Review: Island of the Blue Dolphins

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Title: Island of the Blue Dolphins

Author: Scott O’Dell

What it’s about: This book is about a young girl who is stranded on an island off the coast of Southern California after her friends and family leave to start a life elsewhere. She lives all alone on the island for 18 years, waiting to be rescued, and survives by building her own shelter, fishing, gathering other foods and trying to stay safe from wild dogs.

Holly’s review: I thought this book was scary but adventurous. It is full of wildlife and patience. It is more of an older children’s book since it can get upsetting at times and scary. I wasn’t so keen on this book because of how stressful it could get but all the same I quite liked it.

Sam’s review: This book was recommended on a bookshop website on the basis of other similar titles we had looked at (I can’t remember them now though, frustratingly!). The plot sounded good for a young girl, showing how, with resourcefulness and determination, one can survive against all odds. As we started to read it I kept getting flashbacks and I am sure I must have read it when I was younger. It was a wonderful story but, as Holly said, it could be quite upsetting and sad at times. Perhaps emotional is a better word. I think she coped with some of the incidents better than me. Despite it not being one of her favourites, she was hooked on it and we read it quite quickly. My husband also enjoyed it because of the focus on survival and self-preservation. Rather like Robinson Crusoe except the girl is stranded on an island that has been her home since her birth.

I think Holly is right in that this isn’t a book for younger children. She reckons the minimum age should be around 9 and that’s pretty much what I would recommend too.

Have you read Island of the Blue Dolphins? If so, please tell us what you thought of it.



  1. AAAHHH! This was perhaps my favourite book in my own younger childhood. I still have my copy, although terribly sadly it is missing the first two pages – they’ve somehow fallen out. I want to get a new copy to read to my eldest but at the same time I want to read her *my* copy as it meant so much to me. I recently re read it as an adult and I still thought it was tremendously powerful and this time it sent me off on a long research project about the “true” story behind it. I guess I was (and am) entranced by the ingenuity and resilience of the young girl, and the powerful emotions sucked me right in.


    • Thank you Zoe for taking the time to reply and share your memories of the book. It’s lovely too that you want your daughter to read your copy and start a tradition. It is an incredibly moving book, heightened I think by the isolation of the narrative.


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