It was only when I finished reading the book did I get to know that it was based on a true story The sequel might be worth reading too.Such tragedy followed by sweet tales worthy of Mowgli, but what indubitably would have been a life of work and loneliness I thought that since the beginning the author wanted to share his story with people of all ages, and it shows.Karana was a transparent character, by which I mean we know all her thoughts Yet we don t know her reasons for her acts of mercy towards the animals on the island We do get an explanation, but still the adventures of a survivor lend themselves to tragedy, loneliness and instinct. Back in the 70s and early 80s teachers liked to make their students cry, and so they forced them to read books like Island of the Blue Dolphins, which is just the kind of good old fashioned heartbreaking stuff to do the trick It starts of great this story of a Chumash local natives to the Santa Barbara, California area tribe taken by surprise by fur hunters and then taken from their island, accidentally leaving behind a brother and a sister There is sorrow a plenty The tale trots along, even stepping it up to a steady canter for about the first quarter or third Then the narrative devolves into a Robinson Crusoe style listing of things done by or to the main character, Karana, while she s stuck alone on an island As short as Island is, it grinds on through the middle to a dull yet somehow still sorrowful finish I figured this weekend was as good time as any to read this while I was visiting Santa Barbara, since the real life story it s based upon happened on one of the islands just off the coast What would ve made this infinitely compelling would ve been the simple adding of motive If O dell has suppled Karana a fervent desire to get off the island and get back to her people, that would ve given the reader something to pull for But he did not I don t know the real story well enough to say, but from what I recall I have a feeling the author was trying to stay true to the actual account All I have to say for that is, leave that to the biographers and historians You re writing fact based fiction here, my friend You re allowed a little leeway.Rating Note 3.5 When my defiant preteen daughter stands before me in great protest to any one of my many actions or words, she often resembles Disney s Pocahontas She has tan skin and black hair that touches her waist and dark eyes that are kept busy with a vigilant observance of the world s injustices and her mother s shortcomings If she s not on horseback, then she s standing before you, holding a cat or a small rodent or a dog Or a strange, stuffed chinchilla.So, when this middle child of mine received the Island of the Blue Dolphins for Christmas, I thought how perfect How perfect for her She s just shy of 10, and so ready to think herself capable of being away from adults and alone on an island, stringing beads for necklaces and communing with wild dogs.And that s about all I remembered from this 6th grade read of mine a girl, stranded alone on an island Wild dogs Abalone Whatever in the hell I thought that was in middle school I m quite sure I didn t look it up in a dictionary Yes, we used to have things in classrooms called dictionaries Okay, so, stranded island girl, wild dogs, abalone yes, they were all there, waiting to greet me again at my return, but I had forgotten something better this book s ability to provoke some thoughtful conversations.See, this story s not so strong on character development or dialogue does anyone even speak , but our island girl, Karana, is faced with many predicaments Karana s story provides many opportunities to turn to an interested tween and ask with ease, What would you do My daughter was absolutely riveted by the story, from beginning to end, and the most beautiful part for me, in this read aloud was when the lonely Karana ends up being ushered home by a school of dolphins a swarm of dolphins appeared They came swimming out of the west, but as they saw the canoe they turned around in a great circle and began to follow me They swam up slowly and so close that I could see their eyes, which are large and the color of the ocean Then they swam on ahead of the canoe, crossing back and forth in front of it, diving in and out, as if they were weaving a piece of cloth with their broad snouts.Dolphins are animals of good omen It made me happy to have them swimming around the canoe, and though my hands had begun to bleed from the chafing of the paddle, just watching them made me forget the pain I was very lonely before they appeared, but now I felt that I had friends with me and did not feel the same.My daughter sat up after this passage, and, with tears in her eyes, announced, Mommy It was the ancestors The ancestors sent those dolphins to Karana in her darkest moment, to bring her joy And that s what animals, do, Mommy, they bring us joy And, by the story s end, Karana feels the same way, when she makes the decision to stop killing animals for their hides, feathers and teeth The island girl realizes that the animals have been her sole companions on this long stretch of isolation and decides that animals and birds are like people, too, though they do not talk the same or do the same things Without them the earth would be an unhappy place It is a simple story, with very little action or dialogue, but a whole lot of deep thinks and feels for those tricky preteens. If this book just so happens to be one of your childhood favorites, and you notice my rating here, you may be asking yourself, Why must I forever be soiling all the things you hold dear Ah, that s a good question and one that I often ponder myself But, in fairness, I didn t actually hate this story According to the GR rating standards, two and a half stars means it was slightly better than okay, but I can t quite say that I liked it How about I just say it was underwhelming and leave it at that The story is that of a twelve year old girl who, through a series of unfortunate events, winds up marooned on a deserted island For fear of spoiling things, due to the shortness of the novel, I ll leave out the particulars which led to her isolation The writing style is fairly simplistic I walked here I paddled there I made