The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat

Genre: Animal adventure Juvenile ages 6 – 12


Kippy Schofield was almost ten years old. He had large ears that stuck out, freckles, buckteeth, thin brown hair and a skinny body. Kippy was an ordinary boy who enjoyed an amazing life; he lived in a large rambling house on the beautiful island of Hawaii. Each day was shared with his friends, big brother Scotty and his parents. Kippy’s loved swimming with the turtles in the crystal clear lagoon at the bottom of his garden and on occasions attending school.

One day a letter arrived. Everyone shared the excitement when Scotty was accepted into Oxford. However, soon changes happened. The house in Hawaii was closed and Alba, Kippy’s beloved housekeeper left behind.  Kippy travelled on an aeroplane to the bustling city of Honolulu before sleeping through the flight to London.

Following the death of his dad, his mom soon departed to travel around Europe. It was one of Kippy’s worse days when Scotty left for Oxford University and Nanny B. Meane blew into his life. Kippy quickly learned how much truth there was in a name. Kippy’s world went from sunshine to darkness the moment the nasty, fat, duplicable Nanny entered the sad house.  She never bathed, never cooked and never took her eyes off TV unless tormenting Kippy.

It was Scotty’s magic rock at the bottom of the garden that taught him many exciting lessons. The first time he sat on the magic rock, he glimpsed the Fantastical Cat. She showed Kippy another world. In her world Kippy was schooled with the hedgehogs, danced with the moles and accepted into the exclusive under ground ‘boys club’. It was also where he met Fergus Barnes, and from that moment on, Kippy knew he was learning some of the very best lessons life could give him.

Not the ones he would learn at school but real valuable life lessons and the way the Fantastical Cat taught him was exciting! Now he had two wonderful things in his life, the whimsical Fantastical Cat at the end of the garden and Fergus Barnes his new best friend.

Finally, Kippy really did believe in magic!

Latest Review

Review by Book Excellence –

The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat is a contemporary classic, with the type of humour and heart that will delight tweens and parents alike.

This wholesome, charming tale depicts the pain of sudden change and the shock of loss, as Kippy navigates a new country and a completely new life.  Despite being framed by heartbreak, Kippy’s adventure is filled with feel-good moments and sparkling wit. These elements are sprinkled with fun, educational facts and a wonderful connection to animals and nature. The characters in the story are quirky and memorable, and fit well with the modern yet wistfully nostalgic plot. 

The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat has a truth and magic that will resonate with middle-grade children and keep readers enthralled for hours.

Goodreads Reviews

Browse through these reader reviews

Book Review 1

Let Mary Barr take you on an adventure of a lifetime!

Obviously, I am very satisfied with the book. I have just finished reading it and I am truly in awe as to how it was written. I am aware that Barr is a well-experienced writer of fiction and has a good number of children’s books. And in The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat, that has really shown and confirmed her extraordinary writing skills and storytelling prowess.

I sometimes get confused as to what kind of material would be best for my son but I found the perfect one right here. It is a perfect balance of imagination and good values that kids can easily bring into the real world.

The way Barr combined the real world of the main characters and the fantastical world of rabbits, moles, and hedgehogs is both charming and powerful. I am quite sure that the effect on children is going to be priceless when it comes to their enjoyment and vicarious learning.

The story of Kippy and his family is a stark depiction of the current state of our families and how there is a need to do better in taking care of the next generation with so much that they have to deal with.

This is truly amazing!

Book Review 2

I would readily recommend this to young boys and girls and also those who are young at heart.

My perspective as an adult might be different but I know the younger generation is going to get a lot from this book. It is very much close to reality, especially in the families of today and what they have to go through. But it also stays close to the very imaginative world of 6 to 10-year-olds.

I really did not expect how the story would pivot into something beautiful. I thought that Kippy would stay in Hawaii with his family and friends. But life as it is, even for a 9 or 10-year-old, goes through various changes and the author gave us an idea of how we can transition smoothly as a family. Great work!

Book Review 3

Oooh, I love cats and it was such a delight reading this book. I was just gonna check it out for my daughter but I ended up reading it from start to finish. We both are cat lovers and have a bunch at home.

You would want to be in this Hawaiian paradise with Kippy! Having an enchanting lagoon with age-old turtles for a playground is something we can only dream about.  

I like the way Mary Barr writes. I think it’s very apt for the age level this book was originally intended for. It is not overly descriptive but it still captures one’s imagination, whatever your age may be. It flows easily and you just dive right in.

You should meet the fantastical cat!

Book Review 4

This book is like one, big surprise for me – nothing I expected from a children’s book. It’s almost like being Alice in Wonderland! But then it’s so much more.

First off, I didn’t have the pleasure of growing up with my dad or grandfather around so I really liked how the author highlighted Kippy’s strong relationship with his Gramps. From the beginning till the end, Gramps was there for Kippy when no one else was. It is important for children to have at least one person who can give them parental love.

With all that Kippy went through, the Fantastical Cat was such a blessing. Not only did he enjoy spending time with magical creatures underground but it made for a believer of life’s magic out of him.

Book Review 5

Adults should read this too!

