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Island of the Blue Dolphins Paperback – February 1, 1987


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1000L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling (February 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440439884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440439882
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
The Newberry Medal-winning story of a 12-year old girl who lives alone on a Pacific island after she leaps from a rescue ship. Isolated on the island for eighteen years, Karana forages for food, builds weapons to fight predators, clothes herself in a cormorant feathered skirt, and finds strength and peace in her seclusion. A classic tale of discovery and solitude returns to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for its 50th anniversary, with a new introduction by Lois Lowry.



Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Lois Lowry on Writing the Introduction to Island of the Blue Dolphins, 50th Anniversary Edition

Dear Amazon readers,

Last summer, when I was asked to write an introduction to a new edition of Island of the Blue Dolphins, my mind went back in time to the 1960s, when my children were young and it was one of their best-loved books.

But a later memory surfaced, as well, of a party I was invited to in the summer of 1979. By now the kids were grown. I was in New York to attend a convention of the American Library Association, and Scott O'Dell's publisher, Houghton Mifflin, was honoring him at a reception being held at the St. Regis Hotel. I had never met Mr. O'Dell. But because of my own children I knew his books, and I was pleased to be invited to such an illustrious event.

I was staying at a nearby hotel and planned to walk over to the party. But when I began to get dressed, I encountered a problem. I was wearing, I remember, a rose-colored crêpe de Chine dress. It buttoned up the back. I was alone in my hotel room. I buttoned the bottom buttons, and I buttoned the top buttons, but there was one button in the middle of my back that I simply couldn’t reach. It makes me laugh today, thinking about it, picturing the contortions I went through in that hotel room: twisting my arms, twisting my back, all to no avail.

The clock was ticking. The party would start soon. I had no other clothes except the casual things I'd been wearing all day and which were now wrinkled from the summer heat.

Finally I decided, The heck with it. I left the room with the button unbuttoned and headed off. When I got in my hotel elevator, a benign-looking older couple, probably tourists from the Midwest, were already standing inside, and I explained my predicament politely and asked if they could give me a hand. The gray-haired man kindly buttoned my dress for me.

We parted company in the lobby of my hotel and off I went to the St. Regis, where I milled around and chatted with countless people, sipped wine, and waited for the guest of honor, Scott O'Dell, to be introduced. When he was, of course he turned out to be the eighty-one-year-old man who had buttoned my dress.

But wait! There's more. Ten years passed.

I had never seen Mr. O'Dell during the intervening years, but now, suddenly, we were the two speakers at a luncheon being held on a college campus somewhere. I think it may have been Vassar.

We sat next to each other at the head table, nibbling our chicken, chatting about the weather. I knew he wouldn't remember me, but I certainly remembered him, and I was secretly thinking that when it was my turn to speak, I might tell the audience the amusing little anecdote about the button on my dress. But he went first. And, eyes twinkling, he started his speech with "The last time I was with Lois Lowry, we were in a New York hotel. I was helping her get dressed." He was ninety-one at the time. All of this floated back into my mind when I found myself rereading, last summer, The Island of the Blue Dolphins. None of it was appropriate to the book's introduction, of course, and I went on to write, instead, about the power of the story and the magnificence of the writing. Not that anyone needed reminding! There has never been a question about Scott O'Dell's brilliance as a writer and storyteller. But it's nice to have a chance, here, to tell an audience that he was also a sweet and funny man.

Lois Lowry

(Photo © Neil Giordano)




--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery."
-- School Library Journal (School Library Journal) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Scott O'Dell (1898-1989), one of the most respected authors of historical fiction, received the Newbery Medal, three Newbery Honor Medals, and the Hans Christian Andersen Author Medal, the highest international recognition for a body of work by an author of books for young readers. Some of his many books include The Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Road to Damietta, Sing Down the Moon, and The Black Pearl.

Customer Reviews

A beautiful story.
LivinginBeauty
What happens to the lone resident of San Nicolas Island is the story of Karana in Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins.
Cedric's Mom
I first read this book when I was 12 years old and absolutely loved it!
M. Reeves

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

191 of 202 people found the following review helpful By A.Trendl HungarianBookstore.com VINE VOICE on June 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
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 not 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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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you like heart breaking,touching,and sad books,you should definitely read the Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. It's about an Indian girl who gets separated from her family and is stranded on an island. Now she needs to survive.
Difficult challenges face Karana. For an example,she needs to find a way to hunt so she can eat. She makes a spear out of wood and carves a rock in a shape of a triangle and catches fish to eat. This book made me feel sad for kids who are orphans and who live on their own.
This book was so terrific the I read it in only two days! I would recommend this book to people of ages 8-150. And I think girls and boys would like this book because it is not too scary, it is just the perfect book to read. I read it, my mom read it,you should read it too.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Ursiform TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am old enough to have had this book read to my elementary school class when it was still fairly new. It is a book I have remembered ever since.

What is known is that in 1853 a lone woman was "rescued" from San Nicolas Island off the coast of California. The rest of her tribe had been evacuated eighteen years before, but no one who spoke her language remained after those years had passed. Thus she could tell no one her story, save the little she communicated to a priest with gestures, and she became ill and died after a few weeks.

From this bit of history Scott O'Dell imagines a life for her. It is, of course, fiction, and certainly doesn't match her real life. But he thoughtfully explores a couple of challenging topics: What happens when cultures meet and compete over resources? And how can a stranded adolescent learn to survive alone and to grow up with nothing but memories of her people and culture to guide her? It is a very touching story of loss, learning, and self-recreation. Some parts of the story I remembered these forty-some years later, and many parts I did not. But I was glad to again make my acquaintance with this book.

The writing is leisurely but engaging. It may be too slowly paced for many children today, who have grown up with frenetic action, short attention span entertainment. But surely there must still be those more contemplative young souls who will warm to this wonderful book.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
This classic was voted one of the top 10 American children's books of the last 200 years by the Children's Literature Association. Although modern readers may find it a little dated in some ways and the pacing a little slow, it's still an absorbing and beautiful story about how a resourceful Indian girl survives alone on an island off the California coast for 18 years.

The story is a lot like Robinson Crusoe only told from the girl's point of view, but that's okay. (Coincidently Crusoe was rescued after 17 years on his island, if I remember correctly).

The book is still worth reading today by young readers and O'Dell does a great job of telling this resourceful young woman's story. The story was inspired by true events, when the girl's people were evacuated from the island of Ghalas-At and she jumped ship to stay behind with her abandoned brother (who tragically dies shortly thereafter, leaving, Karana, the girl, all alone).

Overall, still a great classic and worth your child's time and effort.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Adi Adler on March 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Around the age of 12 - 13, this was one of my favorite books. When buying it now as a grown up, I was fascinated to discover this book was actually based on a true story.

A young girl, Karana, is living with her tribe on the Island of the Blue Dolphins (the island is apparently based off the coast of California). After increasing contact with white men (some with tragic results), the tribe is evacuated from the island. At the last moment, Karana jumps off the boat since she discovers her younger brother is left behind. The brother is killed very soon afterwards, and Karana is left to take care of herself - not only to provide herself with food & shelter, but also to fend off a pack of ild dogs wich roams the island, with the threat of unfriendly white men constantly hanging in the background.
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