Good Reading : March 2008
interviewed Tony for a gaming magazine; at the time,Tony was working as an illustrator for Dungeons and Dragons .They discovered that they shared an interest in the world of faeries. ‘I’m still not really used to the idea that people like the things that we like!’ said Holly. ‘When I interviewed Tony, I said, “You like faeries? I also like faeries! Who else in the world likes faeries?” Tony’s interest began early. ‘I had done a fantasy field guide when I was about 12,’ he told me. ‘I was always making little books. I kind of forgot about it, then I returned to it in my first year at art school, and again when I was working for Dungeons and Dragons . And I thought, this is kind of a cool book: a field guide to dragons and other creatures.They weren’t interested, but after I’d published several books with Simon & Schuster, and when The Spider and the Fly [which Tony illustrated] became a Caldecott Honor book in 2003, I was asked, “What do you want to do next?” And I said, “I really want to do this fantasy field guide, I think it would be a lot of fun.”’ ‘I said, “I will help you! I will do whatever I can to help you!”’ added Holly. ‘We wound up turning it into these books.’ The field guide exists, and a beautifully illustrated and highly inventive guide o the faerie world it is, but it’s ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ that bring that world into present-day reality. ‘The kids are real kids, they don’t have any special powers or abilities, they’re ordinary kids in extraordinary circum- stances,’ said Tony. ‘That was very important.We both wanted that sense of Hansel and Gretel going off into the wood: they have no special powers, they literally have to rely on their own resourcefulness and cleverness to get them out of harrowing situations. One of olly’s and my mantras was that this stuff can ppen to anyone, it can happen anywhere.’ ‘I think children like the idea of there being agic in their own back yards,’ agreed Holly. But the books are by no means a sweet airies at the bottom of the garden’ depiction f the world of the fey.This world is very ark.When I questioned Tony about this, he aid, ‘As far as darkness is concerned – read Grimm’s fairytale! We wanted to embrace hat type of fairytale but in a modern way. I hink the responsibility of book makers is to entertain children and stimulate reading, so we have to make books as exciting as a video game or a movie or a television show.They don’t need to be obscenely dark or gory, but the best stories are the ones where it’s very bleak for the heroes before they can triumph; they’re the ones that resonate with you.That’s the way life is.’ Holly agreed. ‘The faery world is very dark; once people wouldn’t even say the word “faeries”, they would use versions such as the little people, because they wouldn’t want to invoke the attention of the faeries, who would blight their crops and run off with their things! The film will open the books up to a much wider audi- ence. A lot more people will read them, and hopefully learn a lot more about faeries.’ The Spiderwick books are published by Simon & Schuster. ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ oks 1-5 are $14.95 each.The Field Guide is 39.95.The film tie-ins are $14.95 each for the Chronicles’, $12.95 each for the Storybook nd the Movie Companion, available now . cover story To enter simply write your name and contact de back of an envelope and send it to ‘The Spiderw Competition’, GPO 3835, Sydney NSW 2001 or e www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au For more information about th www.spiderwickchronicles.com Copyright ©2007 by PARAMO PICTURES. All Rights Reserve This month 6 very lucky readers have the chance to win a boxed set containing the first five books in ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ series PLUS an exciting ‘Spiderwick Chronicles’ gift pack, courtesy of Paramount Pictures, containing an Outdoor Activity Kit and a Double Pass to see the The Spiderwick Chronicles film (commencing 3 April), valued at $161.00 each.