We seem to be doing a sort of Tony DiTerlizzi author study in our house, and I thought I'd recommend him generally to our other precocious readers. I have always enjoyed Neil Gaiman, both the books and the movies, but for my kids at least, books about people sewing buttons on their eyes or toddler ghosts are just no goes, regardless of how charming the rest of the book is. But for a similar feel- maybe a bit more epic, definitely more save the world heroism- DiTerlizzi really delivers. Not as dark, but still incredibly imaginative.
I'd recommend Kenny and the Dragon for the youngest set- it says 8 and up, but it's really just a more fantastical, less potty humor version of How to Train Your Dragon. Very innocently written, with good vocabulary.
Then The Spiderwick Chronicles, which is actually a fairly long and well developed series, in addition to the Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles series
and the Wondla series
for those able to handle a plotline about robot societies and a scene where the heroine is in danger of having her body "opened" by a well meaning populace who assumes she will be unharmed, as she is supposed to be a robot. (It all ends well). Claire Helen, my generally more sensitive reader, read the first book this week, and immediately asked for the second (Hero for Wondla, which just came out in May) while grabbing the Spiderwick Chronicles to hold her over.
There's a movie of the Spiderwick Chronicles (6 books crammed into one 2 hour Hollywood fest), which is pretty good, if probably for 8 and up. The internet has tantalizing pictures of Uma Thurman in a Wondla style costume on a search, but the movie is still "in development," so who knows if it will ever happen. I hope it does! He keeps a blog, and has apparently been at Comic Con this week, which I find inexplicably charming. Check it out: