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The Music of Dolphins

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They call her Mila, from the Spanish word for "miracle." Lost after a plane crash when she was small, Mila has been cared for ever since by dolphins. When she is eventually spotted on an unpopulated island off Cuba, she is an adolescent and seems hardly human to her rescuers. Mila is taken to a child study center in Boston. Eager to please, she makes rapid progress in lan They call her Mila, from the Spanish word for "miracle." Lost after a plane crash when she was small, Mila has been cared for ever since by dolphins. When she is eventually spotted on an unpopulated island off Cuba, she is an adolescent and seems hardly human to her rescuers. Mila is taken to a child study center in Boston. Eager to please, she makes rapid progress in language and social skills. With her recorder, Mila finds she can even make music like the dolphin songs she yearningly remembers. But the more Mila discovers about what it means to be human--the locked doors, the rules, the betrayals--the more she longs for her watery home and gentle dolphin family. In an emotionally wracking conclusion, she returns to the world where her ears never want for song. Where, although she cannot stand on her tail or jump the waves, she is part of the music of dolphins.


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They call her Mila, from the Spanish word for "miracle." Lost after a plane crash when she was small, Mila has been cared for ever since by dolphins. When she is eventually spotted on an unpopulated island off Cuba, she is an adolescent and seems hardly human to her rescuers. Mila is taken to a child study center in Boston. Eager to please, she makes rapid progress in lan They call her Mila, from the Spanish word for "miracle." Lost after a plane crash when she was small, Mila has been cared for ever since by dolphins. When she is eventually spotted on an unpopulated island off Cuba, she is an adolescent and seems hardly human to her rescuers. Mila is taken to a child study center in Boston. Eager to please, she makes rapid progress in language and social skills. With her recorder, Mila finds she can even make music like the dolphin songs she yearningly remembers. But the more Mila discovers about what it means to be human--the locked doors, the rules, the betrayals--the more she longs for her watery home and gentle dolphin family. In an emotionally wracking conclusion, she returns to the world where her ears never want for song. Where, although she cannot stand on her tail or jump the waves, she is part of the music of dolphins.

30 review for The Music of Dolphins

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Poor Karen Hesse. She might have managed to get this manuscript past an editor at a major publishing house, but she had no idea the scrutiny she was receiving here, at our house this week. My 9 and 11-year-old daughters are scarier than any editor that ever held office space in Manhattan, and they agreed to a mutual read-aloud of this one, as long as I sat in between them so they wouldn't kick or punch each other while I read. We're home, like you are, trying to distract our minds with our recentl Poor Karen Hesse. She might have managed to get this manuscript past an editor at a major publishing house, but she had no idea the scrutiny she was receiving here, at our house this week. My 9 and 11-year-old daughters are scarier than any editor that ever held office space in Manhattan, and they agreed to a mutual read-aloud of this one, as long as I sat in between them so they wouldn't kick or punch each other while I read. We're home, like you are, trying to distract our minds with our recently invented “Kids Read Across America” project, and we selected this middle grades read as our entry for Florida, as the back cover reads: Mila creates headlines around the world when she is rescued from an unpopulated island off the coast of Florida. . . Problem #1: none of the story takes place in Florida. So, where does the story take place? Well, in a facility in Boston, but there's no sense of setting, other than the ocean or the facility with the medical staff. So, it won't count for Massachusetts, either. Problem #2: the protagonist, Mila, is a feral girl who has lived the last decade of her life with a pod of dolphins and Ms. Hesse was challenged here, to come up with dialogue that would capture the speech of a girl who hasn't spoken with humans since she was four. It worked. . . some of the time. My girls loved the dolphin aspect; at one point my 11-year-old expressed how badly she wished she could live among dolphins, rather than humans (hard swallow and silence from mom), both girls loved that Mila emerged from her life in the water covered with barnacles and seaweed-length hair, and they both loved the beginning. . . But, when we got to the complicated, weird ending, my middle child looked at me and said, “Knock off another star for the ending. You've got to end strong.” (Problem #3) Tough crowd. I don't know what has made my children such savage editors. . . Wink.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

