Trying to attract the fairy writers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 28, 2008

By Brent Johnson
For the Salisbury Post
A jar of honey, another of tomato sauce, and a layer of salt to top it off are all the pleasing ingredients to a happy Thimbletack, the house brownie.
Though we are in context of munchies, Thimbletack is not a chocolate dessert. Rather, he is a resourceful house maid who provides helpful services and loves honey.
When denied his special treat, we can expect our Pooh-bear, honey lovin’ brownie to become a feisty little boggart. This trollish creature seizes any opportunity to wreak havoc on anything in his way until he gets his honey.
Thank goodness for Daphne Safrit. An employee of Literary Bookpost ó and daughter of Deal Safrit, the store’s owner ó she’s included all the necessary ingredients for a happy brownie in a new window display.
Located in downtown Salisbury, the bookstore is participating in the Simon and Schuster “Spiderwick Chronicles” nationwide window display competition to get the chance for coauthors Holly Black and Toni DiTerlizzi to make a local visit and book signing. Daphne Safrit has been diligently bringing the “Worlds of Arthur Spiderwick” display to life.
Though they appeal to ages 8 and up, the Spiderwick series is “a good fantasy read for all ages with wonderful illustration” says Daphne. Spiderwick fever has been growing in popularity as Paramount and Nickelodeon recently released the “Spiderwick Chronicles” movie on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. The series of five, in order, include “The Field Guide,” “The Seeing Stone,” “Lucinda’s Secret,” “The Ironwood Tree,” and “The Wrath of Mulgarath,” which take the reader to a magical world of fairies, goblins and fascinating illusions that will undoubtedly stir the imagination.
“The Field Guide” is the most popular seller at the Bookpost, according to Daphne, who has read the whole series.
There are six other accompanying books that follow the series, including “Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You” and “Care and Feeding of Sprites,” which can be found at the Bookpost, as well.
Along with the edible goodies in the case, tree trunks, flowers, small branches, gumballs and acorns are all tiny but powerfully organized portraits that echo elements in the Spiderwick Chronicles.
“We’ve been getting support from local businesses,” says Daphne. Fine Frame Gallery contributed trees and made some of the fairies. Other investments purchased for the window also came from downtown shops like Critters and Just The Thing, giving it local teamwork flavor.
Not only are nature’s gifts prominent in the display, they act as shelter to some of Spiderwick’s fairies.
A large spiderweb separates the bark and shrubs from a study closer to the back of the case. Stacked with books, paperweights, a globe, sophisticated statuary, and, yes, fairies as caged pets, the window gives the impression that the magical world and reality coexist.
The competition ends in early March, with the winner announced in May.
“I’m confident we’ll do well in the competition,” Daphne says.
Brent Johnson, a Catawba College student, is an intern at the Salisbury Post. Contact him at