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The Islander Hardcover – March 15, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: DK CHILDREN; 1st edition (March 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789424908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789424907
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,395,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rylant (Missing May) breaks new ground with this allegorical tale set on an island off the coast of British Columbia. Through the perspective of an adult narrator revisiting his pivotal 10th year, Rylant has invoked the voice of a true loner attempting to connect with someone or something outside himself. Orphaned and living with his grandfather, Daniel feels utterly alone until he sights a mermaid, who later gives him the gift of a magic key. But when he attempts to share this climactic meeting with his grandfather, he finds himself even more isolated ("I knew that my grandfather believed I was not well, that my mind was not well, and that the loss of my parents and the loneliness of living with him had made me so"). The magic key acts as a divining rod, leading the boy to animals and a lost girl in need of help, and slowly bridges a link with others. While modern inventions (airplanes and refrigerators) indicate a contemporary setting, the protagonist seems to belong to another era, if not another world. By painstakingly building a moat around the narrator from the start, Rylant allows readers to cross the drawbridge with Daniel as he strives to understand the mysteries of the sea and his own heritage, and begins to recognize the love and family that was always with him. Ages 11-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4 Up?A young man recalls his childhood on a remote island off the coast of British Columbia. The novel begins when 10-year-old Daniel, who lives with his reticent grandfather, is overcome with loneliness and turns to the sea in search of a friend. In response to his message in a bottle, a mermaid briefly appears. Another note asking her to return results in a key delivered by an otter with a diamond-shaped mark on his forehead. Later, Daniel finds that the key has magical powers. He discovers that he has a talent for helping birds, and he and his grandfather grow closer as they care for them together. Many years later, his grandfather dies, and Daniel discovers a photo of a young girl and her dog, which has a white diamond-shaped mark on his forehead. He learns that the girl was his grandfather's sister who perished while diving into the ocean during a storm to save the dog. Entirely alone and grief stricken, Daniel suddenly feels the long-silent key vibrate once again. It leads him to a box containing a puppy, who becomes the first member of his new family. Drawing on her talent for simple yet beautiful language to tell a story, Rylant tries her hand at fantasy with mixed results. Her heavy reliance on symbolism finally snaps the thin threads of credulity so necessary in successful fantasy, and young readers may miss their meaning. In addition, the emphasis on Daniel's spiritual journey rather than his character and the unemotional account of events combine to reduce readers' involvement.?Maggie McEwen, Coffin Elementary School,
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Cynthia Rylant is the author of numerous distinguished novels and picture books for young readers. In addition to her beginning-reader series: Henry and Mudge, Poppleton, and Mr. Putter and Tabby, as well as her Cobble Street Cousins early-chapter series, she is also the author of the Newbery Medal-winning Missing May, the Newbery Honor Book A Fine White Dust, and two Caldecott Honor-winning picture books.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Another great one from Rylant...she truly is a gifted author.
Wendy
I enjoyed this book throughly, and recommend it to parents who may want to take time to share a YA book with their young adult.
J. Narasky
I only read one chapter a day, but they wanted to finish it that day!
Elizabeth White

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am enamoured with most everything Rylant writes and will buy her books just because she wrote them. This story reads like a prose poem -- her language is spare and beautiful. Mysteries abound and heart wrenching surprises arrive in small phrases without pretense. The imagery and characters are unforgettable. Daniel has such a feminine side, shielded from the media saturated mainland. His loneliness and sense of "different-ness" will resonate with everyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Plume45 on March 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This little gem can be read in one fascinating sitting; in fact, it just begs to be read aloud. But read this one slowly--to savor the salty smell of the ocean off British Canada and to
listen to the crashing surf and wheeling seagulls. One must look intently to notice the glistening droplets on a magical gift from the sea.