What you can expect from this lovely book, The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat, is a LOT. I daresay, this is not your usual children’s book because at my age, well, I can say I don’t really have the patience for them anymore. But this one is absolutely different and I was taken aback in a very good way. I am impressed!

The characters are easy to love, both young and old. There are human characters and animated characters. Kippy is well-loved by his brother Scott, his dad, Gramps and Grandma. Alba took care of him like a mother when they were still in Hawaii. When they moved to England though, tons of depressing events happened and the worst was having a nanny like Nanny Meane. Oh yes, she was the meanest ever.

This was where the Fantastical Cat came to the rescue and where Kippy met his animal friends, rabbits, hedgehogs, moles, shrews, and much more. He also found a new friend in Fergus Barnes. Each time Kippy saw the Fantastical Cat, he was on a different adventure. And each time, his heart is transformed, his worries and heartaches gone, and he keeps feeling better every time. I can say, I too was on that journey towards feeling better about myself.

Fantastic book by Mary Barr!

Book Review 6

“Big boys don’t cry.” We hear this often and in the story, both Kippy’s brother and father said this to him to keep him from crying and to comfort him. It made me realize though as a parent that the effect on growing children can be different. Boys often get stereotyped and disallowed from showing any emotion when it should be done as a process as shown in this book.

Ah yes! I learned so much more from this book for kids than I have from adult books.

And how can Kippy be one serving Nanny Meane? She wasn’t really doing anything to help Kippy and worse, was making his life miserable by ordering him around.

Finding the magic rock was the best part for me. Just when things were very gloomy at home, Kippy found refuge and the Fantastical Cat!

A must-read!

Book Review 7

If you were a boy, almost 10 years of age, would you believe in magic?

I read all the information available about the book including the author and I don’t know but there was something about it that attracted me to it. It had this undeniable pull. I work part-time in our public library and I consume all sorts of media at different age levels including children’s and teen’s books. I believe I have developed an instinct for finding the ones truly worth my time.

This, for me, was a magical book in a literal and spiritual sense. The youngsters will enjoy this, especially those who have been sad. They will be reminded about the magic that they should still be enjoying at this stage of their lives.

At the end of the story, they will believe in magical worlds once again.

Book Review 8

The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat is definitely not your typical adventure.

In Hawaii, Kippy is surrounded by a big, loving family and equally fun-loving friends. Kippy’s Gramps is so adorable with his antics. The family had to move to London and life was never the same for Kippy, especially when his father passed away. His brother coaxed him into finding the magic rock at the bottom of the garden. He was struggling to keep happy and believe in magic, especially when Nanny Meane arrived and made it all worse. That was when he met the Fantastical Cat with its blue eyes and the adventures started!

At the end of the day, Kippy understood why Nanny Meane was unhappy as she was and realized he could not stay unhappy forever. Surrounded by love, Kippy with his Fantastical Cat lived life once more!

Book Review 9

Believe in magic and fantastical cats!

In the early parts of the book, I liked the legend of the “naupaka” flowers – how they were two lovers separated by a jealous Pele, a volcano goddess. Hawaii is such a paradise! But then Kippy and his family moved to London and the changes were too much for Kippy. Thank goodness, his brother Scott shared about the magic rock with him. And there, he met a cat with large blue eyes. It was one helluva adventure from there. From the adorable rabbits to the hyperactive moles, to Captain Humphreys, and Fergus, a friend he can share it all with.

We discover the most fantastic of worlds when we least expect it and need it the most.

My nephews would love this!

Book Review 10

Can anyone be angrier and scarier than Nanny Meane? I’m in my forties and I am scared. And what of 9-year-old Kippy? He must have been terrified! His mum was leaving for a honeymoon and his brother Scotty was leaving for Oxford University. Kippy was all alone with Nanny Meane but Scotty uttered the magic words, “…don’t forget when things get really bad, go down to the bottom of the garden, sit on the magic rock and then see what happens.”

I was so happy to see the Fantastical Cat with Kippy. I was so relieved for him. I especially liked Mowie Mole, the little mole, and his grandpa. You have to twirl until all the sadness in your heart is gone and all that’s left is happiness once again!

Read this book with your kids.

Book Review 11

Such a substantial read for a children’s book!

There were numerous lines that I liked in the book but one that struck me goes, “What I wouldn’t give to swim with the fishes just like you. Never underestimate just how lucky you are living here in paradise.” This was Gramps, at his old age, speaking. And it made me think about the value of contentment and appreciating the little things in front of you.

Such a realization became even more significant when Kippy had to leave Hawaii and live in London. The kind of home situation he had there was a hostile environment even for a kid. Thank goodness for the magic rock and what it holds!

If I were a younger kid, I too would want to meet the Fantastical Cat and play underground with the other creatures.

Book Review 12

The book starts with the warmth of family which immediately told me I was going to like this one.

The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat tells the story of Kippy and how he survived the changes in his young life with a little help from the Fantastical Cat. The effect of this book on me is quite personal. It must be why I was drawn to it. I am at a point in my life where I am picking up the pieces after a traumatic divorce and I have been working on making myself happy once again.

