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Island of the Blue Dolphins (Puffin Books) [Paperback]

Scott O'Dell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Aug 1996 Puffin Books

Twelve-year-old Karana escapes death at the hands of treacherous hunters, only to find herself totally alone on a harsh desolate island. How she survives in the face of all sorts of dangers makes gripping and inspiring reading.

Based on a true story.

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Frequently Bought Together

Island of the Blue Dolphins (Puffin Books) + My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics) + Number the Stars (Essential Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; New Impression edition (29 Aug 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140302689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140302684
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 11 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Scott O'Dell won the Newbery Medal for Island of the Blue Dolphins in 1961, and in 1976 the Children's Literature Association named this riveting story one of the 10 best American children's books of the past 200 years. O'Dell was inspired by the real-life story of a 12-year-old American Indian girl, Karana. The author based his book on the life of this remarkable young woman who, during the evacuation of Ghalas-at (an island off the coast of California), jumped ship to stay with her young brother who had been abandoned on the island. He died shortly thereafter, and Karana fended for herself on the island for 18 years.

O'Dell tells the miraculous story of how Karana forages on land and in the ocean, clothes herself (in a green-cormorant skirt and an otter cape on special occasions), and secures shelter. Perhaps even more startlingly, she finds strength and serenity living alone on the island. This beautiful edition of Island of the Blue Dolphins is enriched with 12 full-page watercolour paintings by Ted Lewin, illustrator of more than 100 children's books, including Ali, Child of the Desert. A gripping story of battling wild dogs and sea elephants, this simply told, suspenseful tale of survival is also an uplifting adventure of the spirit.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
My son is 9 years old and typically does not enjoy reading - I would say that he has an average reading ability for his age. We have tried many books to try to get him reading of his own accord, but had mediocre results. We got this book through an Amazon recommendation and when it arrived really didn't hold out much hope that he would get to grips with it. But we persevered and encouraged him to read a chapter to me or his Dad at bedtime each night and we did help him out with some words that he'd never encountered before (e.g., abalone, Aleuts to name but a few) in the first couple of chapters. It's also written in a more old-fashioned style (don't let that put you off though) - we encouraged him to ask questions about what stuff meant and he has done that repeatedly. We are more than half way through the book now and we can already see the improvement in his reading, making sentences more interesting to listen to by emphasis and use of the punctuation. The first couple of nights he groaned about having to read the book, but then it got him and he's pestered us ever since to listen to him read! How fabulous is that?! We're now more than half way through and he said last night that he didn't want to finish the book because he'd miss reading it! Then, as he was reading, I could hear the emotion in his voice at one point and was surprised to see tears running down his face - he was totally submerged in the story and feeling the emotion of the story - I explained to him that he had nothing to feel embarrassed about as I firmly believe that to feel the story so vividly is the mark of a truly great book and a great author. He's turned a real corner and this is the book that has done it - I just hope to find another book that excites him as much as this one has!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
I read this book at age 11 and am now close to the forty mark but when girlfriends asked me cynically whether any book had ever had the power to change my life. I instantly said yes, and that book was Island of the Blue Dolphins! It is a book that not only features a girl as a strong character but it celebrates her resoursefullness, humanity, earth -conscious ingenuity, and hard work. She can create what she needs with her own two hands and think problems through to a solution. I believe she was the first real, non-comic, heroine I had ever read of and in my mind she is still the best!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Island of the blue dolphins by Scott o'Dell 25 Oct 2002
Island of the blue dolphins is based on a true story about a girls struggle for survival when she is stranded on a lonely and deserted island.
Once populated by her and her tribe but after they are killed by Aleuts and the rest of the tribe flee to another island leaving her and her brother Ramo stranded there. After the death of her brother 12 year old Karana must adapt to life on this harsh and dangerous island now populated by many species of animals like wild dogs and sea creatures.
I would definately recommend this book to people over the age of 10 as parts are hard to understand sometimes with the type of language used. This book is definately 10/10 as every chapter unfolds more excitement and adventures.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Karana: Tenacious and Hopeful Hero 24 Jun 2005
As a child, my grade school librarian wore out from me asking to borrow so often. Later, as a private tutor, my students chose this again and again. "Island of the Blue Dolphins" lives up to its reputation as one of the greatest children's book ever.
Libraries are good for borrowing books, but some books should be on the shelf of any young reader. Scott O'Dell's magnificent "Island of the Blue Dolphins" is just that. Save your librarian some grief and buy a copy.
"The Island of the Blue Dolphins" is the story of a foolish young girl who missed the boat when the island was being evacuated. Far from it. Karana was on the boat. Her playful little brother, Ramo, wasn't. He was only 6 years old and could never survive alone. She jumped off and headed to shore to save him. The boat left.
Every little girl or boy has been alone, frightened without a clear way of finding his or her way home. Often, the problem is fixed by turning the next corner, finding out it is the same neighborhood it has always been. In the case of "The Island of the Blue Dolphins," Karana's home never changes. Everyone she knows and loves, however, leaves.
For 18 years Karana took care of herself, and she grows from a preteen child into a woman just entering her 30s. This is that story, filled with adventures similar to "Robinson Crusoe," another true story set to fiction. Fans of "Swiss Family Robinson," will likewise enjoy this.
Karana's ingenuity to survive is surpassed by her tenacity and hope. Weathering hard circumstances, such wild dogs, storms and the constant need to find fresh food and good water. She uses what she learned from her parents and other villagers before the left, and what she learns by trial an error.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful little story 25 Mar 2014
By Wildy
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
Island of the Blue Dolphins is a wonderful little story written beautifully and with lots of emotion.I would recommend it to children and adults alike!
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Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
We find ourselves on the Island of the Blue Dolphins with Karana, her brother, family and tribe, living as a native people would. However the red sails of an Aleut ship are in sight, and knowing that this has caused trouble in the past, Karana’s father takes care in his negotiations with them for the hunting of otters in their waters. Despite his care things turn bad, and then worse. A different ship arrives, offering to take the remainder of the tribe to safety in the east, but Karana’s brother turns back to fetch something he has forgotten, and Karana leaps from a canoe, which is taking her from the island to the ship, to find him.

