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Kids' Q&A

Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Describe your latest project.
Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World around You is a lavishly illustrated guide to identifying trolls, goblins, unicorns, and other faerie-folk. It is done in the tradition of the old naturalist guides reminiscent of John James Audubon with detailed color plates of the various creatures and observations of their habits and habitats. And it is a book we are very proud of.

  1. Arthur Spiderwick
    $11.95 Used Hardcover add to wishlist
    With 41 fabulous full-color plates, six gatefolds, six watercolor landscapes, scores of black-and-white and color sketches of 31 faerie species, this book is destined to be a favorite of even the most demanding faierie enthusiast.
  2. The Wrath of Mulgarath: The Spiderwick Chronicles #05
    $2.50 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

  3. The Ironwood Tree (The Spiderwick Chronicles #4)
    $1.95 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

    The Ironwood Tree (The Spiderwick Chronicles #4)

    Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

  4. The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 3: Lucinda
    $5.50 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

    The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 3: Lucinda's Secret

    Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

  5. The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2: The Seeing Stone
    $3.50 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

    The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2: The Seeing Stone

    Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

  6. The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1: The Field Guide
    $3.95 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

    The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1: The Field Guide

    Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

What fictional character would you like to be your friend, and why?
Tony: I would love having Winnie-the-Pooh stay here at the house. We could talk of food and what we were eating next. Maybe ponder that over a little morsel... and then take a little nap and dream of desserts.

Holly: I would love to be friends with Jacky Rowan from Charles de Lint's Jack the Giant Killer. She'd be the kind of friend that you could wake up in the middle of the night because you are having faerie problems and she'd make you a pot of coffee and fix them. Also, if you didn't have faerie problems, I think Jacky might get you into some.

Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good place to start.
Tony: If you like my renditions of faerie-folk, then you will most certainly like Brian Froud's work. His book Faeries (with Academy award-winning artist Alan Lee) was a tremendous inspiration to me as a kid. And if you know his work already, then check out Arthur Rackham's work. He was THE fairy illustrator from the turn of the century. James Hamilton wrote a great retrospective of his life and work.

Holly: I think that people should read Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard. It is a wonderful book. And while I have your attention, I think you should also read Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising. To pick a more recent title, if you think you are tired of vampires, Scott Westerfeld's science fiction vampire novel, Peeps, will blow your socks off. Okay, I'll stop now.

Describe your most memorable teacher.
Tony: My fifth grade teacher Mr. Straussberger noticed I was having trouble with some of my book reports, but he knew I loved to draw. He gave me extra credit if I did a drawing from the book that I was reading. How's that for foresight?

What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
Holly: Oatios with the apple flavor. I could seriously eat them all day long.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
Tony: "To die would be an awfully big adventure," from Peter Pan.

Holly: From Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint, "Let the fairy tale begin on a winter's morning, then, with one drop of blood new-fallen on the ivory snow: a drop as bright as a clear-cut ruby, red as the single spot of claret on the lace cuff."

How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
Tony: Actually, I've been reading Jeff Smith's Bone series. I remember how huge this was when it debuted in the comic world, and was really intrigued when I saw it re-issued by Scholastic in the children's book section of my local bookstore. I would have LOVED this as a kid and I think it is very cool that it is being embraced by a children's publisher.

Holly: One of my favorite things about being a writer is getting to know other writers and conning them into letting me read their books with some kind of vague promise of giving them feedback. Using this method, I recently read Delia Sherman's first middle-grade, Changeling, which won't be in stores for a while, but which is a really fresh and clever take on Faerie. I also just managed to finagle an untitled manuscript out of Shannon Hale. Ha! Go, me!

Which are your favorite Sunday comics?
Tony: Calvin and Hobbes is the Peanuts for our (thirty-something) generation. I MISS Calvin! Why doesn't Watterson do kids' books?

If you could choose any story to live in, what story would that be?
Holly: I would live in Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat world because then I would always be slickster cool, have fabulous clothes, and true love would always win out in the end.

What was your favorite story as a child?
Tony: I grew up with a lot of books around the house. We had quite a few Dr. Seuss books, and Shel Silverstein as well. My mom also bought us a set of Andrew Lang's Rainbow Fairy Books and I really liked reading through those a lot. They were a big inspiration for Spiderwick.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Tony: I wanted to either:

1. Be Jim Henson
2. Work for Jim Henson

I loved the Muppets when I was younger and I had this book (Of Muppets and Men) that showed some behind-the-scenes stills. The Henson team seemed so creative and so playful. It looked like the perfect place for an artsy kid to be.

Holly: I actually really wanted to be a writer. I didn't think I would manage it, either. Shows what I know.

Why do you write books for kids?
Tony :I loved stories as a kid, both being read to me and enjoying on my own. All these stories inspired my imagination and that's what I have always aimed at doing for my readers: ignite their imaginations.

Tell us about your pets.
Tony: Goblin is our ten-year-old pug. She loves to eat, sleep and poop... and pretty much in that order.

Holly: My husband, Theo, and I have quite a menagerie. We have an ex-racing Greyhound called Chamberlain because he looks like one of the Skeksis from The Dark Crystal. Despite being extremely fast if he's running away from us, he mostly spends his time lying on our fainting couch, drooling on the cushions. We also have a parrot that is in love with Theo and will try and bite me if I get close to her cage, an ancient and scabrous cat named Delphi, and a furious Blue Persian called Fizzgig (also for the character from The Dark Crystal). We used to have a Chihuahua called Blutsauger, but my grandmother spirited her off to New Jersey, where she's fattening her up so that she's large enough to resemble a dachshund.

For what author would you like to illustrate?
Tony: I'd really like to spend some time doing my rendition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. That story is one of my all time favorites. When I re-read it in high school, I knew I wanted to be a children's book creator when I grew up. spacer

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