    Simply put, this is one of the greatest books I have ever read. Karen Hesse's ingenious interpretations of life lived like an animal gave me constant, visible chills all over my body. The writing is perfect, and I won't spoil the story by saying too much in this review; I'll just say this is an awe-inspiring masterpiece of literature, and in a year of incredible Newbery contenders (including Jerry Spinelli's Crash and E.L. Konigsburg's The View From Saturday), I would have awarded the 1997 Newbe Simply put, this is one of the greatest books I have ever read. Karen Hesse's ingenious interpretations of life lived like an animal gave me constant, visible chills all over my body. The writing is perfect, and I won't spoil the story by saying too much in this review; I'll just say this is an awe-inspiring masterpiece of literature, and in a year of incredible Newbery contenders (including Jerry Spinelli's Crash and E.L. Konigsburg's The View From Saturday), I would have awarded the 1997 Newbery Medal to The Music of Dolphins.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kitty Kestrella

    I picked this book up when I was in fourth grade. It was then that I decided I wanted to become an author myself. Yes, a little girl wouldn't be able to survive out at sea for so long. But isn't that the beauty of fiction? Do readers of vampire novels stop and think "How come their skin isn't rotting away, if they're dead?" No, of course they don't. So, you really shouldn't spoil a good story with rational thoughts. Anyway, back to the book. It's one of my favorite stories from when I was younger. I picked this book up when I was in fourth grade. It was then that I decided I wanted to become an author myself. Yes, a little girl wouldn't be able to survive out at sea for so long. But isn't that the beauty of fiction? Do readers of vampire novels stop and think "How come their skin isn't rotting away, if they're dead?" No, of course they don't. So, you really shouldn't spoil a good story with rational thoughts. Anyway, back to the book. It's one of my favorite stories from when I was younger. It must have touched me--even as a little girl--to have stuck with me for so long. It provoked many questions, and really got me thinking. Music of Dolphins played out nicely. If it were a song it would be soft and beautiful with a sharp and thrilling chorus. A luring beginning and a refreshing conclusion. It's a story that should be shared.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bren

    "In the sea we go we where we wish. We swim and play together in the big sea. Families of dolphin come together, from the cold sea, from the warm sea, from the deep sea and the cays. We play and sleep and eat together". The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse My review of this book. What to say? Loved it, loved it. loved it. It is beautiful, mystical, playful and lovely..the way I imagine being kissed by a Dolphin must feel. So this book is an ode to Dolphins and to the sea. If you are reading this a "In the sea we go we where we wish. We swim and play together in the big sea. Families of dolphin come together, from the cold sea, from the warm sea, from the deep sea and the cays. We play and sleep and eat together". The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse My review of this book. What to say? Loved it, loved it. loved it. It is beautiful, mystical, playful and lovely..the way I imagine being kissed by a Dolphin must feel. So this book is an ode to Dolphins and to the sea. If you are reading this and you, like myself, feel calmed and soothed by the great roaring of the ocean waves..and feel soothed by dolphins and all the magnificent and beautiful fish who live in the depths of the ocean..this is the book for you. Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Mila. Tragically, when traveling with family, her plane went down. T he family were presumed dead. But now, all these years later, The girl, Mila, has been found. Airplanes overhead spotted a mysterious girl at the edge of the sea. They scooped her up and brought her to safety. For Mila however, she does not necessarily WANT to be brought to safety. She has survived all these years and she has done that with the help of her family..her Dolphin family. They saved Mila all those years ago and integrated her into their life. She is of the sea now. Together she and her dolphin family live life in playful solidarity where Mila, though she has arms and legs, is accepted as one of them by her dolphin family . She sings the sea music of the dolphins. She glides on the back and shoulders of her mama and Auntie as they glide amongst the waves and tropical fish across the waters. She has her own language..it is the language of dolphins. Her new family means well..but they are under strict orders by the Government. Everyone is curious to see this Dolphin Girl. And Mila does acclimate to an extent. She learns English and she learns human music. She learns who she is. But still her heart and soul long for her real family who are far away flying through the sea spray and turquoise waves of the ocean. This book is so beautiful. It is short..a little under 200 pages. Someone here on GR described it as "one of the best book they had ever read". I wanted to read it for that reason. So glad I did. What a beautiful and poetic ode to our wonderful ocean friends. And without spoilers..I can say I closed the book with a smile on my face. So do think about reading it. It is also so educational. Mila tells of the Dolphin's ways of living and you sort of fall into listening to her. Also, I must say I would not mind being a Dolphin. Along with other sea friends like seals and otters they are amazing and wonderful beings. This one gets five stars easily. Fall into the world of the Dolphin. Read this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I read this book when I was eight years old, and I loved it to pieces. I was old enough then to grasp the significance of how, when Mila (a girl washed away at the age of four and raised by a pod of dolphins) was trying to speak English and interact with the humans who "rescued" her, the font was enormous and the grammar choppy, and as she learned more and more, the font grew smaller and narrower. When all she knew was dolphins, Mila's world was stunningly open and beautiful, and when she learne I read this book when I was eight years old, and I loved it to pieces. I was old enough then to grasp the significance of how, when Mila (a girl washed away at the age of four and raised by a pod of dolphins) was trying to speak English and interact with the humans who "rescued" her, the font was enormous and the grammar choppy, and as she learned more and more, the font grew smaller and narrower. When all she knew was dolphins, Mila's world was stunningly open and beautiful, and when she learned about humans, about the ways they're supposed to act and speak and behave, she became as small and narrow as the font she used, and she hated it. Brilliant.

