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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 27 September 2010
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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on 11 December 2014
When my fourth grade granddaughter switched schools, we realized she was far behind in math. My husband decided to tutor her in math and I agreed to assist her with reading - no problem there since I read a minimum of one or two books nearly every single day.

I chose this book because it had lots of favorable reviews and was free on KU. Had it been left up to me, I would have finished this book in an hour or so. But, although my granddaughter is a good little reader, and stumbles over few of the words with the exception of the ones in the Indian language, she goes much slower.

So, we've been reading for 20 minutes each evening and honestly, when we came to some of the sad parts, I thought perhaps she might want to switch books. She had one word for me - "Fake!" I thought, okay - she knows this isn't a true story and she can handle it. I suppose since I'm inclined to enter deeply into my stories, the sad parts troubled me more than they troubled her. Not sure which one of us has the right perspective.


There are many reviews on this book so I doubt mine will ever be read. I would like to say that even as an adult I found this story to be very interesting. It's about a young girl whose name isn't revealed until deep into the story who lives for 18 long years isolated from other humans on an island. She has the companion of Rontu, her faithful dog and eventually one of his offspring. We go through sorrow after sorrow with our young companion. First, her father is killed, then when she and her tribe are being removed to travel to an unknown location on a large ship, she realizes her young brother has been left behind. She jumps off the ship to be with him. However, he dies after being attacked by wild dogs. She's left all alone thinking the ship will eventually return for her.

In effect, she redeems the loss of her brother by becoming bosom buddies with the head of the wild dog pack. She also has other "pets" even though she spends many years alone before another group comes to the island which she feels she can trust and is therefore eventually rescued by travelers from the Santa Barbara Mission.

Only today, I learned that this story was based on the real life of a woman named Juana Maria who died October 19, 1853, better known to history as the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island (her Indian name is unknown), a Native American woman who was the last surviving member of her tribe, the Nicoleño. She lived alone on San Nicolas Island off the coast of California from 1835 until her discovery in 1853.

Recommended age for reading: I think some younger children will have difficulties with the death of her brother. Obviously parents know their children so that would be their decision. I also learned from my granddaughter's teacher that this book is for "older" children as far as reading level. I replied that my granddaughter had no difficulties reading the book. Except for what is considered age appropriate reading level as far as content, I don't pay much attention to the age guidelines. We continued on with the book and she will do a book report on it and I believe she will long have the memory of the books we have read together, including this special story.
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on 2 December 1997
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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on 25 October 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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on 22 March 2014
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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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.

As exciting as "Treasure Island," only with a female protagonist, the book is more than a tale of heroics. Scott O'Dell's keen sense of description separates this from the rest of the bookshelf. Although sensitive that his reader is younger, he still manages to place to reader in the story, imagining the smell of sea or hearing the not-so-far off bark of wild dogs.

Like other classics as "Old Yeller" and "My Brother Sam Is Dead," not everything comes easily to Karana. There are somber times when people leave, when her brother dies, or when things look bleak. O'Dell tells the story as realistically as he can, which makes the happy times happier.

I fully recommend "Island of the Blue Dolphins," by Scott O'Dell. It won "The Newberry Medal for Best Children's Book" for good reason.

Anthony Trendl
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on 18 July 2014
This is a book I read when I was a child. Talking to a work colleague, I remembered it and was so pleased to find it still available and on the kindle. I loved reading it again as much now as when I first read it when I was nine or ten years old. I found the story fascinating then as now. A simple tale based on a true story.
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on 15 September 2014
Island of the blue dolphins is based upon a young girl who is left alone after a war between the uninvited Aleuts and her tribe. Karana is a strong, independent, young woman who learns to survive through her company with animals.
I think that Karana is a very good role model to young girls! she has a positive attitude and is very responsible. she takes on lots of jobs, and she used to help others do theirs before she was left alone. she shows that anybody can survive even if you are going through hard times or even if you are alone. she is incredibly resourceful because she makes her own weapons out of things she finds on the island, and she then tells you what and how she made it.
I would say she was like a mother to her little brother because she helped him with his jobs; she protected him, made sure he ate and was safe. I do feel sorry for her at times because throughout the book she gets lonelier and lonelier, but when she makes friends they end up leaving her.
Scott O'Dell deals with the passing of time in a clever way. He changes a few words here and there. it can change from a couple weeks passed to a couple years passed, and unless you analyse the chapters you don't really notice. he also keeps his writing very simple and doesn't have any soppiness in it. This means that when you look back on the chapters you have to read between the lines to know exactly what the people feel and how things happen.
so overall, if you like a mysterious, heart-moving story, with action and survival then this is the book for you. I would recommend this book for 10 years of age and above because of the style of writing can be hard to understand at times. I have really enjoyed it and i hope you do to!
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on 22 November 2001
This is a fantastic book. I have read it over and over again and can honestly say it is one of my all time favourites. I first read it when I was 13. I purchased the book from a school jumble sale for a mere 10p (out of my 20p pocket money). Many years later I still feel the same about the book upon which I put 50% of my daily income. It is full of drama, emotions, anguish and suspense. Every time I read it I could not put it down, the first time I wanted to find out what happened, later it was because I wanted to get to my favourite parts...
If there is one book you are looking to buy, this is it.
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on 1 January 2014
True but sad story. The heroine is the last of her native american race, living on an island off the coast of San Diego. A book my boy had to read in German at school, but it was too difficult. So I downloaded him the ebook and he came top of the class. I loved it too!
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