I would certainly let my own kids, nephews, and nieces read this. If it had such a positive and productive effect on me, how much more with the little ones, right?

Book Review 13

Hmmmm…what can I say about this book? There’s a natural flow to the story and you just go from page to page…wanting to discover more. I think that it is best suited for youngsters out there, transitioning from an utterly imaginative world into boyhood or girlhood. The 9-year-old character Kippy is turning 10 years old soon but there are changes that he is being confronted with – from living in a new neighborhood, to the death of his father, and having a meanie for a nanny. What helps the little boy survive is a fantastical cat who reaches out to him in a fun and playful world that he very much relates to at his age but also learns from to become stronger as he turns a year older.

Overall, The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat is a charming tale that you can’t help but love.

Book Review 14

If there’s anything that I felt when I first got hold of the book, it was excitement! I mean, just looking at those big cat eyes on the cover. It has got me mesmerized.

Finally meeting the cat in the book made it all worthwhile; I was filled with a different kind of joy. First, it was just the cat’s eyes that revealed themselves to Kippy. But wait for the surprise at the end.

The book is very playful and fun with lots of magical characters you should meet. Kippy can only see them; he is guided by the Fantastical Cat to the world underground but it gave him relief from the reality of the living conditions he had in the real world. 

Book Review 15

After reading the book, I have developed a deep respect for the author and her undeniable talent.

The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat is the first book by Mary Barr that I have encountered. I discovered later that she has written many other books that I’m definitely going to read next.

Indeed, this book is an adventure and an awesome one at that! From a Hawaiian paradise of fishes and turtles to the grandeur that is England, my interest never waned throughout. I cannot say the same though for Kippy as he wasn’t that happy in London as he was in Kona. Kippy soon realized, however, that it wasn’t the place that matters but the people he was with whom he loved and love back the most.

With the help of a beautiful Fantastical Cat of course!

Book Review 16

This is meant to be enjoyed reading with the little ones and older kids.

Mary Barr’s The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat is a story about family, friendship, and the adventure that is called life. Barr has set the standards for children’s books high with this masterpiece of hers. Skillfully written, she is sure to capture the imaginative and extra playful minds of the younger kids by which this was put together for. I recommend, though, that parents and other adults read this together with the kids because there is so much that can be shared together here. The values injected in the fun within this book are a valuable part of the whole reading together as an activity.

Book Review 17

Such a heart-warming tale!

The book is divided into fifteen chapters with a character sheet at the end. Although you would not really need the sheet as the characters are all memorable as the whole story itself. Surely though, each chapter is a new adventure that you will definitely look forward to.

One unforgettable moment for me was found at the end of the book. I’m not gonna spoil it for you but, for me, it was where the whole story came together and it was truly beautiful.

The Fantastical Cat was the one who made it all happen for the little boy Kippy. If not for the adventures the cat brought out for him, he could have turned out to be a miserable boy and grow up to be as unhappy as Nanny Beatrice Meane!

Book Review 18

An adventure, yes…but more than that, it is all about love at a tender age.

The relationship between the brothers, Scott and Kippy, is heart-warming. The older brother, Scott, really looks after the younger one, Kippy. But he also treats him as an equal. I can’t help but empathize with what Kippy was going through at the age of 9. It has brought into perspective what younger kids could be going through that we, adults, could sometimes brush aside.

But Scott came through for him and introduced him to the magic rock. He didn’t really tell Kippy what was there but it was part of the adventure. When Kippy finally saw those big blue cat eyes, he couldn’t help but feel so much better. He met new friends underground and met Fergus Barnes in the real world and the fantastic world.

When the mist cleared, Kippy wallowed once more in the love of his brother, Gramps, Grandma, and mum.

Book Review 19

Change is often painful and this was what happened to Kippy when they had to leave Hawaii for London. Leaving Alba and his friends whom he grew up with on the island seems like an impossible task. London is a strikingly different world compared to carefree Hawaii. From clothing to shoes, to the cold winter and heavy British accent, Kippy wasn’t falling in love with England.

His father’s death, though, was most devastating for him.

To stay away from Beatrice Meane, his new nanny, he was forced to go to the bottom of the garden to sit on the magic rock that his brother Scott told him. He sat very still and focused on the mist as instructed.

In no time, Kippy discovered the wonderful adventures that Scott himself enjoyed when he too was just a young boy.

All I can say is, The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat is not to be missed! Check it out.

Book Review 20

Any child or adult would love to read The Adventures of Kippy Schofield and the Fantastical Cat by Mary Barr. It is a lot of fun, and it is so thrilling to discover the whole new world that it opens your mind to.

As the cat herself will tell you, “Why a magic cat is not nearly as special as a Fantastical Cat. I am a Fantastical Cat and there is an enormous difference.”

I am not as good as Mary Barr in telling you about the whole story but I know for sure that it will take you to a different dimension – one with talking animals who like to play with you, help you feel happy again, teach you a thing or two, and celebrate birthdays with you!

This was such an exceptional read. I encourage you to read this book and hand it down to the younger generation. They will both enjoy it and learn from it.