  6. 5 out of 5

    The Dusty Jacket

    "I swim out to them on the murmuring sea. As I reach them, their circle opens to let me in, then re-forms. The dolphins rise and blow, floating, one eye open, the other shut in half sleep." They discovered her during a routine surveillance flight. At first, they thought she was a mermaid with hair down to her feet and a body blanketed in seaweed. But as the flight crew on the Coast Guard Jay Hawk flew closer, they realized that what they spotted was not a mermaid, but a young girl. The crew named "I swim out to them on the murmuring sea. As I reach them, their circle opens to let me in, then re-forms. The dolphins rise and blow, floating, one eye open, the other shut in half sleep." They discovered her during a routine surveillance flight. At first, they thought she was a mermaid with hair down to her feet and a body blanketed in seaweed. But as the flight crew on the Coast Guard Jay Hawk flew closer, they realized that what they spotted was not a mermaid, but a young girl. The crew named her Mila meaning “miracle” for how else can one explain how a young girl could survive for so many years with only dolphins for mentors and companions? As researchers teach Mila language and music, she slowly begins to understand what it means to be human and the more she understands, the more she longs to return to her beloved sea and the security of her dolphin family. Hesse gives us a beautifully captivating story that is filled with love, loss, and a longing for home. Mila narrates her journey from the sea to captivity and Hesse adeptly allows young readers to experience Mila’s learning curve and metamorphosis from “dolphin girl” to human through the use of font size. A large font size is used initially to show Mila’s unfamiliarity with newly introduced customs and language. As her proficiency and comfort increases, the font size decreases. When Mila slowly begins to feel trapped within her human confines and her hope of being returned to the sea fades, the font begins to increase and the reader immediately understands that she is reverting to her former self. This visual successfully creates a sense of suspense and anxiety for the reader. By simply altering font sizes, the reader knows that the situation is turning dire for our young heroine and allows Hesse to avoid spelling it out for them. It’s a clever use of fonts and highly effective. Although Mila is enjoying her time on land and all the new discoveries she encounters on a daily basis, nothing ever quite matches the pull she feels for home. Just as the cliff swallows make their 6,000-mile flight every March to San Juan Capistrano, California or you hear of a family pet traveling months and hundreds of miles to find its way back to its owner, nothing quite matches the lure of home. Like another literary heroine who found herself picked up and then dropped into a foreign land, Mila reminds us that there really is no place like home.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cougar Dan Misogynistic Empire

    This is by far the worst work of fiction I have ever read. Feral children are almost impossible to rehabilitate. And it's more than a stretch to ask readers to suspend their disbelief with regard to a girl who's spent most of her life in saltwater. Her skin would have become so waterlogged that it would have developed open soars and rotted off. This book is nothing more than a very very cheap knock-off of Flowers for Algernon. This is by far the worst work of fiction I have ever read. Feral children are almost impossible to rehabilitate. And it's more than a stretch to ask readers to suspend their disbelief with regard to a girl who's spent most of her life in saltwater. Her skin would have become so waterlogged that it would have developed open soars and rotted off. This book is nothing more than a very very cheap knock-off of Flowers for Algernon.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Nelson

