An Eye-Popping, Jaw-Dropping Read-it-if Review: The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven…


Welcome, welcome, one and all to today’s Read-it-if Review! I’ve got a very special book for you today that will soothe your world-weary eyeballs and fire the coal-stores of your imagination. We here at the Shelf are very pleased to be part of the blog tour for new release series tie-in The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, illustrated by Brandon Dorman. Many thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing for inviting us to be part of the tour.

I have only read the very first of the Fablehaven series of books – conveniently titled Fablehaven – aimed at upper middle-grade and lower YA readers. The series begins with siblings Kendra and Seth uncovering the truth about their grandfather’s farm – instead of common-or-garden cows and sheep, their grandfather is the caretaker of Fablehaven, a sanctuary for mythical creatures of every type, where dangerous magic is kept in check…if one only follows the rules.

While I enjoyed the book for its sense of adventure and danger, I ultimately decided to knock the others off my TBR list because I found Seth’s penchant for rule breaking and risk-taking to be beyond belief. I can understand a young lad deliberately flouting some rules, but in the final scenes of the book, when the rules have been expressly stated and the children are in actual danger of losing their lives…Seth breaks the rules. And it stretched my suspension of disbelief until it snapped.

Thinking back, it was probably a fairly silly reason for abandoning a whole series, but there you have it. After having a squiz at The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven however, I am fully prepared to put every one of the five books in the series, PLUS the soon to be released spin-off series, right back on my TBR.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

This guidebook to the Fablehaven magical preserve is filled with everything a new Caretaker might need to know in order to survive.

There are entries detailing important information about artifacts large and small, a complete bestiary of creatures (from fairies to trolls to satyrs), a guide to identifying demons, dragons, and wizards as well as valuable insights into the other magical preserves. Immerse yourself into the secret knowledge that has been handed down through the generations by reading the updates and notes written in the margins by the former Caretakers of Fablehaven, including Grandpa Sorenson, Kendra, and Seth.

Fully-illustrated, this unique encyclopedia has gathered the world of Fablehaven into one volume. Scattered throughout the book are colorful fairies that also mark some of the characters, artifacts, and creatures that will be featured in the upcoming sequel series, Dragonwatch

caretakers guide to fablehaven


The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven

Written by Brandon Mull and Illustrations by Brandon Dorman Shadow Mountain

Release Date: October 13, 2015

$ 24.99

ISBN: 9781629720913


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders series, travels the country visiting schools, promoting literacy, and sharing his message that “Imagination Can Take You Places.”

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR Brandon Dorman is the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller The Wizard. His work has appeared in childrens books and on numerous covers, including the Fablehaven series and The Candy Shop War series.

Read it if:

*you like your books to be eye-poppingly, jaw-droppingly gorgeous to look at

*you (somewhat unwisely, according to your peers) took a midlife career change a la “We Bought A Zoo” and could really do with some pointers for keeping the mythical beasts happy

*you’ve been looking for a Halloween present for a youngster (or oldster) in your social circle that will cause the recipient to label you “Best. *Insert Relationship Here*. Ever.”

It’s really hard to describe how stunningly beautiful this book is without being able to give you the chance to flick through it. But I’m going to be cheeky and give you some teeny-weeny glimpses:

Screenshot (3)_FotorScreenshot (4)_Fotor

Beautiful, no? The book is made up of illustrations and descriptions of various people, places, artifacts and monsters that populate the world of which Fablehaven is a part. Some entries are enhanced with handwritten annotations from Seth and Kendra, and some have faux notes “stuck” over the top. The information is comprehensive and would take a good long while to wade through, cover-to-cover. This is the kind of book, though, that will have groups of kids flicking through together, exclaiming over their favourite entries and sharing knowledge about the series.

As well as being the perfect pick for established fans of the series, this would make a great teaser for those who haven’t read the books, but would like to get a feel for the world and its workings. I can certainly see this on a classroom bookshelf as a fought-over companion to a read-aloud of the series.

So have I convinced you to explore the world of Fablehaven? Let me know if you’ve read any of the series and what you thought!

Until next time,


7 thoughts on “An Eye-Popping, Jaw-Dropping Read-it-if Review: The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven…

  1. I actually think this might work perfectly for me. When I was reading Harry Potter to my daughters my youngest would end up running off ,so perhaps if I had this illustrated book to go along with the stories I’m reading she might stick around for the whole chapter. I already found that they have the complete series in a box set. Thank you for the review.


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