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Pikachu in Love by Tracey West is the first book in the Pokémon Reader series, which is designed for beginning readers. It was published by Scholastic in January 2003.
This book follows the plot of the anime episode A Better Pill to Swallow.
The book starts with Ash and his his friends meeting a strange person. The strange person says he is Old Man Shuckle, and he make special medicine for Pokémon. Brock asks Old Man Shuckle how he does this, and Old Man Shuckle replies that it is a secret, and that he uses a Pokémon called Shuckle. Brock begs that Old Man Shuckle tell him, and Old Man Shuckle explains each step. First, he put secret ingredients inside the Shuckle shell. Then he let the Shuckle loose in the wild. A year later, he found the Shuckle again, and took the juice out of the shell. Old Man Shuckle adds that there is even a special kind of juice that can make any Pokémon easy to catch and train. He says that to make it, one must use a rare blue Shuckle. Brock exclaims that if he had that juice, he could become the world’s best Pokémon Trainer. Old Man Shuckle replies that he can he can give Brock some of the juice, but he and his friends must help him. Old Man Shuckle calls out his Bellsprout. Old Man Shuckle explains that his Bellsprout’s name is Spoopie, and that it can sniff out wild Shuckle. Old Man Shuckle states that he needs them to follow Spoopie and collect the blue Shuckle for him. Brock replies that he shall help, and Ash and Misty agree, following Spoopie into the woods.
Spoopie sniffs the air and runs, and Misty notes that Spoopie is very speedy. Spoopie finds lots of Shuckle and throws them into the air for the others to catch. Then Spoopie runs off again, even with Brock calling out for it to slow down. Spoopie finds the rare blue Shuckle, however Team Rocket suddenly drops down from the trees. Jessie cries that the blue Shuckle is theirs now, and James sends out Weezing, commanding it to use SmokeScreen. With smoke filling the air, Team Rocket escapes. Jessie exclaims that she is thirsty, and drinks the juice from the blue Shuckle, James drinking some of the juice after her. Meowth’s eyes become hearts, and he subsequently gives James a big hug and a kiss. Nearby, the wild Shuckle begin to move. Ash asks where the Shuckle are going, and Old Man Shuckle explains that someone drank the blue Shuckle juice, and that one should never drink it right from the shell, as it makes Pokémon fall in love with the drinker.
The Shuckle, all being in love with Jessie, attempt to lick her face. Screaming in disgust, Jessie runs away. Team Rocket run into Ash and his friends, and Misty demands they give back the blue Shuckle immediately. Jessie says that she will fight them first, calling on Wobbuffet and Arbok. Under the effects of the blue Shuckle juice, Wobbuffet and Arbok do not want to attack and instead wanted to hug Jessie. Ash commands Pikachu to use Thunderbolt, but Pikachu does not attack, as he is in love with Jessie. Old Man Shuckle, yelling that it has gone too far, runs up and sprinkles a powder on all of the Pokémon. Old Man Shuckle explains that the powder has cured all the Pokémon, and thus the Pokémon were not in love with Jessie and James anymore.
Spoopie uses Vine Whip to take the blue Shuckle from Jessie’s arms. Jessie brags that they still have Pikachu, but Pikachu is not in love with Jessie anymore and shocks Team Rocket, causing them to blast off. Old Man Shuckle thanks Brock for finding the blue Shuckle and presents the special juice he promised, explaining that he can use it to catch and train any Pokémon. Brock politely declines, explaining that he wants his Pokémon to love him for what he is, not because of any juice. Ash states that he thinks they already do, and Pikachu agrees.
Uh-oh! Jessie and James drank Shuckle juice. The juice makes Pokémon fall in love with them. Can Ash find a cure? Or will Pikachu love Team Rocket forever?
- In the book, Spoopy is misspelled as Spoopie.
- Smokescreen (as it should have been spelled at the time) is spelled with spacing as 'Smoke Screen'.
- In the episode the book was based on, the special Shuckle was referred to as the purple Shuckle. In the book, it is referred to as the blue Shuckle.