Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Creature of the Pines (The Unicorn Rescue Society, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Creature of the Pines (The Unicorn Rescue Society, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Creature of the Pines

(The Unicorn Rescue Society #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  709 ratings  ·  172 reviews
Elliot Eisner isn't exactly excited about starting at a brand-new school in a brand-new town; he'd much rather stay at home and read a book. But things take an unexpected turn when he finds out his weird new teacher, Professor Fauna, has planned a field trip for Elliot's very first day. Along with a new friend--brave, outspoken Uchenna Devereaux--Elliot gets caught up in a ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  709 ratings  ·  172 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You can also see my review @

Elliot is the new kid at school and very nervous about making friends, until he meets Uchenna. They have some things in common and become friends right away. On the bus they meet Professor Fauna, a scary looking man who will be their guide on their field trip to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Professor Fauna warns them of the many dangers at the Pine Barrens.

"The Pine Barrens is not a safe place," the professor intoned, his v
Mary Ann
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gidwitz has hit such a great balance between short, engaging chapters and a mystery that makes you want to learn more. I also love how intentionally inclusive he is with his storytelling. Full review here: Great Kid Books
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amelie, hardcover
Read through with the kid. This is a fun new series for young middle grade readers, and my daughter loves it. I like that it has both facts about the natural world and the mythical. My daughter likes the humor and the fast paced dialogue, as well as the friendship between Elliot and Uchenna. Based on book 1, we've already ordered the next two in the series!
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Unicorns are Real, and there are many dangerous things in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.

Elliot Eisner is nervously making his way through his first day of school, which happens to coincide with a field trip to the Pine Barrens. Fatefully he meets Uchenna Devereaux on the way and they begin a fabulous romp through both the Pine Barrens and their town.

I loved Elliot's nervous factual recitations, and Uchenna's guts, also her taste for red chuck taylors. Dr. Fauna is gloriously weird (do you thi
Jillian Heise
This is going to be a fantastic series for my elementary library! And I love that future books will be co-written by Adam Gitwitz and an author from the culture of the magical creature focused on in that book.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Highly entertaining, funny, fast-paced. Excellent early chapter book for confident young readers (there’s some Latin thrown in here, just for taxonomic purposes).
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
A fantastic start to an incredible new series! Witty, engaging, moving, all the good stuff.
Michele Knott
I lost track of how many times I laughed out loud while reading this one - definitely a good sign that this book is meant to be read aloud to children. Can’t wait for more in this series.
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was way more enjoyable than I initially anticipated. It's engaging, and fast-paced, and the characters are lovely. The dialogue between the kids and the way teachers and grown-ups are depicted has a lighthearted and amusing tone. I would definitely recommend to children who like reading adventure/action stories with magical creatures + who like books with great friendships.
Kayla Nickolan-Ortiz
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I give it a 5 because I like unicorns and it was so interesting when Elliot and Uchenna went off to the woods and found the pine in the deep woods
Tracy (The Pages In-Between)
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
very cute, I had a great time reading this one with my twins! Pretty silly, and exciting for them!
Jordan Henrichs
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
My gut reaction was more of a 2-star rating, but I have never rated anything by Gidwitz less than 5 stars and the copy I read was an ARC. So, I'm rounding my gut reaction up to a 3.

