UNICORN ISLAND Secret Beneath the Sand


I was first introduced to this series last year with Book 1, Unicorn Island. It has memorable characters and an enchanting story line. Sam is the main character and when visiting an uncle she discovers a mysterious island full of mythical beasts. What a pleasure it was to find out that Book 2, UNICORN ISLAND Secret Beneath the Sand is available now.

You may have started with the first book, but if not the author does a great job of bringing you up to speed. Life in Foggy Harbor is second to none. Sam is training to become a unicorn protector like Uncle Mitch. Her new friend Tuck is also there to provide support.

A huge problem surfaces when a scourge spreads through the unicorn herd and threatens their existence. Sam and Tuck, along with Tuck’s veterinary mom, vow to help Uncle Mitch save these precious creatures. Along the way Sam learns the truth behind the disappearance of Aunt Sylvie, leading to a huge reveal that will change Sam’s future.

Colorful, mostly full-page illustrations are spaced out among the pages. They add to the appeal of both the setting and characters. The emotions are clear on each face from each magical image.

The print style is easy on the eyes and perfect for those new middle grade readers. Each of the 13 chapters moves a a quick pace, and the end will come before you are ready. Thankfully there is Book 3 that will be coming out soon.

Secret Beneath the Sand is a welcome continuation in the mystery and intrigue of Unicorn Island. Those in grades 4-6 have another winner with this release.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: March 8, 2022 PAGE COUNT: 224


  1. Keeping with the format of Book 1, there are extras in the final pages. Learn about What are Horns and Hooves Made Of?; Secret Rooms and Passageways; What are Invasive Species?; What Makes Lightning Bugs Glow?; and How do Salves Work?
  2. The twist at the end was unexpected and I’m hoping more will come about with this in the next book.
  3. The unicorn magic is still here despite these beautiful creatures’ single horn, which is the source of their magic, disappearing more each day. A great technique to show the distress the characters face.
  4. A diverse cast with all contributing to the plot.
  5. Unlike a lot of MG fantasy books these days, you can be wrapped up in a magical place without having the typical 300 – 400 page count.


Donna Galanti decided she was a grown up for far too long. She luckily gave that up to write children’s books. 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 (hardcover, February 2021, Andrews McMeel).

Donna is a member of From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors blog, and regularly presents as a guest author at schools. She also teaches writers on marketing and craft at writing conferences and through her online courses. When she’s not writing you can find her on Twitter or Facebook where she loves to share all things about outdoor adventures and children’s books. Donna has lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer where she served with Fleet Intelligence Pacific, and has had a long career in corporate marketing. Visit her at donnagalanti.com. She is represented by Liza Fleissig with the Liza Royce Agency in NYC.

(For more about Donna, be sure to visit her author web site)


Bethany Stancliffe is an illustrator working in Children’s Literature, Comics, Magazine, Concept and Character Design. Her most recent projects include the Unicorn Island series published by EPIC! and Dear Mr. Dickens published by Albert Whitman& Co.

(see some of her work here)


I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Comments are welcome below.

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, MMGM Links and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to UNICORN ISLAND Secret Beneath the Sand

  1. The first book in the series is on my TBR – will have to move it up now! Thanks for the review

  2. donnagalanti says:

    Greg, thank you so much for reading Secret Beneath the Sand and posting such a thoughtful review! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Look for the third and final book out next winter where all the mysteries are wrapped up. 🙂

  3. I just finished book 1 and really enjoyed it. I like that it’s a shorter fantasy series, and it was fun reading one with illustrations.

  4. Diane F says:

    I’m so happy that book 2 has arrived. I will sneak a read in before giving this to my daughter. Thanks for telling us about it.

  5. I so enjoyed the first book and have been waiting for the sequel. It sounds like another exciting adventure. I do like the print size because it will appeal to kids beginning to read MG novels.

  6. Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    I haven’t had a chance to try this series, but I’ve seen so much praise for book 1 that I’m excited for all those readers who now get to continue the story! Thanks so much for the thoughtful review, Greg!

  7. Andrea Mack says:

    Oh, I hadn’t heard about this, but I know so many kids who love unicorns! Sounds like a winner!! It’s nice to see a shorter MG fantasy!

  8. I like that this is a shorter book. I don’t even want to start some of those 300-400 page books! Thanks for sharing.

  9. carolbaldwin says:

    A book to keep in mind for my granddaughter. Thanks.

  10. I am just beginning this book tonight- so I am not going to read your review yet! But I will be back to check it out- and I will be reviewing it on my blog in just a couple weeks. Best of luck to Donna!

  11. This book is getting a LOT of buzz. I think this is the third review I’ve seen of it this week. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  12. Antoinette Truglio Martin says:

    This sounds like a book series my granddaughter would LOVE

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