THE SECRET OF THE MAGIC PEARL, by Elisa Sabatinelli and Iacopo Bruno, Red Comet Press, Oct. 12, 2021, Hardcover, $21.99 (ages 6-10)
A boy must save his family business and his dream of becoming a deep-sea diver in The Secret of the Magic Pearl, by Elisa Sabatinelli and Iacopo Bruno.
Hector lives with his family at the Marina in an Italian coastal town where they organize tourist expeditions to explore the many wonders of the sea. Hector’s dream is to become a deep-sea diver, just like his father. Then, one day, an unscrupulous entrepreneur opens a much newer center next door, forcing them to close their business. This man has a single purpose, to find the legendary Pearl in order to sell it and make money. Hector decides to find a way to thwart the plan and save what matters most to him: the sea, his family, and his dream. —Synopsis provided by Red Comet Press
The Secret of the Magic Pearl is a picture/chapter book hybrid with full-color illustrations throughout.
And. It. Is. Gorgeous.
From the bold and magical illustrations to the eccentric characters, everything about The Secret of the Magic Pearl feels special.
Short chapters are broken up by a mix of small, medium and full-page spreads that get to the heart of the story. The tale itself is charming and a bit quirky. I’ve never read/seen anything like it.
Though The Secret of the Magic Pearl is illustrated, it somehow feels older, like an art book rather than a chapter book. This should help with the appeal to older middle-readers. It’s one of my favorite finds of 2021, and will definitely be on my holiday gift guide.