For What It's Worth

Thursday, November 2, 2017

review: pip bartlett’s guide to magical creatures by jackson pearce, maggie stiefvater

23310214Pip is a girl who can talk to magical creatures. Her aunt is a vet for magical creatures. And her new friend Tomas is allergic to most magical creatures. When things go amok—and they often go amok—Pip consults Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures, a reference work that Pip finds herself constantly amending. Because dealing with magical creatures like unicorns, griffins, and fuzzles doesn’t just require book knowledge—it requires hands-on experience and thinking on your feet. For example, when fuzzles (which have an awful habit of bursting into flame when they’re agitated) invade your town, it’s not enough to know what the fuzzles are—Pip and Tomas also must trace the fuzzles’ agitation to its source, and in doing so, save the whole town. ~ Goodreads

Source: arc provided by the publisher via BEA15 (hangs head in shame for taking so long to read this)


If I had this book as a child I would have been obsessed with it!

I’ve always loved reading and learning about animals but reading and learning about magical animals like Unicorns, Miniature Silky Griffins, Emerald Dunking Ducks, and Fuzzles?? Awesome!

Pip Bartlett can talk to magical creatures but no one believes her and she gets herself into a bit of trouble during parent career day when a herd of beautiful unicorns hear her but don’t *listen* to her and stampede the career day festivities in a bid for attention.

Pip is sent to live with her aunt, a magical creature veterinarian. Even though her aunt doesn’t believe she can speak to the creatures either, she does allow Pip to interact and learn more about her magical patients.

Pip uses the experience to update her well worn copy of Jefferey Higgleson’s Guide to Magical Creatures, with her own observations. She also befriends a very nervous, pessimistic, and highly allergic boy named Tomas, an older cranky Miniature Silky Griffin named Bubbles, and a terrified Unicorn named Regent Maximus.

When Fuzzles, little creatures that multiply rapidly and burst into flame when scared or excited, start popping up in town (& underwear draws!), Pip and Tomas, need to solve the mystery of why they left the woods, and how to get them to go back before Mrs. Dreadbatch, the head of S.M.A.C.K.E.D. – the Supernatural/Magical Animal Care, Keeping, and Education Department – has them all exterminated.

20171022_154538My copy was an arc so I would like to see a finished copy for the final artwork. Mine was in black & white and had incomplete descriptions for the creatures. If they are in color that would just make me love this book even more.

There are a lot of good messages about overcoming fears, the interconnection of nature and believing in yourself but it’s very light handed.

I have a few nitpicks but they are from the adult reading Mid-Grade variety and probably not anything an 8-12 year old reader would even notice.

*Pip’s parents send her away and that’s that. Pip thinks of them and about wanting to return home once but it’s just dropped.

*Pip’s Aunt Emma has a bit of a tragic story about her missing husband and it could relate to the magical creatures but again…dropped. I assume it’s a set up for a later story but I thought it was brought up for a reason. Guess not.

*I wish Tomas was a developed a bit more. He’s kind of the cliche, nerdy, asthmatic friend. At first I thought he was being portrayed as a hypochondriac and wasn't thrilled about that but he truly is allergic to everything. Like unicorns – he ends up blowing rainbow colored bubbles out his nose when he’s around them – or floating when around Grim’s (ninja/direwolf hybrid dogs). He doesn’t let anything stop him, instead coming along well prepared for every possible scenario, but I wish we got to know him more as a character and not as only a sidekick.

After I finished, I saw there are two more books – one out now and one coming in 2018, so all my issues could be resolved with those two additions.

Despite those minor nitpicks, this was an absolutely delightful read! Especially if you have a little one that loves animals in the house looking for something fun to read.


  1. Sounds like a cute read, Karen. I hope they rescue the Fuzzles before that nasty S.M.A.C.K.E.D. lady exterminates them! :)

  2. I never knew this existed for the longest time, and I still need to read it now! I'm glad you liked it overall. Seems so cute!!


    1. And there are at least two more that I have to get my hands on.

  3. OMG Pip Bartletts Guide to Magical sounds so cute! I need it in my life :)

  4. Hmm, this sounds like an adorable read. I too hope the illustrations are in color. I'll have to check this out in person.

    1. I haven't had a chance to see a final copy yet but that would make a big difference to me. It would take it from cute to MUST HAVE on my keeper shelf.

  5. At least you read it!!! So kudos to you even if it's from BEA15 :)

  6. ooh I want to get this book for my nephews!! They just love animals. I do love books that contain great artwork.

  7. I didn't even know this book existed, so thank you. It sounds like something my son would like for me to read to him. I'm sure he would like the pictures and illustrations that go along with is. Also, Maggie Stiefvater is one of my most favorite authors. You've read The Raven Boys, right?

  8. even though i read the french book, i loved it!