Unicorn Island: Beyond the Portal, by Donna Galanti

Unicorn Island: Beyond the Portal, by Donna Galanti, illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe (April 4, 2023 by Andrews McMeel Publishing), is the third and final book in one of the strongest new fantasy series for the younger range of middle grade (8-10 year olds, or even 7 year old voracious readers like young me).  That being said, there aren't, actually, all that many books for this demographic compared to all the series for kids 10-14, which means these books really feel a felt need, and kids who loved all the magical vet books like the Pip Bartlett series, the Imaginary Veterinary Series and the like will find the Unicorn Island a good place to continue their fantasy reading! Here are my reviews for Unicorn Island and Secret Beneath the Sand, the first two books- the series really needs to be read in order both to understand what's happening and appreciate the steadily deepening plot.

Discovering Unicorn Island, a sanctuary for magical creatures, and learning the father she'd never met before was its caretaker was just the start of Sam's adventures.  In this final book, she's determined to find her biological mom, who vanished through a portal into the land that was the unicorns original home, a place where they were hunted almost to extinction.   Her best friends, Tuck, and a young unicorn, Barloc, go with her.  They have only a narrow window to find Sam's mother....and when they discover, to their horror, that unicorn hunting is still being practiced, and Barloc is captured, things become very tense indeed!  And then Sam finds that her mother is the community unicorn hunter, who takes their horns from them, and all her hopes for bringing this stranger back into her life are upended.

But things aren't black and white.  The community needs the magic of the unicorn horns to survive; they aren't just hunting them for fun.  She can't let Barloc be robbed of his magic, but she wants to help the townsfolk too....fortunately, with a little luck, lots of determination, and unicorn magic, she and her friends find a way to save not only the town but the de-horned unicorns.

It's not a deeply complex story, as expected, but it is a satisfying and memorable one, full of unicorn goodness, an interesting ethical dilemma, and the mending of a family.  The full color illustrations add to the charm.

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher


  1. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing Beyond the Portal! :)

  2. I would have liked this at that age. However, I suspect strong readers just start reading above their age level if they don't find the books for their actual age range.


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