The Secret of the Magic Pearl

Elisa Sabatinelli, trans. from the Italian by Christopher Turner, illus. by Iacopo Bruno. Red Comet, $21.99 (92p) ISBN 978-1-63655-006-0
Hector’s father is a deep-sea diver who has lost his guide business to an oily, unscrupulous rival. Still, the child is determined to follow in his father’s footsteps, and he longs to find the Pearl, the deep-sea wonder that’s the talk of the village’s old sailors. On his very first dive, Hector stumbles across the Pearl—and that’s when his problems begin. Colorful supporting characters such as Hector’s friend Richard, who admires the evil businessman’s daughter Carlotta and her “very low but sweet voice,” and Anselmo, the stoic old salt who sits in front of Hector’s father’s failed marina, add flavor to this chapter book. So do affectionate descriptions of the seaside village, where umbrella pine trees are “filled with stars and owls.” Sabatinelli, making her children’s debut, narrates deliberately, swinging between reflection and adventure. Diving scenes and undersea sensations are vividly described (“You never age down there,” Hector’s grandfather tells him), all translated with skill and flair by Turner. Bruno (Mesmerized) drafts characters (who read as white) and scenery with polished elegance; hand-drawn chapter heading banners, labeled vignettes, and brilliant colors give the pages a luxe feel. Ages 6–10. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 10/14/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-6665-2665-3
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