedtime Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bedtime Stories: The Search for Wondla

Post by Mark T. Locker.

The_Search_for_WondLaThe Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi.

I have seen this middle reader-level book floating around for a few years but hadn’t picked it up until recently. I had thought that it was going to be some kind of fantasy novel. I made this judgment based on the fact that the author co-wrote the Spiderwick Chronicles with Holly Black. Now I know more about Holly Black, I think she is the one behind the fantastical elements of those books. So I was a little surprised when I began reading and it was readily apparent that I was reading more of a sci-fi/fantasy novel. That didn’t really put me off, however. It’s a fun and engaging read nonetheless.

Eva Nine is twelve years old and has never seen the outside world, not to mention another human being. She has been raised and trained in an underground facility by a caretaker robot named, somewhat ridiculously, Muthr, which stands for Multi-utility task help robot. You can imagine, she also takes on a maternal persona. But one day, blasts from above alert them to someone-or something-is attacking and breaching the entrance. Eva Nine is forced to flee, finally putting all her training to use. Only, there’s a problem. She has been trained to survive on Earth and as far as all her fancy gadgets can tell her, nothing she encounters is Earthling. The trees are carnivorous, the birds have too many wings. Some thing are similar to Earth creatures, but on a vastly different scale. One of her first companions she meets appears to be what is known as a tardigrade, which is a microscopic water creature, but this one is enormous and communicates with her through psychic wavelengths. With her giant friend (she nicknames him “Otto”) and a fishlike humanoid named Rovander Kitt, Eva Nine and Muthr head overland to try and find out what happened to Earth, and to all the Earthlings.

Filled with action, mystery, and a bright but stubborn heroine, The Search for Wondla is a great choice for older elementary age kids. And even better, there are two more books in the series!

Posted in Bedtime Stories | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Bedtime Stories: The Search for Wondla