Monday, February 4, 2008

BOOK: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Young Adult Challenge, more Somthing About Me, Newbery Award Winner

Young Adult novels can be such a satisfying read. They cover interesting topics in a slightly less intense method. This lovely story about Karena, the girl living alone on her island, was easy to read, and yet still powerful. O'Dell's writing was sparse but still conveyed all the emotions of a young girl struggling to survive. This reminded me of Robinson Crusoe, but emminently more readable. I was also reminded of Shawnadithit, from Cloud of Bone, but only after I read the afterword, of how this was based on a true story.

Again, with so many of these older children's classics, I wonder, why I didn't read this when I was younger? It is a quiet book and I might not have appreciated it when I was younger. I could see reading this as a class novel, with lots of survival discussions and projects. Karena stayed so level headed, and dealt with her situation with such calm and intelligence, she makes a great role model.

Juli chose this for the Something About Me Challenge because: When I would play alone outside I would always pretend that I was alone on an island surviving with what skills I had. I would act out scenes from the book over and over. I also checked this book out from the library over and over.


  1. Is this your first by Scott O'Dell? I read several of them when I was working in a bookstore and enjoyed them all. There were a lot of classics, from childhood and otherwise, that I seem to have missed out on. But, those few that I did read and reread as an adult left me with two totally different impressions. Some books I'm glad that I didn't find till adulthood because I think I appreciate them more as an adult. I went through a Newbery gobbling phase in my 20's.

  2. Zia is the sequel to this, and I enjoyed it last year. You could use it for a "Z" title.

  3. I loved that book when I was a kid.

  4. bookfool - I know exactly what you mean. I doubt I would have liked this much when I was younger, but it was great now. I remember reading Jacob, Have I Loved and I didn't like it at all, and now I'd like to reread it to see why is was a Newbery, and if I'd like it now.

    chris - I never even heard of it when I was younger.

    3m - I'll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion. There is another YA, Zel, a retelling of Rapunzel that I'm looking into as well.

    tink - you should reread it!

  5. Loved this one, too. Like you I didn't read it until I was an adult - it may have been last year.

  6. I missed this as a child too. I finally caught up with it back in November and enjoyed it, despite having many unanswered questions.

  7. Ayla! yes, it really had that feel to it.

    You raised a lot of good questions. It didn't detract from my enjoyment though. I'm not the most critical thinker. Her unemotional response may have been her personality, though in that position, after her brother died, it wasn't going to help her to break down, she had to get busy surviving.

  8. I've seen this book practically my whole life, but never read it. In grade school, I preferred biographies. When I got to middle school, I decided that I was too old for juvie novels and would only read very mature YA (the characters had to be "really old" -- 16 or more) or adult fiction. So I have huge gaps in my childrens and YA reading. I made up some of them reading to my son nightly, but there's still a lot. Thanks for the reminder about this one.

  9. I've read Jacob, Have I Loved, but I honestly don't remember a thing about it. Hmm. It'll be fun to see what you think -- and maybe it will ring a bell to read your review, when you get to it. :)

  10. bybee - I did the same thing - from Judy Blume and Beverley Cleary to The Outsiders and books about teenagers dealing with 'issues'. I missed a lot of books too.

    bookfool - I must look in the basement for Jacob Have I Loved.

  11. I was really intrigued by this book as a teenager, but somehow missed the others she wrote. I tried Zia as an adult and didn't care for it. Also tried Sing Down the Moon, which is an O'Dell book my husband loved when younger. Couldn't get that, either. I think Island of the Blue Dolphins just has a special nostalgia for me, because I read it so many times back then.

  12. This is a book that I read as a child and one that I distinctly remember. It left an impression on me and it led me to read more books along these lines - both from a true story and a historical perspective - as an adult.

    I agree that it did not have the same impact on me when rereading it as an adult. But I am very happy that I came across this as a child.


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