Review: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pierce

August 11, 2015 4 stars, Book Review 9 ★★★★

Review: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson PiercePip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce, Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Pip Bartlett #1
Published by Scholastic Press on April 28, 2015
Genres: Middle Grade & Childrens
Pages: 192
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

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.


Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pierce obviously caught my eye the second I saw the cover. It has everything I love: illustrations, magical creatures, adorable middle grade plot (just sadly missing dragons, but I have hope!). When I saw it sitting on Tabitha’s shelf, I couldn’t help but start reading it my first night staying with her and of course finished it before I left ;-). If you’re looking for a fun younger middle grade to read with a little one or just for yourself, look no further!


  • The illustrations are really the big draw for Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures! Pip has a book on magical creatures and we get to sneak peeks at various pages throughout the story including illustrations that may or may not be all that accurate to what Pip finds out ;-).
  • I really enjoyed the creativity invested into the magical creatures that Pip encounters. She meets a few unicorns early on, but after that it is mostly completely new magical creatures or lesser known ones. Always fun to encounter new critters :D.
  • Pip’s sidekick in crime is a young boy who lives down the road and it was awesome to see a boy and girl being good friends and going off adventuring together. I love middle grade’s lack of romance sometimes ;-). Also, Pip is staying with her aunt, and the family bonds that she relies on to solve the main problem were a nice change of pace from kids going off and figuring things out without any adult help.
  • The mystery in Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures focuses on some adorable by very flammable critters and is a whole lot of fun. It was just the right balance of short enough to actually fit into the limited page count comfortably while still being intriguing enough that I wanted to know how things were going to end :).
  • So Pip can talk to animals (despite the fact no one seems to believe her!) and this makes for some really entertaining encounters. Add to this the tendency of most magical creatures to be surprised and/or excited that Pip can actually understand them, and you get a whole lot of laugh-out-loud moments that will make you jealous you can’t talk to magical creatures. Just be prepared for little ones to start trying to talk to the cat ;-).


  • The excerpts from Pip’s Guide to Magical Creatures book are so cool, but some of them are incomplete and just cut off in the middle of a sentence and it drove me batty! I seriously spent five minutes with the first one flipping through pages to find where it continued because it seemed so awkward for it to stop midway through a sentence :(.
  • I am still confused why this was the case, but I had a really hard time remembering that Pip was a girl. Her voice just seemed like a young boy’s to me apparently, which is strange since I tend to read mostly books with female main characters so I don’t know why I would have this problem. But it ended up being confusing in the beginning when I assumed she was a boy and was quite wrong ;-).


Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures is a delightful new middle grade full of fantastic critters and a fun adventure. The illustrations are really lovely and the friendship heart-warming. I’ll definitely be collecting these hardcovers as soon as they come out for both a fun afternoon read and to look pretty on my shelf ;-).

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya



Reviewed by ANYA!


Anya runs the blog On Starships and Dragonwings and is my absolute best blogging buddy. Why oh why does she have to live so far away? Anyhow if you haven’t been to her blog before go check her out!

9 Responses to “Review: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pierce”

  1. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Hi Anya *waves* I still need to read my copy of this one but I WILL read it – hopefully soon! I love the way you described the illustrations, creativity and mystery…and hello! Talking to animals! SUCH a HUGE draw to me 😀 The fact that some sentences stop midway will probably drive me batty too D: but I’m curious if Pip will read as a boy for me as well. Hmmmm…
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