    This one has been on my reading list for a while — after reading Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, I wanted to read more things by her. This basically follows Mila as she is rescued from the sea and acclimated to the human world after living with and being raised by dolphins for four years. I appreciated the audiobook version because it’s told in first person and Michele McHall beautifully captures the voice and essence of a girl who is just learning how to speak and use words. It’s a lovely exper This one has been on my reading list for a while — after reading Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, I wanted to read more things by her. This basically follows Mila as she is rescued from the sea and acclimated to the human world after living with and being raised by dolphins for four years. I appreciated the audiobook version because it’s told in first person and Michele McHall beautifully captures the voice and essence of a girl who is just learning how to speak and use words. It’s a lovely experience that I would definitely recommend if you can get the audio version at some point. The Music of Dolphins provides an interesting snapshot into what it would be like for a girl to go from living in the sea to living in the human world, with all that comes with it. What would it be like for a person to live in a building after spending her life living outside, in the ocean, and on the islands? What would it be like to learn human speech after learning how to communicate with dolphins? How would communications with humans go? All of these questions are explored through Mila’s interactions with her world and through her re-acclimatization process. This is a slow-paced story that is mostly character driven, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s incredibly well-written and there are subtle changes in Mila from chapter to chapter as time passes and she becomes more used to living in the human world, for better or worse. Hesse is thorough in her treatment of this subject, and I like how she includes Mila’s confusion about why the government has so much say in her life and how Mila feels lonely, because while she’s given caregivers, she doesn’t really have a family and feels a lot of loneliness over that. This is a great book for kids to be able to think about what is normal to them that might be strange to others, and what is strange to them that might be normal to others. The writing alone is enough to recommend this book, but it tells an enchanting story of what we’ve decided is meant by being human, and how that might look to others not used to it. I definitely recommend reading this if you haven’t already. It’s wonderful. Also posted on Purple People Readers.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I loved this book when I was about 11. I still love it. Especially since I know more about feral children. What happens to Mila also reminds me of what happens to dolphins in captivity. The cover is really pretty, but now it bothers me that the depiction of Mila on it is whitewashed. She's supposed to be half Cuban and even calls her skin brown. This edition is closer to how she should be represented. (view spoiler)[Some jerk wrote a review saying it is impossible for feral children to learn lang I loved this book when I was about 11. I still love it. Especially since I know more about feral children. What happens to Mila also reminds me of what happens to dolphins in captivity. The cover is really pretty, but now it bothers me that the depiction of Mila on it is whitewashed. She's supposed to be half Cuban and even calls her skin brown. This edition is closer to how she should be represented. (view spoiler)[Some jerk wrote a review saying it is impossible for feral children to learn language. That is mostly true, most end up like Shay. But Mila had language for a while before the plane crash, so her brain was developed enough to learn it. Like Ivan Mishukov. Whereas Shay was locked in a closet for most of her childhood. (hide spoiler)]

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    I read this book in junior high school and it was amazing; going back and reading it again sort of changed my opinion on it slightly but nonetheless it's a great book for middle-grade readers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    em

    This was the first book I ever purchased (with my own money) at a book fair in 3rd grade. It’s been on my shelf for that long... It’s been that long since I’ve read it... I identified with this book more than when I did as a child (for obvious reasons). I work in the medical field and I see it on both sides, perspectively (I’ve been a patient, too); however to someone who has not grown in the state of recognition of dysfunction and represses it, hey, there’s projection. We’re all animals, and thi This was the first book I ever purchased (with my own money) at a book fair in 3rd grade. It’s been on my shelf for that long... It’s been that long since I’ve read it... I identified with this book more than when I did as a child (for obvious reasons). I work in the medical field and I see it on both sides, perspectively (I’ve been a patient, too); however to someone who has not grown in the state of recognition of dysfunction and represses it, hey, there’s projection. We’re all animals, and this representation of what it means to be family vs. what-can-you-do-for-me-since-I-did-this-for-you type culture speaks volumes. This will be one I pass down. There are so many important messages and takeaways in this short story. It’s actually rather haunting and much darker than I remember. You live more and understand more as you age. This story definitely sticks with you... I love it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barb Middleton

