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“Why would a faerie turn into Mallory and then cry in a girls bathroom?” Simon. —The Ironwood Tree
The Ironwood Tree
The Spiderwick Chronicles #4
by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black
The entire faerie world wants Spiderwick’s Guide. Even if the Grace Children wanted to give the book away, they couldn’t because Thimbletack has hidden the guide. When Mallory disappears, Simon and Jared go in search of their sister. When the boys search the old abandoned quarry, dwarves imprison them. Is there any way for them to escape and save their sister?
Thimbletack and the griffin do not appear in the story, but new creatures are added. Although the story is entertaining, and suspenseful, some readers may wish that the different faerie creatures were incorporated into all of the books. Humor is added when neither Jared nor Simon wish to enter the girls restroom to look for Mallory. The ending takes a dark turn, and the unexpected killing of dwarves may disturb younger readers.
In the fourth installment of The Spiderwick Chronicles, Jared continues to struggle with anger and his mother’s misperception of him. Although Jared is trying to protect his family, he often falls into trouble. Jared worries that his mother will try to send him to live with his father, but his father won’t want him.
One of the best aspects of the series is the relationship between Jared and his siblings. Their realistic sibling relationship shows how each one has unique talents that can be used to defeat the faerie creatures. Although readers will be entertained by the faerie creatures, they will continue to read because they want to know what happens to the Grace children. Is there any way they can survive when the next faerie creatures come after them? The only way to find out is to pick up the fifth and last installment of the series.
- Mallory has a crush on a boy. To tease her, Simon sings, “Chris and Mallory sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”
- A shape-shifting creature appears looking like Jared. When the creature confronts Jared, Jared “pointed a knife at his double.”
- Dwarfs kidnap Mallory and put her in a magical box that makes her like Sleeping Beauty. A dwarf tells the boys, “Out of this case she would be doomed to age, death, and decay—the curse of all mortals.”
- Mechanical dogs chase the children. The children climb up a tree to avoid the dogs, but one of the dog’s “teeth caught hold of the end of her white dress and ripped it. The other dogs swarmed close, tearing the cloth.” Simon comes up with a way to get away from the dogs.
- When Mulgarath discovers that the goblins do not have Spiderwick’s Guide, he orders the death of the dwarves. “The goblins bit, clawed, and slashed until not a single dwarf was left standing. Jared felt sick and numb. He had never seen anything be killed before. Looking down, he felt like he might throw up.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Mallory says, “Oh crap,” once.
- A shape-shifting creature appears in the story. The creature makes himself look like Jared and other people. The creature’s body, “shrank, its dark hair paled into a sandy brown, and its now blue eyes went wide with terror.”
- Dwarves live in an abandoned quarry. They have “skin as gray as stone.” The dwarves carve trees and animals out of metal. The animals are alive but must be wound up with a key.
- A creature appears and helps the children escape. Jared thinks it is a “nodder or a banger.” The creature listens to the stones, which allows him to help the children.
- Mulgarath is an ogre, “a massive monster with dead branches for hair.” The goblins are serving Mulgarath.