Review: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stievfater & Jackson Pearce

I received this book for free from YA Books Central in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stievfater & Jackson PearcePip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce, Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Pip Bartlett #1
Published by Scholastic on April 28, 2015
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Humor
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central
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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.

Obviously, I picked up Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures for one reason: Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve become a big Maggie fan since I read Sinner and The Raven Boys, and I’m super glad I can join with the crowd finally. I was torn on Pip Bartlett’s, because it’s even younger than middle grade. But also it’s Maggie. When I got the chance to review it for YA Books Central, I leaped at it, because I am a curious cat, and holy shit those animals on the cover are super cute. Pip Bartlett’s is fun, even for adults. Come for the Maggie, stay for the silliness.

Unsurprisingly, Pip Bartlett’s is far removed from Stiefvater’s previous works, considering that it’s for a different age group and it’s a coauthor project. The writing style isn’t the ornate, lyrical prose that I’ve grown used to at all. The writing’s perfectly suited to the story and the audience, but it’s definitely a change.

The tone also is a big change. Where Stiefvater’s stuff tends to be dark, though not without humor, and I believe Pearce’s does too, Pip Bartlett’s is all fun. Silly jokes, sometimes even gross ones about purple sweat, abound. The animals are the real bringers of the humor, because each creature that these two authors have created has its own strange and hilarious quirks. I particularly love the grumpy Griffin and the paranoid unicorn, Regent Maximus. The fuzzles are even endearing despite their lack of communication and unfortunate tendency to burn things.

Plot-wise, Stiefvater and Pearce do a really nice job talking about nature, the environment, and ecosystems without hitting the readers over the head with a narrative hammer. After Pip gets sent to her aunt for the summer to learn the proper way of interacting with magical creatures, she gets involved in the fuzzle puzzle. Their little town in southern Georgia is overrun with fuzzy little, dust-eating creatures that love underwear drawers and catch on fire. Yeah, it’s a problem. Pip acts like a little biologist and updates her guide with new information throughout.

Pip Bartlett’s will be ideal for the intended audience, which shouldn’t be a surprise. I think they’ll really bond with the inquisitive Pip and will adore the adorable creatures. Even the creatures I wouldn’t want to encounter look and sound awesome. Let’s be real, it’s fun to imagine unicorns and griffins existing even as an adult.

I don’t know if the rest of you guys do this, but I actually read about half of the book aloud to myself, and it really enhanced my reading experience. The characters really lend themselves well to that kind of presentation, and I especially enjoyed reading Regent Maximus. Whether silent or aloud, Pip Bartlett’s is worth a read if you’re still completely fascinated by magical creatures.

Favorite Quote:

“Humans are friends with other humans who are the same sort of weird.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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3 responses to “Review: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stievfater & Jackson Pearce”

  1. I was relatively late to the Maggie Stiefvater party as well but now I want to read ALL her books, so obviously, this one made the tbr shelf straight away! Even though the tone and themes seem to fit a younger audience, I’m a sucker for these kinds of stories so I’m pumped to get to know the characters and all the magical creatures 😀 And you’re right: with these kinds of reads, reading out loud can really enhance the experience. I’m glad you had fun with this one Christina^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…ARC Review: A Court of Thorns And RosesMy Profile

  2. Layla says:

    I love Maggie Stiefvater as well and am excited about this new project. I know that it won’t probably have the same emotional resonance for me that her other books do, but this looks charming and delightful in its own right. I’m looking forward to reading it when I get the chance. And the illustrations on the cover look totally adorable! I think I’ll keep this in mind when I’m looking for children’s gifts this year.
    Layla recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: A Ring of Endless LightMy Profile

  3. Brigid says:

    This looks squishilicious and adorbilius. I need unicorns and griffins in my life, anybody who knows me should be aware of this.

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