Another fun book for a car ride or plane trip! This is the second book in the Pip Bartlett series, but I liked the first one so much, I picked up the second one as soon as we got it in at the library. If you like humor and fantasy, with a little mischief and crazy situations mixed in, this book is for you and your family.
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Pip Bartlett is still in small-town Georgia for the summer with her veterinarian aunt and her cousin Callie. Aunt Emma’s Cloverton Clinic for Magical Creatures is still a pretty exciting place to be, even after she and her new friend Tomas have solved the mystery of the fire-starting Fuzzles. (This is all in the first book, Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures.) Even though Pip is a little worried that all of the adventures of the summer are over, she’s soon proven wrong when she finds out that the Triple Trident–the most famous unicorn show in the country–is being held right in Cloverton!
Because of her common sense during a crisis at the vet clinic, Pip is hired by Ms. Gould to keep her Rockshines (a sheep like animal that go invisible with any stress) calm and visible before the show. Pip is eager to get a chance to get behind the scenes at the Triple Trident, and even if Rockshines aren’t very glamorous, they’re still magical! And when she’s helping, Pip can watch the unicorns, her very favorite magical creature. Even if they are rather vain, they are beautiful.
Pip finds out that Regent Maximus, the only unicorn she knows personally, is entered in the show and goes to see him. But poor Regent Maximus is the complete opposite of what show unicorns are supposed to represent. Instead of being proud and majestic, he’s fearful and cowering. Mr. Henshaw, his owner, promptly hires Pip and Tomas to train him to be able to walk across the threshold of the stable and into the show ring. Two jobs!? Can they manage to help both adults with their magical animals?
Training is well underway with Regent Maximus and the rockshines when disaster strikes! Someone cuts off the beautiful tail of one of the unicorns. On purpose! Is someone trying to cheat so their unicorns win? Or is there a mysterious person trying to sabotage the show? Pip uses her own special talent–talking to magical creatures–to investigate. If they can discover who is responsible, they can figure out why. But even the magical creatures are flummoxed.
Can two kids manage to do everything that needs to be done? Can Pip still train Regent Maximus to compete with this creepy unicorn stalker on the prowl? Will Pip and Tomas solve the mystery before it’s too late?
The audio recording for Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Unicorn Training is absolutely delightful! There are two readers; one for Pip’s narration, and one to read the entries for Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures.
I love both voices…Cassandra Morris sounds exactly like a girl who could talk to magical creatures, but she also sounds perfect as Aunt Emma, Callie, Mr. Henshaw and every other character who comes into the story. She does a wonderful voice for all the magical creatures, Regent Maximus in particular is perfect! Her voice is wonderfully paced for the action.
I would highly recommend both of the Pip Bartlett books, both as books and as audio. The book has lots of great pictures from Jeffrey Higgleston’s guide, with Pip’s comments and changes. So if you do listen to the book, you should also check out the print copy for all the extras! I don’t know how many more Pip Bartlett books are coming, but I hope that the series goes on for many volumes!
Pip Bartlett’s Guide books are probably best for third through sixth grade readers, but the audio is good for all ages–kids as young as five should enjoy both the humor and the mystery. Some similar titles are Fridays at the Castle by Jessica George, The Imaginary Veterinary series by Suzanne Selfors, and The Familiars series by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson.
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As always, if you need help finding a book or need suggestions for books to read, just ask one of our librarians!