Dad: What have you been reading dude?
Isaac (age 12): The Fablehaven series. By Brandon Mull.
Dad: You are flying through them.
Isaac: I usually get through each book in a day or two.
Dad: You've been wanting to read these forever. How are you liking them?
Isaac: They are great. I like the action and the adventure.
Dad: Do tell...
Isaac: These kids named Seth and Kendra go to their grandpa's house. At first they are bored. But then they find out that their grandpa works on a preserve for magical creatures.
Dad: Are they new made-up creatures, or are they creatures from mythology?
Isaac: Mostly creatures from mythology, but there are a few new things. Like nipsies. Those are kind of like brownies, but they are the size of flies. There are goblins and hobgoblins - which are very different from each other. There are giants that are 30 feet high and eat yaks. There are centaurs which are really cool, but they are kind of stuck-up. There are a lot of dryads - water dryads, tree dryads, everything dryads. There's a dragon that is really awesome.
Dad: It sounds like a lot of the same creatures as in the Spiderwick books.
Isaac: It's a lot like Spiderwick. You even need special abilities to see the creatures.
Isaac: The creatures are always invisible to people, which is what helps them stay preserved. They are invisible unless you have this special milk from a giant 30 foot cow.
Dad: Yikes. Milk?
Isaac: Or if you have walrus butter.
Dad: Walrus? Butter?
Dad: Does it feel like the series copies Spiderwick?
Isaac: No. It has a different storyline. The "invisible" part is the only thing that's really the same.
Dad: So, why do you like books with fantasy creatures so much?
Isaac: It's good inspiration for stuff I make. I love the creatures. I like the designs. It gives me ideas for stories and pictures and for building little creatures.
Dad: Could Brandon Mull tell the same kind of stories using all zoo animals instead?
Isaac: It wouldn't be as good. Stories with zoo animals would have to be more realistic. But with made up creatures, anything can happen. A dragon can breathe fire.
Dad: You could get away with featuring a talking polar bear, but it probably wouldn't breathe fire. With real creatures, to some degree you're stuck with things that make sense according to science.
Isaac: But you can do anything with fantasy creatures.
Dad: No limitations.
Isaac: Like, there are these balls that live in caves. Little yellow fluffy pompom things that float around in caves, hundreds of them. They explode into gasses and disintegrate people.
Dad: Now, are these things a mix of good creatures and bad creatures? Or are they all neutral like animals?
Isaac: There technically aren't good creatures and bad creatures. But they might seem that way to people. Like... a bear or a man-eating lion or a killer bee. A bear would attack you if you got to close to its cubs. People don't like some animals because they will attack you or bother you, but they are not "evil."
Dad: But there are some bad guys in the books, right?
Isaac: Some characters are pure evil. But the books don't make them too freaky... not like wet-your-pants-freaky.
Dad: What kind of creatures are those?
Isaac: Werewolves and vampires and a genie who is evil. Under the house they have a jail for all the bad creatures - creatures that have been transformed purposefully for the point of evil. There are these goblins who run the jail. And they made this stuff called glop that they feed everyone. Glop is a mixture of any junk they can find.
Dad: Now, you haven't finished the series yet. You are taking a little break?
Isaac: Yeah, I'm on book 4. But there are a couple other books I want to read, so I'm taking a break.
Dad: What are you reading now?
Isaac: "This Present Darkness." Our youth pastor told us about it.
Dad: I read that when I was right around your age. I was probably a year or two older.
Isaac: Did you like it?
Dad: Oh yeah. Quite a lot. But, back to Fablehaven... I'm wondering, would girls like these books as much as boys?
Isaac: Girls would like them too. Especially the first book. Because there are fairies, and the main character is a girl.
Dad: How about me?
Isaac: Oh yeah, you would really like them. You would love Fablehaven.
goblin jailer serving glop, by Isaac
Author: Brandon Mull
Published 2006-2010: Shadow Mountain
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