What follows is the tale of Karana’s life fending for herself on a deserted island. There are friendships and fights, hardships and successes. She overcomes her superstitions and her fears, and shows her resourcefulness and patience.

The tale is beautifully written, and whilst not paying too much attention to detail, I felt that there are enough hints for anyone with the misfortune to be stranded on a desert island to make the best of their opportunities. I expect these days it is read in schools with plenty of additional material for children to try their hand at crafting some of the items Karana makes, although perhaps substituting something more mundane for cormorant feathers or elephant seal tusks. I might like to try mapping the island or drawing the view of Coral Cove.

The story is based on a legend that appears to have substance, of a girl stranded on an island to the west of California, who was eventually rescued and brought to Santa Monica to live out her days. I’m not sure whether that is important, but I do know that it is an enchanting tale in the best of senses, and one that will spur many readers to imagine themselves in Karana’s footprints when they next go paddling around rock pools or exploring sea-caves by canoe.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars True book
True but sad story. The heroine is the last of her native american race, living on an island off the coast of San Diego. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Regula Stöcki
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book for young readers
Great book with vivid descriptions of life on a Pacific island for a brave young girl. Really good for children aged 7-9 years old with lots to discuss.
Published 8 months ago by Ian Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Really good book interesting and fun to read, this book will make you think, I await the arrival of another book
Published 16 months ago by Mr D Sargison
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite Book as a Child
It was lovely to find this book in brand new condition. I read it as a child and wanted to read it to my class. Thank you for being able to supply me a new copy.
Published 16 months ago by Ruth Doctor
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
We had read reviews about this book which were all good, so when we read it I was not suprised that it was a good book. I would recommend it.
Published on 18 Jan 2011 by Niem
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic story to return to again and again.
I cannot tell you how many times I have read this book in my life. I have had to replace it 3 times. I loan it out and it never gets returned!! I can't blame them. Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2010 by Helen
4.0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Story
This book was made into a film which I later saw.

A very sad story which holds memories for me. Read more
Published on 12 July 2009 by juliet R
5.0 out of 5 stars the book which got many -many prizes
I like this novel very much. I must say that this book was a "winner" of the most famous awards in children literature and got Andersen' gold medal. Read more
Published on 4 Oct 2005 by Elena
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