Ever heard of The Spiderwick Chronicles? Of course you have. Its world-famous author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi came to the Mission Viejo Library this week as part of the promotion for his most recent book, The Battle for WondLa.
As we soon found out, Tony has a very lighthearted and humorous attitude. Only when the kids were laughing hysterically and the parents struggled to keep a straight face, did he begin his speech. We started off with the importance of imagination. Imagination is what has taken humanity so far, producing the technology and literature we love. I find his view very fitting, as he is an incredibly talented artist. In fact, so much that his love of art paved the way for literature.
When he was a fifth grader, Tony hated book reports (no surprises there). The empty and infinite lines of words bored him, only interrupted by occasional pictures. The pictures! That was what he looked for in every book. Unfortunately, his teacher turned down his report on the comic book, The Invincible Iron Man. However, they did make a deal, which we still appreciate today. Tony was to illustrate a scene, a work of art created from seemingly monotonous lines of text, for extra credit. Suddenly, the words appeared as instructions for how to imagine with. And so his love of literature was born.
In his newest series, The WondLa Trilogy, Tony incorporates a lot of artwork. At the start of each chapter, a picture (drawn by himself) covers the entire page. Before writing anything, he first drew illustrations of the characters and scenes. He created the protagonist, Eva Nine, to fit the needs of the storyline. His many illustrations inspired the actual story, and are beautiful in a simple way. The pictures help guide us readers’ imaginations, with around 100 in every book. As Tony puts it, that would be his childhood self’s ideal book.
As for the series he was here to promote, The WondLa Trilogy, you all really should go read it. It’s extremely interesting and original. It tells of Eva Nine, who has lived in an underground bunker for her whole life. A robot mother has raised and trained her to prepare for emerging into the world. When the Sanctuary is blasted open by an intruder, Eva finds that the world is completely different to her studies, totally alien. She sets off into the strange wilds, with only the word WondLa promising a hope to strive for.
At the end of the event, I was thoroughly impressed with Tony DiTerlizzi as a writer, illustrator, and speaker. His talents are boundless, and will continue creating more masterpieces for us to obsess over. Try out his books! The unique combination of art and stories make them a great read for anyone.
-Phillip X., 8th grade