This wonderful tale from Italy has been translated into English. Colorful illustrations appear throughout. They are nothing short of fantastic. Along with the pictures is a story about 8-year-old Hector and his love for the ocean and diving. Young readers new to middle grade will find the plot appealing. The book also makes an excellent read-aloud.

Hector’s family operates a marina that caters to anyone wanting to explore the wonders of the sea. When a dishonest man opens up a new store, he puts the competition out of business. Now the family lives inland, but better times are ahead. A first sea dive with his dad makes Hector a celebrity after he finds the legendary and valuable Pearl. His good fortune doesn’t last long but he must make things right for the good of his family and the ocean he longs for.

Hector’s first person narration takes us through 13 chapters and the voice portrayed is strong. Each chapter has a unique title all beginning with “About.” Examples include “About how a starfish helps me to be brave” and “About why I am, and always will be, a deep sea diver.”

An added bonus is a two page spread of nautical flags and another two pages picturing the parts of a diving suit.

THE SECRET OF THE MAGIC PEARL is a charming and beautiful book.

ELISA SABATINELLI is a writer living in Milan, Italy, and works at a book publisher. She has published several of her own short stories and a novel for adults. This is her first book for children.

IACOPO BRUNO is a graphic designer and award-winning illustrator of numerous books including Sergeant Reckless, by Patrica McCormick which won the Texas Bluebonnet Award. He lives and works in Milan, Italy.


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About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Sounds a nice story for the younger readers 🙂

  2. msyingling says:

    I sent this one on to the elementary school. Just not quite what my students want.

  3. What an engaging story for younger readers. Is Hector really wearing an old-fashioned diving suit — or is this a period piece? I love the unusual chapter titles. Great share today!

  4. Pingback: THE WAY I SAY IT | Always in the Middle…

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