Book Review: Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce & Maggie Stiefvater


Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Format: ARC
Genre: MG/YA, Fantasy & Magic
Page Count: 192

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.


          What a charming and adorable little book! It's short, super sweet, and so delightful. I was smiling almost the entire time I read it. Let me tell you why.

          Pip, the narrator and heroine of this tale, is funny, clever, and just a little bit socially awkward. What I think the authors do extremely well with Pip's character is that she ends up doing the brave thing in all the crazy magical-creature-related situations she faces, despite always second-guessing herself first. You know, like a real person. One phrase she uses several times is "Think Twice, Act Once," which I love, and I think it's an important message for young readers (and old) to hear. 

          Not only can Pip express animals' feelings and thoughts for them (because she can talk to them), but she is also very sensitive to the feelings of other (human) people. Pip picks up on what she believes people are thinking or notices when they do something out of character. As a very self-aware person who picks up on the subtlest shifts of mood in my environment, I liked seeing that highly-sensitive nature reflected in a young character in literature. HSPs are out there, and we are legion.

          I'd also like to add that I didn't realize Pip was a girl until quite a bit into the book. I simply assumed she was a boy 1) because of her name, and 2) because she wasn't doing anything stereotypically feminine. When she's eventually referred to as a "daughter," it dawned on me that I may need to rethink my gender assumptions. And honestly, I really appreciated that! Such an unexpected lesson to learn from a book marketed towards kids ages 8-12. Whether this effect was intended by the authors or not, it was really refreshing.

          There are some loose threads to the plot that are not tied up by the end of the book, but I am hoping that's because there will be sequels. I'd love to read more Pip (and Regent Maximus) adventures!
Rating: 4/5 (Enthusiastic) Stars

"Everyone approved of Marisol. She never had chocolate on her cheek. She remembered to brush her hair. Her handwriting was neat. The corners of her homework folders were never crumpled." 

"'Oh, right! Your brothers are triplets!' I remembered. 'That's so cool.'
'Cool if you're a triplet,' Tomas replied. 'They get to do whatever they want. They are tall enough to reach whatever they want to reach. They don't have allergies.'
I could tell he was feeling low about it, so I said, 'They also don't get to have adventures with Pip Bartlett.'"

FTC Disclaimer:
I received a free physical uncorrected proof of this title from a fellow book blogger.


  1. AAH. Rosie, that cover! It's adorable! Now I'm just going to sigh forever and love the cover. Although I'm not sure whether I'd enjoy this little book- I've never got through a Stiefvater of Pearce novel, and as much as I like fantasy and the potential for what this might turn out to be, I don't feel like I'm quite sold on it, as of yet. Maybe I'll hold out for a couple more reviews, see the pros and cons other bloggers feel, and see if I can be definitively turned, one way or another.
    Nice review! xx

    1. Thank you, Romi. You always leave the best comments.

      I'm a big Stiefvater fan, so I knew I'd probably like this. But if it's not your style, that's totally understandable. It really does have a super cute cover. It also has a bunch of illustrations inside the book, too (I guess I forgot to mention that in my review, oops).

  2. This looks so cute! I know that I would've been all over it when I was younger. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it!

    1. Thanks, Amber! I was afraid it might have been too...juvenile? for me to enjoy, but I actually really liked it.

  3. This sounds adorable. I bet my granddaughter would love it.

  4. This sounds adorable. I bet my granddaughter would love it.

  5. This cover is so cute . I really loved your review and how you said that you thought Pip was a boy!

  6. I bought this book for my niece and nephew and they totally loved it! After reading your review, I think I might read it myself soon.

  7. Nice blog you have thanks for posting


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