Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Island of the Blue Dolphin
Island of the Blue Dolphin

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell was a book suggested by one of the moms in our coop for the kids to read.  This was one book I am glad I pre-read.  This book is not a good read for the sensitive animal/vegetarian child that I have.  If my child would have read this she would have flipped.  There is nothing inappropriate about this book whatsoever, it is actually totally appropriate.   The book is about a group of Indian who live off the land, however, at some point some animals are killed, sometimes for their meat, but sometimes not.   Please note this book is not at all about the inhumane treatment of animals, in fact the book  actually makes some reference about not killing animals, for example, birds, just for the feathers.  I only reference this part of the book because my sensitive child would have freaked if she read this.  She would have been sad about the animals that died, even the ones who died as a result of the natural order of nature.

I woud recommend this book to those who like fishing or adventure.  There is a boy in our coop who enjoys fishing and I suggested to his mom that he read this book.

What I like about the book is the author describes how the characters use the teeth of some animals as weapons, he makes references to different types of bird and fish and describes different fishing techniques.

The story is about a girl, Karana, who ends up living by herself on this island for many years as a result of “missing the boat” that is rescuing her “tribe” from the island after foreigners land on the island and slaughter a large segment of the men who live on the island.  You walk with this character through her decisions on what she needs to survive, her building a shelter, food storage and survival.  An excellent read, jus not one at this time for my daughter or some of the other kids in our group.

If I was going to use this book in a coop group I would have been all over the fish, birds and dogs in this book.  We would have been studying the animals, making our own tools/weapons and possibly identifying shells.  It would have also have been fun to compile a group of items and give the kids some time to figure out how to survive on what was provided or taking them to a beach or park and letting them forage on their own and discuss how they would survive if left alone at either of these sites.  To take it a step further, you could have them write a paper on how and why these choose the items they did and where they would have found shelter and protection explaining why the shelter they choose was appropriate shelter.

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