    Books about feral children make for an interesting look at the nature of being human and language development. What defines a person when he or she isn't socialized and raised by animals? "Peter Pan" by JM Barrie, remains in an adolescent state. "Julie of the Wolves" by Jean Craighead George, involves the girl Julie who lives with wolves and learns to communicate with them. "Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling is still on my endless book list. Karen Hesse's story is about Mila, a feral child discove Books about feral children make for an interesting look at the nature of being human and language development. What defines a person when he or she isn't socialized and raised by animals? "Peter Pan" by JM Barrie, remains in an adolescent state. "Julie of the Wolves" by Jean Craighead George, involves the girl Julie who lives with wolves and learns to communicate with them. "Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling is still on my endless book list. Karen Hesse's story is about Mila, a feral child discovered by humans as a teen, who has lived with dolphins since she was four years old and been imprinted by their behavior. When the Coast Guard finds her as a teen, she is taken to a research facility and studied with another girl, Shay, who is a feral child but from being isolated from other humans by her mother. Mila finds assimilating with humans difficult socially. The audiobook's narration was average. The structure of the story begins with Mila communicating in simple language reflecting the second language learner. Her syntax lacks the use of pronouns and prepositions as she tells her experience of living in a government research facility. She is happy at first but misses her dolphin family. As she learns the language her thoughts and speech gain more fluency and figurative language. Ethical questions are raised as Mila feels trapped by the government that requires doctors to keep her locked in her room for her "own safety". The complexity of ideas progresses as Mila meets Shay, another feral child at the facility, who was locked up in a room with no contact with the outside world. Shay rarely speaks but Mila understands that bonding occurs through touch. She touches Shay and connects with her at first making her laugh when Mila speaks dolphin. Later Shay withdraws into herself and no longer connects with Mila foreshadowing Mila's withdrawal from humans as well. Mila has imprinted with dolphins and trying to connect with humans becomes impossible when she realizes she is not free to do as she wishes. The adults lock her in a room at night and she is feared because she is different. The researchers try to social the two to human behaviors but they cannot adapt. Mila ends up feeling just as trapped and isolated as Shay. Doors are a symbol throughout representing freedom from societal rules and behavior. Some doors are open and others shut. Toward the end, Mila can only see them shut. Social behavior for Mila reflects dolphin behavior of freely accepting people with doors being open. Mila is marginalized and feared because of her differences. The janitor is afraid of her and she is rejected by Shay who shuts herself off from all humans. The government locks Mila's door and is impersonal to her as a human with rights. The dolphins have socialized Mila to the idea that she can swim anywhere in the ocean and creatures are acceptable unless they are predators. Human boundaries and prejudice she cannot deal with because she knows there is an alternative for her. She connects with her doctor's son, Justin, but cannot accept him completely because he isn't a dolphin. She doesn't identify with humans and cannot adapt to human behavior like Shay. Music shows a different type of communication for Mila. She listens to it and learns to play an instrument with deep passion. The music relieves Mila's stress and gives emotional satisfaction as it is a reminder of her dolphin family and how sea creatures communicate with sounds. Again, music reflects how much Mila was imprinted regarding social behaviors by dolphins and not humans. She cannot assimilate with the family she lives with and becomes a tragic character in the end.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I got this book as a kid through my school's book order because I loved dolphins. I thought it was creative and poetic the way the font size and descriptions changed throughout the book as the protagonist's character developed. It was a heartwarming but sad tale about what it means to be human and animal.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sam! at the bookstore

    I read this book the summer before 6th grade as a required assignment. After reading the synopsis, I thought the book looked promising, with an interesting plot. I hated it. The writing style of the book really struck a nerve, with the main character using short, unformed sentences. I realize why this type of writing was used, but nevertheless it made it hard to read the book. While the naive-ness and vulnerability of the character made sense, I was quite bothered with it and could not properly co I read this book the summer before 6th grade as a required assignment. After reading the synopsis, I thought the book looked promising, with an interesting plot. I hated it. The writing style of the book really struck a nerve, with the main character using short, unformed sentences. I realize why this type of writing was used, but nevertheless it made it hard to read the book. While the naive-ness and vulnerability of the character made sense, I was quite bothered with it and could not properly connect with the character. Her relationship with the young male character was odd, and I didn't fully understand it's importance. The ending of the book was also frustrating. (view spoiler)[ Why have her be rescued from the island if she just returns? I don't see the importance of teaching her to be human if she will only return to the dolphins! In my view, there is really no point of the entire book. (hide spoiler)] While I realize that many people enjoyed this book I for one would never read it again, and honestly, am now discouraged from reading any other books from Karen Hesse.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Poignant, lyrically written story of a wild child who struggles not to learn language but to feel a part of our world. A Cuban refuge stranded on an island and essentially raised by dolphins (the premise sounds way hokier in summary than practice; Hesse handles it masterfully) is discovered and brought to an institute where she essentially becomes a test subject. With narration by a protagonist who is rapidly developing as she tells her story, _Music_ calls to mind "Flowers for Algernon." My onl Poignant, lyrically written story of a wild child who struggles not to learn language but to feel a part of our world. A Cuban refuge stranded on an island and essentially raised by dolphins (the premise sounds way hokier in summary than practice; Hesse handles it masterfully) is discovered and brought to an institute where she essentially becomes a test subject. With narration by a protagonist who is rapidly developing as she tells her story, _Music_ calls to mind "Flowers for Algernon." My only gripe is the rushed ending. Young adult audience considerations might have kept Hesse from exploring more deeply this rich and interesting character and situation.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    As soon as I started reading, I didn't like it. The font was huge and it was written extremely simply. As I got the recommendation from a teen book (honey for a teens heart), I thought it would be very different, not written simple enough for a 6yo learning to read. But it did get a little better in the end. I see that there are lots of reviews on this book, good and bad, so you'll have to read it to see if you like it or not!!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chris Flores

