Island of the Blue Dolphins is book of historical fiction, based on a true story by Scott O’Dell. Published by Dell Publishing, it has 189 pages. The copyright date is 1960. There are no illustrations in this book.

This book has a very interesting story. The story takes place on a fairly large island off the coast of California in 1834. Being proud of their island the Indians named it “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” Happily living on the island is a young Indian girl, Karana. She tells her story of how she survived on the island alone for about eighteen years. Because this story recounts her many heartbreaking, heartrending, heart-wrenching experiences living alone except for a wild dog that she tames, the story is quite sad. It is a very interesting tale of Karana’s struggle to survive.

Karana has a hard life on the island. In the year 1834 an Aleut ship comes to kill the otters, which are plentiful all over the island. Because of a big battle with the Aleuts, Karana’s people decide to leave the island. The ship leaves without Karana, and she is stranded on the island with her baby brother. The ship that left was supposed to return a few days later to rescue her, but it never returns. Tragically, after only a few days, her brother is killed by wild dogs. Karana is alone. She watches for the boat every day for a long time on the island while she tries to survive. While she waits, Karana makes sturdy weapons for protection against the wild dogs on the island, which she intends to kill. Later, she befriends a dog, Rontu, that she speared, and he becomes her devoted friend. She also compassionately cares for birds, otters, and a gull with a broken leg. Fending for herself and caring for the animals takes most of her time during the day, but every day she goes to the edge of the island’s cliff and watches for the boat. Everything on the island reminds her of her family; once, she decides to leave, but then realizes it would be safer to stay on the island since there are many dangers out on the ocean. After about two years she gives up hoping the boat will return, and stays busy working and playing with Rontu. A few years later the Aleut ship returns, and Karana befriends an Aleut girl named Tutok. Because the people on the ship are enemies of Karana (except the girl), she does not leave with them. Instead she stays on her island, and when the ship leaves, Karana is alone again with many more hardships to endure. Will she ever be reunited with her family?

Many years later, another ship comes and Karana makes ready to leave her home that she has always known. It was a bittersweet moment, for Rontu, her faithful canine friend, is buried on the island; his son, Rontu-Anu, is her loyal companion now. Aboard the ship, she finds out from the captain that the ship that carried her whole tribe sunk in a huge storm on the turbulent sea, drowning everyone. Being on that boat would have been horrible because she would have drowned. Karana would go now to a new home far away from her beloved Island of the Blue Dolphins. Hope came again with the ship’s arrival. The message of the human will to endure rough times was clearly portrayed through the story.

This book is interesting because it shows the way Karana lived, the many different ways she provided for herself, and how she matured. Since she lived through a difficult time as the only one on an island, this book shows how she was as courageous as a lion. In a lot of parts, it is also a sad story because it shows the many sorrows and horribly horrific hardships she had to face continuously. This book is recommended to anyone who likes well-written books that are historically accurate with a wealth of information about the lives of native peoples.