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'Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven' gives insight into Brandon Mull's next series
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"The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven" is by Brandon Mull and illustrated by Brandon Dorman. - photo by Tori Ackerman
Many wonderful things have come from Brandon Mulls imagination.

Growing up, he often daydreamed about monsters and creatures in the woods and made up imaginary games to play with siblings and friends.

Now he takes those daydreams and puts them on paper, anticipating that if its a place his mind visits over and over, readers will enjoy going there as much as he does.

I feel like the fundamental reason I read is to escape and have adventures I cant have in real life, Mull said in an interview. So my biggest challenge and one of the most rewarding things I do is create a world where adventures can happen.

With a series that has made the New York Times best-selling list more than once, his world of Fablehaven has now grown so large that the Utah native decided to write a guide. The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven (Shadow Mountain, $24.99, ages 10 and up) is an illustrated encyclopedia of the artifacts, creatures and locations in the fictional Fablehaven.

Mull said a lot of authors have what they call a bible, a guide to their universe to have as a reference about the details of their creations. Mull's new book, scheduled to be released Tuesday, Oct. 13, gives readers that bible as well as a visual tour of Fablehaven that has never been seen before.

With what Ive set up with the world Ive built, I can create stories in Fablehaven for the rest of my life if I had to, Mull said.

Thus, the guide serves a dual purpose. Mull is using it to remind readers of the events that happened in Fablehaven since the last book was released in March 2013, and to set the stage for his new five-book sequel series to Fablehaven, Dragonwatch. According to Mull, The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven includes hints about the new series, which has a whole new set of characters and problems. The series is set to be released beginning in fall 2016.

Fablehaven is a magical world in which many characters come from myths and legends Mull heard about when he was growing up. When writing the different characters, he starts with some of the details that have been established about these creatures in myths and legends such as vain fairies and greedy ghouls and then he brings something new.

The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven reminds readers of the characters' nuances and quirks. It is written as if the reader is the new caretaker or apprentice caretaker of Fablehaven.

The guide is illustrated by Brandon Dorman, who also created art for the Fablehaven series and Mull's Candy Shop War books and picture books "Pingo" and "Pingo and the Playground Bully." Mull started working with Dorman in 2006 and was extremely nervous to allow someone else to define what his characters would look like. Mull said he learned to trust Dorman because the visual world of Fablehaven comes from Dormans great eye and he loves his work.

The book not only includes visuals of the artifacts, items, creatures, demons, dragons, locations and wizards of Fablehaven, but also has handwritten notes and scribbles from the main characters familiar to readers of the Fablehaven series, including Kendra, Seth, Warren and Grandpa Sorenson. Mull said these notes make the book livelier than it would be if it were just an encyclopedia.

Just as his readers have favorite characters and scenes, Mull has his favorite things to write about. One of Mull's favorite parts of Fablehaven is the dragon sanctuary, and he said it has been fun to be able to explore dragons, as well as the wizards who are former dragons that chose a human shape for greater magical power, through writing the Dragonwatch series.

Two sections of "The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven" include an in-depth evaluation of the dragons and wizards of Fablehaven. Mull said he used lizards, frogs and other dragonlike animals to create the dragon characters. He said these explanations will be helpful to set the stage for his new series.

Mull also has a quiz on his website, titled How Long Would You Survive at Fablehaven? as a fun way to get readers back into the world of Fablehaven. It can be found on his website at brandonmull.com/site/how-long-would-you-survive.

While he is prepping for the release of his new series, Mull is also excited about the fourth and final book in his Five Kingdoms series, scheduled to be released in March 2016.

The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven has no swearing, sexual innuendo or descriptive violence. There are a few mentions of how some of the animals kill their prey.
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