The Creature of the Pines just felt so wimpy to me, almost lazy. From the characters, to the dialogue, to the plot. However, whenever I felt like I wanted more depth, I had to remind myself that the intended audience is much younger than that of Gidwitz's previous fare. Maybe this will work on the younger set. I trus
Julie Kirchner
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Humor, mythological creatures, and adventure! What a great combination for a new middle grade series by Adam Gidwitz. I’m confident this will be one my early middle grade readers will love. Looking forward to hearing what they think and to book 2!
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved this book! Gidwitz humor is right on the mark. This would be a great (funny) read aloud. Also I totally want Jersey Devil as a pet now. For readers who like a dose of myth in their adventures. Read alike for Pip Bartlett series and Imaginary Veterinary series.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fast paced, fun, smart, humorous read. This will be a great one for kids who like nature, adventure, animals, and magic.
Erin Downing
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Funny and clever!
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm always on the lookout for fantasy/speculative books for middle grade readers that aren't really long and difficult. Not all readers are ready or able to take on Harry Potter or The Lightning Thief. So I was really interested when I heard about this series. And it didn't disappoint. With a couple of fun, but quite different characters combined with an unusual mentor and a delightful mythological creature at the heart of things, The Creature of the Pines works well for younger readers. The sto ...more
Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You
being many years past middle grade age i will try not to be too hash with my review... i loved Gidwitz's "A Tale Dark and Grimm" series fabulously, they were so funny and ceepy and action-packed and informative... this book did not do that for me, sadly... kinda cute, kinda funny, kinda interesting, kinda quirky... kinda average though too... just not enough depth to get swept up in it... again, i am old (surely MG age children would say that, and wonder how i'm not dead already!!), but i have b ...more
Sean Harding
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
First book in another fantasy lite series complete with unicorns of course, hence the name of the series, is pretty forgettable stuff, and all very by the numbers average, some will like it, some will hate it, most will not remember it.
Dan Rogers
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun enjoyable selection to read to my Grandchildren. Each time I would stop for the day they would plead for just one more chapter. They couldn’t get enough. Quality time and they’ve been kept in the edge if their seats with anticipation.
May 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book was ridiculous. And bad. And terrible. I loved Gidwitz's other books.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining. All the characters are a delight. I especially life Doctor Doctor Fauna's Spanglish. Can't wait to see what happens in the rest of the series.
I wanted more from this. I think maybe the first two books were originally one big book that was later split up into two shorter ones. To me, it takes too long for not many things to happen in this first installment.... hopefully it will get better!
Karen Arendt
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the voice and humor in this book. I was hesitant to read a unicorn book thinking it would not appeal to boys. This book has two diverse characters- a boy and a girl. The creature of the pines was also not a unicorn. This was a fun story with a scary professor and evil bad guys. I am looking forward to the sequel.
Peter Jones
Dec 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
My daughter loved this. Immediately upon finishing: "can we get the next one?"
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
I enjoy Gidwitz's writing. He always has a good balance of humor and action. The story moves quickly with nice, short chapters and sporadic illustrations. This would make a good read aloud. Felt like a good book for a 2nd/3rd grader. Note: there are no unicorns in this one. I assume there will be in future installments, but if you pick this up for a unicorn loving kid (like I did thinking about my niece), then just a heads up. There is a fun little creature in it, but no unicorns in book one.
Pop Bop
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A Clever, Deadpan, and Ever So Slightly Edgy, Double Act

This book is exactly what's promised in the blurbs and summaries, but much more as well. Allow me to explain.

How many books have you read based on the premise that the hero kids are part of a society that protects mythical beasts? I can think of literally a dozen such books that I've read in the past two years. Almost all of them were fun on some level, although lots of them leaned either to the wacky side or were Young Indiana Jones-ish. T
Becky B
Elliot is not thrilled about starting at a new school several weeks into the school year. In fact, his first day happens to be a class field trip. He ends up sitting in the bus next to a girl named Uchenna who plays air drums and spontaneously composes songs, but otherwise seems mostly sane and the most friendly person Elliot has met yet. As the two of them hike into the Pine Barrens with their class and special guest Professor Fauna (who teaches social studies and is rumored to have a torture c ...more
Martha Meyer
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Here is a fun series written for readers who've enjoyed Magic Tree House but are ready for a little more depth to their stories.

Two kids in NJ find a magical creature (The Jersey Devil of myth and legend) on a field trip to the Pine Barrens which leads to their induction into a secret society for the preservation of magical creatures. Despite the breezy and humorous tone of most of the story, there is unexpected depth to the narrative: a guest teacher  explains the Pine Barrens were a melting p
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines (UnicornSociety, #1) by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly. 167 pages. CHAPTER BOOK. Dutton’s Children’s Books (Penguin), 2018. $15.
Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: G.



Elliott’s first day at his new school is unique and amazing. First he meets a spunky girl named Uchenna, and they fast become friends. Then while on a field trip to the Pine Barrens, Elliott and Uchenna hel
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Of Mice and Magic (Hamster Princess, #2)
  • The Perilous Princess Plot (Buckle and Squash #1)
  • Fergus and Zeke
  • Princess Cora and the Crocodile
  • Big Foot and Little Foot (Big Foot and Little Foot #1)
  • Stella Diaz Has Something to Say
  • Dragons in a Bag (Dragons in a Bag #1)
  • The Infamous Ratsos (The Infamous Ratsos, #1)
  • Dory Fantasmagory: Head in the Clouds
  • Polly Diamond and the Magic Book
  • Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker
  • Nightmare Escape (Dream Jumper, #1)
  • The Jumbies (The Jumbies #1)
  • The Griffin's Riddle (The Imaginary Veterinary, #5)
  • Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras, #1)
  • Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight
  • The Great Big Boom (HiLo, #3)
  • Bat and the Waiting Game (A Boy Called Bat, #2)
See similar books…
To read my bio and learn more about me, and find a FAQ, visit:

Other books in the series

The Unicorn Rescue Society (4 books)
  • The Basque Dragon (The Unicorn Rescue Society, #2)
  • Sasquatch and the Muckleshoot (The Unicorn Rescue Society, #3)
  • The Chupacabras of the Rio Grande