this I caught that I built a shelter I watched for ships the winds blew heavily the stars shone brightly the seasons turned the years passed Some of the day to day activity is rather monotonous, but she does go on a few adventures and gathers a few animal companions along the way One of the highlights, for me, was her battle with the devilfish Frustratingly though, the details are scarce What became of the devilfish after the fight, or her pet birds after the Aleutians arrived, or the dozen other nagging little questions I had that were left unanswered Not only are the details in short supply, but the seasons fly by at a staggering pace Years are whisked away in a single sentenceAfter two springs had gone, on a morning of white clouds and calm seas, the ship came backAlso, some of the terminologies seemed outdated or flat out wrong What s this about a swarm of dolphins A group of dolphins is known as a pod they re not insects, man Or, what about that devilfish business That s a rather generic term, don t you think Shouldn t you specify whether it was a squid or an octopus They re entirely different species, for heaven s sake Typically while reading, I highlight passages, here and there, to use in a review or simply to save for later musings, but not so here There was nary a passage of note which caught my eye However, if you pause to consider that this story was written for children at least I hope it was , with a message that empowers young girls to believe in themselves believe that they re than capable of fending for themselves even in the direst situations then I think the story deserves the benefit of the doubt and warrants the rounding up of my rating to three stars There s really no need to besmirch its good name any further Lastly, there s an interesting author s note at the end of the book which details the inspiration behind the story It s stated that O Dell attempted to recreate the historical account of The Lost Woman of San Nicolas an Indian woman from the nineteenth century who lived alone, on a small island off the coast of California for eighteen years His story stayed true to much of the known history Read as part of another Non Crunchy Cool Classic Buddy Read. Wanda s Summer Carnival of Children s Literature Well, this was a blast from the past I remember reading this probably several times during grade 5 or 6, maybe both Funny what I remember from those childhood readings my take away from it was that girls could do whatever they needed to and just as well as anyone else.Looking at it now through adult eyes, I see a lot of what the author was trying to do His wildlife conservation message is thump you on the head obvious to me now I can also admire how he took a historical fact an Indian woman who had lived alone on a small island off the coast of California for 18 years and filled in quite believable adventures for her to experience I can see where nature loving mini me would have been captivated by her taming of wild dogs, Western Tanagers and sea otters Being a child with no playmates of my own age living close by our farm, I also spent a lot of time adventuring alone and could relate to her solitude.For me, this one stood the test of time. Might I be bored, annoyed, or disgusted with Scott O Dell s many works from the viewpoints of young women If I read them now, sure, I might be.But I SWORE BY Scott O Dell when I was 10 12 years old, and I think that s what mattered The girls in the books spoke to me, and they were written for me then, not for the me that is now.I will buy his books for my younger cousins, and hope they get the sense of self and adventure that these short novels offer. A beautiful, true survival story of a resilient young girl who was stranded alone on an island for 18 years Karana s remarkable story is not to be missed A story that is as enjoyable for adults as it is for older children I never read Island of the Blue Dolphins as a child, although I m positive I wouldn t have liked it then either As everyone in Karana s tribe is evacuating the island, she looks back and realizes her little brother has been left behind She jumps out of the boat and swims back to the island, where they live there alone until her brother is killed After his death, she makes friends with an otter and one of the wild dogs that may or may not have killed her brother Of course, as the days turn into months and the months turn into years, her animal friends move on or pass away, which only makes her even lonely.In his footnotes, O Dell says Island of the Blue Dolphins is based on the the girl Robinson Crusoe who actually lived alone upon this island from 1835 to 1853, and is known to history as The Lost Woman of San Nicolas I cannot fathom what that life would be like, but I thought O Dell s interpretation was pretty boring All the action occurred in the beginning and the remainder of the novel is spent waiting for Karana to be rescued.Although, come to find out, being rescued isn t all it s cracked up to be Karana s entire tribe was killed when their boat sunk off the cost of present day California, and she is unable to communicate with her rescuers, which only further plunges her into loneliness.It s such a sad, lonely little book that I immediately shoved aside my other books and went to go bug my family into doing something together. An Alternate Cover Edition Can Be Found HereIn The Pacific There Is An Island That Looks Like A Big Fish Sunning Itself In The Sea Around It, Blue Dolphins Swim, Otters Play, And Sea Elephants And Sea Birds Abound Once, Indians Also Lived On The Island And When They Left And Sailed To The East, One Young Girl Was Left BehindThis Is The Story Of Karana, The Indian Girl Who Lived Alone For Years On The Island Of The Blue Dolphins Year After Year, She Watched One Season Pass Into Another And Waited For A Ship To Take Her Away But While She Waited, She Kept Herself Alive By Building Shelter, Making Weapons, Finding Food, And Fighting Her Enemies, The Wild Dogs It Is Not Only An Unusual Adventure Of Survival, But Also A Tale Of Natural Beauty And Personal Discovery You know a book will stay with you forever when you reread it after probably 20 years and still hear your elementary school librarian s voice in your head as you read it.