Book Review: Island of the Blue Dolphins

by Melissa on December 30, 2009 · 4 comments

in 9-12, ATOS 5.0-5.9, Adventure, Classic, Good book for girls, Lexile 1000-1099, Peoples & Cultures

Title: Island of the Blue Dolphins
Publisher: Dell Publishing
Author: Scott O’Dell
Lexile: [?] 1000L
ATOS Level: [?] 5.4
Parent Rating:
VN:F [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
Go For Ages: 9-12


This book portrays the courage and self-reliance of an Indian girl who lived alone for eighteen years on an isolated island off the California coast when her tribe emigrated and she was left behind.


A classic adventure story. I didn’t enjoy it as a child (I think I was bothered by all the animal violence), but it is one of my sister’s favs from childhood. Not for a very sensitive child. Be ready for some conversation about gender roles. Girl protagonist is resourceful and strong.


None [?]

Sexual Content





Brother is attacked and killed by the wild dogs. Girl vows to kill all the dogs. Description of multiple attacks on and by animals, including hunting and use of weapons to kill animals. Girl lives through earthquake and tidal wave, finds a skeleton, kills seals after hunters leave them wounded. Girl watches her father be killed.  She is anguished when her little brother is left behind on the island.


There are some gender lines in the tribe that girl must cross to survive (ex: making weapons). Several instances of specific gender roles within a cultural context.


Girl believes in several ‘gods’, who cause things to happen like earthquakes. Girl tries to talk to the dead, but is unable to.

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Book Review: Island of the Blue Dolphins, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

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