    I like the Book it is funny the Book. It's a new kind of adventure Dolphins sharks for jack and Annie join them as they research dolphins and find out the facts behind the fiction.I recommend to cycy

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I remember reading this in middle school and loving it. I don't know how much I would enjoy it now, but maybe I will sometime. It would be great to give to my kids in the future.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sophia Russano

    Review to come!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    Karen Hesse tried something admirable with this book: Write a heartwarming/breaking story of a girl trying to figure out how she fits in the world. Add some linguistics to spice things up and a few other characters we're supposed to like, and voila! Great book, right? Not so much. Karen Hesse uses some unusual typography meant to help illustrate the "progress" of Mila, as she learns human language and culture. Unfortunately, instead of seeming unique and creative it adds to the chore of reading t Karen Hesse tried something admirable with this book: Write a heartwarming/breaking story of a girl trying to figure out how she fits in the world. Add some linguistics to spice things up and a few other characters we're supposed to like, and voila! Great book, right? Not so much. Karen Hesse uses some unusual typography meant to help illustrate the "progress" of Mila, as she learns human language and culture. Unfortunately, instead of seeming unique and creative it adds to the chore of reading the book. One issue I couldn't ignore was that it seems L1 (First Language Acquisition) and L2 (Second Language Acquisition) routinely get confused in this book. It's entirely understandable most of the time, since the difference between them isn't often important to the writer or the story. Yet, with such a heavy emphasis on linguistics in this book, I would expect more care to be taken when dealing with the differences in how we learn a first language versus how we learn a second. Sometimes Mila is exposed to L1 learning, and sometimes she is exposed to L2 learning, yet her response and how they are treated are usually the same. One could say that I am being too persnickety and unfair, since this is really just a young reader's book. All this other criticism aside however, the book ultimately breaks the biggest rule of any novel: it's simply boring. I never really cared about Mila anyway. I never cared about her situation, her learning progress, the other people who surround her, etc:. I couldn't really make myself care about anything in it. The book is a quick read, so I won't try to warn anyone off from reading it, and if you have nothing else to read you might as well give this a shot. If you manage to care about the story more than I did, then you might even end up enjoying it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Contain Spoilers: I just chose this book off the YA shelf at our library because it had a pretty blue cover. (All of our dust jackets are removed when cataloged). Anyway, I didn't read the synopsis because I don't like to spoil anything. I enjoy the discovery as I read. So surprise, this girl's a dolphin! Well, she was raised with dolphins after surviving a plane crash around age 3? and learned their language, habits, feelings, and basically became one of them. She's rescued and becomes part of a Contain Spoilers: I just chose this book off the YA shelf at our library because it had a pretty blue cover. (All of our dust jackets are removed when cataloged). Anyway, I didn't read the synopsis because I don't like to spoil anything. I enjoy the discovery as I read. So surprise, this girl's a dolphin! Well, she was raised with dolphins after surviving a plane crash around age 3? and learned their language, habits, feelings, and basically became one of them. She's rescued and becomes part of a study of feral children and attempts are made to reintegrate her into society. You have to suspend reality and quiet those nagging thoughts that try to rationalize the situation and sit back and enjoy the imagery and delightfully descriptive writing. After all, it is a work of fiction. I appreciated the physical type of the book. When Mila was first found and her English was basically a few words, Hesse used a large font. As she typed on her computer, the font reflected that, as she learned more of the human ways and language the print became standard and finally as she regressed, the font increased again. Having just read "The Stranger" by Camus, I noticed that the question, "What does it mean to be human?" is paralleled between that book and this one. However, that is the only similarity. The main character of Hesse's novel, while certainly concerned with the physical world, is much more concerned with emotional and social aspects of her life. She also observes that there exists rationality among humans, but chooses the order and rationality of her dolphin family.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    I read this with my son's third grade class last May. So, memories are dim. I consider this Flowers for Algernon lite. The author attempts to teach a similar lesson, that human beings are complex and as experiment subjects, things don't always turn out the best for them, but it doesn't really have the same aftertaste. A girl survives a plane accident when she is around 4 (her mother and brother die), but she is never discovered and spends the next decade living with an adoptive pod of dolphins un I read this with my son's third grade class last May. So, memories are dim. I consider this Flowers for Algernon lite. The author attempts to teach a similar lesson, that human beings are complex and as experiment subjects, things don't always turn out the best for them, but it doesn't really have the same aftertaste. A girl survives a plane accident when she is around 4 (her mother and brother die), but she is never discovered and spends the next decade living with an adoptive pod of dolphins until she is found, once again, by society. By this time, she is wild, or feral, and can't talk, can't read or write, and has no understanding of what's "normal" for human beings. As much as they try to bring her back into the human fold, this girl wants to be a dolphin. She wants to swim with her family, and sing and move as she's always done. As her understanding of humans progresses, her desire to return to life with her dolphin family increases, until she eventually regresses and is allowed to rejoin her dolphin family. Ya. O.K. then. I get the author is trying to write a story about what it means to be human, and how we can all be different, but...fourth graders don't understand girls who want to be dolphins. I'm not sure they had the depth of experience to be empathetic. Because, who lives with dolphins?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    A wonderful book to read with children. Fifth graders are old enough to appreciate the use of print (fint, size, context) to create meaning. As the main character in this book learns English, the print gets smaller, and then there is a shift and the print begins to get larger. Why? When she thinks about her dolphin life the writing is fluid, poetic and in italics. Even with her simple language this character creates worlds of meaning and beautiful character portraits. Then there is the last line A wonderful book to read with children. Fifth graders are old enough to appreciate the use of print (fint, size, context) to create meaning. As the main character in this book learns English, the print gets smaller, and then there is a shift and the print begins to get larger. Why? When she thinks about her dolphin life the writing is fluid, poetic and in italics. Even with her simple language this character creates worlds of meaning and beautiful character portraits. Then there is the last line of the story. What does it mean? What actually happens. There is always disagreement when we talk about the ending. Could this actually happen? is a question that fifth graders raise. The book is written so realistically. The power of the book is that we feel that this may be an actual account. I always read Stephen Dunn's poem about the woman saved by a sea turtle which is based on an newspaper story, as well as a picture book account of the "wild child." What a rich, seemingly simple, text.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Allie 2

