Friday, January 8, 2010

Review-"Island of the Blue Dolphins"

"Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell
Yearling-Random House Children's Books, originally published by Houghton Mifflin Company
Juvenile Fiction
Published 1960, 184 pages
Winner of John Newbery Medal in 1961
Book bought by me for the purpose of reading and review...and passing on to my grandchildren.

I read "Island of the Blue Dolphins" when I was 10 years old. Reading the book changed my life. It started a passion for reading in me that has never diminished.
When I recently read the opening line, "I remember the day the Aleut ship came to our island." Like a bolt of lightening I was awakened as if I'd been asleep, and I remembered the passion I'd had for this book, this small 184 page paperback book.
I've noticed that as an adult when I re-read books I'd read as a child, I notice or pick up on things I had not before. I'm sure this is normal, it makes for re-reading of these books similar to reading them for the first time.

"Island of the Blue Dolphins" is based on a true tale of "The Lost or Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island."
The story is of a woman that lived alone on the island for 18 years after she jumped the ship that carried the rest of her people to California. There are various reasons given as to why she jumped the ship and swam back to island.
Information about this story is at the following links.

"Island of the Blue Dolphins" is one of eight island that are apart of the Channel Islands in the Pacific Ocean just off the Southern California coast. The size of the island is eight miles by 3 miles. In the book it is explained that it is shaped like a dolphin. The real name of the island is San Nicolas island.

The story "Island of the Blue Dolphins" is the story of Karana. Karana is a young woman that lives on this island with her people, a small group of Indians. They call the island Ghalas-at. Karana's father is the chief, she has a young brother Ramo, and a sister Ulape. Early in the story Karana and her people are told they are to be re-located by ship to somewhere else. Karana believes that her brother is aboard the ship with all of their people. She sees him still on the island and she jumps off of the ship and into the ocean swimming back to the island. Most of the book is of Karana's survival on the island and waiting for the ship to come back.

The character Karana is a heroine in that she is an intelligent, resourceful, wise, contemplative, quick learner, compassionate, resilient, and faithful young woman. She is bold and adventurous, she is patient and loving. Her character is of all of those traits that appeal to humanity. I was swept away by her story, hoping for her survival.
The book is not a wordy book-verbs are used-but needless words are omitted leaving room for the mind of the reader to fill in.
The book is written without certain details that would upset children.
The story of Karana kept me turning the page wanting to know what her next adventure would be, how would she survive, when would she be rescued?

Blissful Reading!


Daphne said...

I read this when I was about that same age - longer ago than I care to remember! I loved it and I couldn't wait until my daughter was old enough to read it as well. It was always one of her favorite books too.

Jenny Girl said...

I have never heard of this book, but your review makes me want to read it. Good job :)

Annette said...

Thank you Daphne and Jenny Girl for commenting.
Please come back again!