Magical animals abound in Pip’s world, and she loves them all—especially since she can talk to them.
Not that anyone believes her, because everyone knows that magical animals can’t talk. But her unique ability comes in superhandy when the Georgia town where her aunt Emma runs a veterinary clinic for the local HobGrackles, Unicorns and like extranatural fauna is threatened by an outbreak of Fuzzles—recognizable to Star Trek fans as similar to the adorable and fertile “tribbles” but with the added tendency to burst into flames when startled. Pearce and Stiefvater pass up no chance to exploit the comedic possibilities, keeping the level of actual danger to a minimum and stuffing the supporting cast with new and traditional mythical creatures of diverse temperament (most memorably a hysterically skittish Unicorn: “Why! Why is the sky so blue today? What does it mean?”). The authors pitch doughty Pip into a nonstop set of crises as she contrives to save the town and persuade the Fuzzles to vanish. Having publicly expressed an intention to depict mythological creatures cuter than baby seals for this outing, Stiefvater outdoes herself in the illustrations with portraits of hopelessly cuddly Griffins, Grims and other generally fearsome monsters sporting big, winsome eyes. Stay tuned for more hilarious ructions.
It’s a distinct change of pace for two authors better known for intensely romantic teen fantasies, but they carry it off with aplomb. (Fantasy. 8-11)