Books for Kids: Pip Bartlette’s Guide to Magical Creatures

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Pip Bartlette’s Guide to Magical Creatures
Scholastic Canada
By Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
192 pages
age 8-12

Synopsis from Scholastic Canada:

Because of a Unicorn Incident at her school (it was an accident!), Pip is spending the summer with her Aunt Emma at the Cloverton Clinic for Magical Creatures. At first, it’s all fun, games, and chatting with Hobgrackles, but when Fuzzles appear and start bursting into flame at the worst possible places, Pip and her new friend Tomas must take action. Because if the mystery of the Fuzzles isn’t solved soon, both magical and unmagical creatures are going to be in a lot of trouble.

Reading Pip Barlette’s Guide to Magical Creatures feels like any tween story of mischief, friendship, and finding one’s voice until you meet the unicorns. Yes unicorns, fuzzels (who congregate in your underwear draw), miniature silky griffins and creatures you have never heard of. I liked the balance of real life and fantasy, making the idea of magical creatures living on Earth a little plausible and not an outright fantasy.

The story is rather quite cute as Pip interacts with various magical creatures. Hearing the inner voices of these animals even had me laughing on the subway ride (albeit quietly). Although Pip and her friend Tomas encounter a number of adults in the story, these adults seem somewhat ineffectual at doing anything. This leaves Pip to save the day, something young readers will certainly love.

Although the story touches on Pip’s anxiety around other people and Tomas ever growing list of allergies, these topics aren’t dealt with in any depth. Instead they are used a springboards to humorous occurrences. The inclusion of guide pages, snapshots of some of the magical creatures and their details, adds to the fun. I found myself reading these inserts on the animals Pip encountered in the story.

Pip Bartlette’s Guide to Magical Creatures is the first book planned in the Pip Bartlette series. Young readers, whether into fantasy or not, will enjoy this upbeat fun story with a smart (yet shy) female hero.

Additional Reading: The Curiosity House. The Shrunken Head.

You can find a copy of Pip Bartlette’s Guide to Magical Creatures from Publishers Group Canada or your local bookstore. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations.

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