Unicorn Island: Secret Beneath the Sand (Vol. 2)
Donna Galanti, Author
Bethany Stanecliffe, Illustrator
Andrews McMeel Publishing, Mar. 8, 2022
Suitable for ages: 8-12
Themes: Unicorns, Mythical creatures, Mysterious Island, Adventure, Fantasy, Friendship
Book Jacket Synopsis:
Samantha’s (Sam) life couldn’t get much better. Since coming to Foggy Harbor to stay with her Uncle Mitch while her mother tours with an orchestra, she’s discovered a magical island full of unicorns and is learning how to protect them with her new friend, Tuck by her side. Foggy Harbor is finally starting to feel like home,
But just when everything seems perfect, a mysterious illness befalls the unicorn herd and threatens to rob them of their immortality. As Sam and Tuck race to help find a cure, she must confront a dark secret that her Uncle Mitch has spent her entire life trying to protect her from — a secret that links her own past to the future of the herd.
learns the truth behind Aunt Sylvie’s disappearance and her own connection to the island. With determination, courage, and fierce loyalty to one another—and to their code as unicorn protectors—the kids set out to protect the island’s secrecy and the unicorns’ very existence.
Why I like this book:
Donna Galanti’s Unicorn Island: Secret Beneath Sand is the second volume in this enchanting contemporary fantasy, which is packed with adventure, mystery and tension. It will captivate readers’ imaginations and lure them into a magical world of mythical beasts where they can learn to become “unicorn protectors.”
The characters are diverse and believable. Samantha (Sam) is a curious and resilient protagonist who longs to become a unicorn protector. She befriends Tuck, the veterinarian’s son, is very resourceful during difficult situations and a supportive friend. Uncle Mitch is somewhat stern and elusive at first, but welcomes their help when he needs rescuing. Sam can’t help but feel that Uncle Mitch is keeping secrets from her.
Galanti’s narrative is engaging and immersive, Her plot is solid with elements of danger that will keep readers quickly turning pages. The story also has a strong element of realism. This is the second volume with four books to follow. And it ends with some interesting cliffhangers.
Although Unicorn Island is for students 8-12, it will also appeal to younger readers (7-10) who aren’t quite ready for wordy and lengthy MG fantasy novels. The book has a large type face and includes many gorgeous colorful illustrations by Bethany Stancliffe, which add to the magic. I believe this book would also appeal to reluctant readers and kids with dyslexia.
Make sure you check out the great backmatter at the end of the book. Galanti shares some history about horns and hooves, secret rooms and passageways, invasive species, and healing salves.
Donna Galanti wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote a screenplay at seven years old and acted it out with the neighborhood kids. She attended an English school, housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse and is the author of the middle-grade fantasy adventures Joshua and The Lightning Road and Joshua and the Arrow Realm.
*Reviewed from a library copy.