I’m always on the lookout for a great book that won’t discourage young readers from moving up to middle grade novels. Often they choose something too challenging with 400 pages and a typeset sure to make their eyes wander. Well, look no further because I found the perfect one to begin their wondrous time with MG: Unicorn Island. Here’s the official synopsis:
When Sam arrives in Foggy Harbor, population 3,230, all she can see is a small, boring town that’s way too far from home. And knowing that she’s stuck there all summer with her grumpy Uncle Mitch only makes things worse.
But when Sam discovers a hidden trapdoor leading to a room full of strange artifacts, she realizes Foggy Harbor isn’t as sleepy as it seems. With the help of a new friend, Sam discovers an extraordinary secret beyond the fog: an island of unicorns whose fates are intertwined with hers.
Sam is a character you will surely enjoy. She’s curious, not such a great cook, and with her musician mom always getting a new job—she rarely stays in one place very long. Now with Mom over in Europe, Sam is sent to live with Uncle Mitch in South Carolina. Things get off to a rather rocky start. Fortunately she meets a Tuck, an animal loving boy and a friendship begins. Together they uncover the mystery surrounding Unicorn Island, a fog shrouded place beyond the shores, but not too far off in the distant ocean.
Ten chapters and an epilogue have the story moving along at a steady pace. Read-alone or read aloud, Unicorn Island will for sure capture your imagination.
BOOK BIRTHDAY: February 9, 2021 PAGE COUNT: 224
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: UNICORN ISLAND by DONNA GALANTI
- Colorful illustrations are a welcome addition throughout the pages. They add to the mood and are beautifully done my Bethany Stancliffe (I’ve included her bio below).
- You’ll be satisfied with the story and character arc but will want more. You won’t have to wait long as Book 2 in the series comes out this May.
- It was heartwarming to have Sam possibly finding her forever home and a possible father figure.
- The Unicorns. They’re sparkling white and the most magical creatures you’ll find anywhere. The author gives us a nice introduction to their world.
- The bonus content in the final pages gives background on The History of Unicorns, All About Wyverns, What Does a Veterinarian Do?, Pirates of the Carolinas, and Islands of Wild Horses. They each are informative and even this big adult learned a few new things.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Donna Galanti is the author of the middle grade adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road, which the Midwest Book Review called, “A heart-pounding thrill ride full of unexpected twists and turns from start to finish”. She’s also the author of the follow up, Joshua and the Arrow Realm, and writes the popular Unicorn Island series for Epic, the leading digital platform for kids 12 and under. Donna is a writing contest judge at nycmidnight.com, a member of From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors blog, and regularly presents as a guest author at schools. She also loves teaching at writing conferences on marketing and craft. When she’s not writing you can find her on Twitter or Facebook where she loves to share all things about her outdoor adventures and children’s books. Donna has lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer, and has had a long career in corporate marketing. Visit her at donnagalanti.com.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Bethany Stancliffe is a Central-Washington-based artist who grew up in the Rockies, where she spent her time building tree forts, reading fairy tales, and filling up sketchbooks. Having had a spectrum of creative interests since childhood, she has found a home in illustration, where design and storytelling meet. Following in the footsteps of her parents, Bethany studied art and illustration at BYU-Idaho. She draws most of her inspiration from nature, films, and childhood adventures and has a love for interesting textures and patterns. When she’s not painting, she enjoys exploring outside with her son, Max, and creating original stories with her husband.
I received a copy of the book in return for my honest review. Comments are welcome below!