The Ironwood Tree

by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
Reviewed date: 2009 Sep 28
108 pages
cover art

My younger daughter enjoys the creepy scary Spiderwick books. I thought I'd better read one, just to see what sort of evil satanic rituals Mr. DiTerlizzi and Mrs. Black are teaching her. What I found was a decent story, not too exciting, but compelling enough to capture the imagination of an eight-year-old. It's not The Princess and the Goblin, but then again, most books aren't.

The Ironwood Tree is book four, so it dropped me into the middle of the story. A young girl named Mallory is kidnapped after her fencing competition. While her mother is distraught and helpless, her twin brothers set off to rescue her. She's been kidnapped by a dwarf king, who demands Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide as a ransom. The brothers don't have the Field Guide, but offer up a fake. Then they escape with Mallory, just in time to watch the dwarfs get massacred by the ogre Mulgarath, who has the Field Guide and intends to conquer the world.

The magic content in the book isn't objectionable. It's just a story. The kids have a bit of an attitude toward their mother, and--as usual--the adults in the book are all incapable or unwilling to help. They are not sensitive to faerie activity, you see, so it's up to the kids to rescue their sister and save the world.

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