Review Blog

Aug 19 2015

Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater

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Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781760156954
(Age: 8-10) Recommended. Themes: Magic, Fantasy, Mythical Animals, Veterinarians. Pip Bartlett's dramas begin on Career Day at school when the Unicorns arrive, eight beautiful creatures brought in by the Barreras family. Pip is fascinated by all magical creatures, and she constantly refers to favourite book, Jeffrey Higgleston's Guide to Mythical Creatures filled with facts, diagrams and descriptions. Young Pip has a special secret; she can communicate with all magical creatures and they can understand her. When her teacher Mr. Dyatlov sends them off to the Career Stations outside, Pip hurries over to talk to the Unicorns. Unfortunately, Raindancer asks Pip to ride her and they set off on a disastrous adventure, followed by the rest of the herd crashing through the stands and stall, breaking the school sign and wrecking the garden.
Pip is sent off to spend the summer with her Aunt Emma and cousin Callie's home and veterinary practice for the summer while her geologist parents are off on digs and conventions. This is a clinic that treats magical creatures, and on the first day there's a Lilac-Horned Pomeranian, a stressed HobGrackle whose stinky sweat melts metal and an Invisible Salamander waiting to be treated. Pip is in her element surrounded by animals she can talk to and try to help. Cousin Callie resents working all summer in the busy practice, but Pip is in her element talking to all the wild and unusual sick animals. With her new friend Tomas, who is highly allergic to most things, Pip sets out to capture the invading Fuzzles, furry little creatures who set themselves on fire.
Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater's story bring the world of magical creatures to life. With wildly colourful, imaginative animal names and descriptions and a feisty and sometimes overeager protagonist this is a terrific story for the animal lover and would be great to read to a Middle primary class.
Rhyllis Bignell

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