Book Review: Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures

Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures
By: Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
Published by: Scholastic Press
Release date: April 28, 2015
Genre: MG fantasy
192 pages
Source: purchased by reviewer

When Maggie Stiefvater visited Kansas City in the fall of 2013 to promote The Dream Thieves, she let readers take Sharpies to her car. I knew that she and Jackson Pearce had a friendly rivalry, so I wrote on Maggie's car, "Jackson Pearce wishes she was here!" Little did I know that the two were collaborating on a project, and that this book would be published a year and a half later.

I don't read a lot of Middle Grades, but when I do, I always find it refreshing to go back to the innocent, clean lines of the genre. Sometimes it's nice to take a break from the drama of YA, reading about friends who truly only want friendship from one another, and adults who are reliable and logical.

Pip Bartlett has the unusual ability to talk to magical creatures. Most people don't believe that this is true, which is problematic when Pip gets important information from a creature, but can't explain why she knows what she does. She doesn't have a lot of friends in her home town and her parents are pretty busy people. Spending vacation with her aunt, a veterinarian for magical creatures, seems like a win for everyone.

Pip learns, through a series of adventures, that one can't always believe what one reads, and that only so much information can be gathered by reading books. Pip discovers that she can learn a lot from first-hand experience. I like that she becomes a person who looks at the information she has, devises a plan, and puts it into action. She demonstrates that even a kid can do good for those who need help.

The book is illustrated with drawings that seem to be Stiefvater's, and her playful nature comes through especially in the voice of a few of the magical creatures. I am guessing that Pearce was responsible for the skeleton of the plot, ensuring that all of the fun actually went somewhere that could make sense to a reader. I imagine that the result will delight and energize a typical 8 to 12 year old. 

Early information suggests that book 2 will be arriving sometime this year, but it seems that Pearce is the only name attached to it. Regardless, I will be picking it up; Pip was a lot of fun to hang out with, and I will be glad to read how the unicorn training goes. She's not likely to have an easy time of it, but somehow I think she'll manage to have things turn out just fine.  


From bestselling authors Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce comes an exciting new series full of magical creatures, whimsical adventures, and quirky illustrations.

Pip 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.


  1. EEEEP! I can't wait to read this!! Maggie Stiefvater is my favorite author, so this will be a really fun treat <3

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

  2. Savings in Seconds sent me over to visit!


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