Ten-year-old Daniel, an orphan from the mainland, lives on a rustic islet with his taciturn Grandfather. They boy longs for companions his own age, but must rely on his ingenuity, compassion for living things and his affinity with Nature to provide stimulation for the lonely hours. Yet such primitive conditions (no TV, phones or even horses) are ideal to
inspire keen observations along the shoreline. When he spies a mermaid's comb--obvious at first glance that such it is--his drab existence is changed forever. This is a wonderful book of fantasy and personal growth to share with kids, from 7-70!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Terrie on November 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a slim little book that you will probably love enough to own the hardcover version that is fast disappearing! It can easily be read in a single sitting and you will wish that it was longer. Pre-teen and teenaged people will enjoy it as will adults with romantic souls. It is set on an island off the Pacific Coast of Bristish Columbia and so has sea atmosphere and enchantment swirling about it like fog and salt-scented breeze. The story is poignant and the writing is sensitve and lyrical. An orphaned boy is living on this small island with his grandfather. He is given a magical gift by a mermaid and it makes a big difference in his life. Since this is a short and beautifully simple book I don't want to spoil it for you by giving away too many details but I found it very touching. The descriptions in the book transported me to the island and opened my heart to all the characters. It is a ghostly, magical love story on several different levels. Don't miss it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Are you looking for a interesting mystery? You should choose the Islander.I am a fifth grade student, I read this book for a mystery book report. I loved it. It's about a boy named Daniel and he lives on an island. A sea otter throws him a shell with a key inside.He finds out it a mermaids but he doesn't know what it opens.If you are interested and want to know how it ends read the book.Cynthia Rylant does a great job leaving you hanging at the end of each chapter. Hope you like it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bookbat on April 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever just picked up a book and known you would connect with it. The Islander is that type of book. Daniel is an extrememly likeable character. His blending of vunerablity, and persistance create a character not to be forgotten easily. The mermaid, caring for hurt creatures and an understanding grandfather make this a story to enjoy again, and again. Bravo!
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A Kid's Review on March 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Grade 4 Up?A young man recalls his childhood on a remote island off the coast of British Columbia. The novel begins when 10-year-old Daniel, who lives with his reticent grandfather, is overcome with loneliness and turns to the sea in search of a friend. In response to his message in a bottle, a mermaid briefly appears. Another note asking her to return results in a key delivered by an otter with a diamond-shaped mark on his forehead. Later, Daniel finds that the key has magical powers. He discovers that he has a talent for helping birds, and he and his grandfather grow closer as they care for them together. Many years later, his grandfather dies, and Daniel discovers a photo of a young girl and her dog, which has a white diamond-shaped mark on his forehead. He learns that the girl was his grandfather's sister who perished while diving into the ocean during a storm to save the dog. Entirely alone and grief stricken, Daniel suddenly feels the long-silent key vibrate once again. It leads him to a box containing a puppy, who becomes the first member of his new family. Drawing on her talent for simple yet beautiful language to tell a story, Rylant tries her hand at fantasy with mixed results. Her heavy reliance on symbolism finally snaps the thin threads of credulity so necessary in successful fantasy, and young readers may miss their meaning. In addition, the emphasis on Daniel's spiritual journey rather than his character and the unemotional account of events combine to reduce readers' involvement.
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A Kid's Review on November 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Islander is an amazing tale about boy named Danel. Danel is an only child and he lost his parents from a tragic plane crash,so, he lives with his grandfather at his island.Danel is very lonely because he doesn't have any friends. So he spends most of his time walking on his grandfathers beach. One day while Danel was walking on the beach he finds an otter with a diamond on his head,the otter comes to shore and gives Danel a key. This key has special powers that helps him find a missing girl and live animals after a strong hurrcane that hit the islands. Soon after that his grandfather dies while he was sleeping. 7 years later he is old enogh to live on his own and leave his grandfathers friends house. One night he hears his key that helped him find the missing girl rumbling. Danel then hears a weird sound coming from the bushes.He follows the sound and finds a box with a lock on it. Danel looks on his neck where the key is .He tries the key to open the lock and it works.Danel finds a little puppy inside that turns out to be a real trouble maker. Danel falls in love with the girl he saved and wants to marry her once she's old enough.In the end he writes to the mermaid again and says thank you for everything. This story has excitment,love,sadness,and mystery. This story is one of the best stories Cynthia Rylant has ever written!
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