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The girl when she was little was on a plane coming from Cuba with her mom and brother. The plane went down and she joined the family of dolphins. She had a mother dolphin and aunt and cousin dolphins. Each night she would sleep on a rock out of the water but would eat live fish and live in the sea. Researchers/government found her and took her from the dolphins. They treated her as a feral child having to reteach her how to live. There was another girl with her, shay, that was different like her The girl when she was little was on a plane coming from Cuba with her mom and brother. The plane went down and she joined the family of dolphins. She had a mother dolphin and aunt and cousin dolphins. Each night she would sleep on a rock out of the water but would eat live fish and live in the sea. Researchers/government found her and took her from the dolphins. They treated her as a feral child having to reteach her how to live. There was another girl with her, shay, that was different like her (the girl was locked in a room for her whole life until discovered). They worked together, but Mila progressed while Shay didn't. She learned a lot more than they expected her too, but she didn't like being alone and locked in this house for the most part. She became close with one of the doctors sons and he was the one that finally set her free back in the dolphin life. It is written from the perspective of Mila and you notice that as she learns English the font changes and her language gets better.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dandylion

    I LOVE THIS BOOK! at first I liked it, in the middle it was okay, but not going like I had hoped, and at the end my heart was broken and put back together again. I love this book! I cried so hard at the end. I don't know why it got to me so much, but it was such a sad story. I don't know how to explain it, I'm still speechless. I will definitely be reading this book again and it's such a fast read! I love how he put the book together, starting out with Huge text when she didn't know much and get I LOVE THIS BOOK! at first I liked it, in the middle it was okay, but not going like I had hoped, and at the end my heart was broken and put back together again. I love this book! I cried so hard at the end. I don't know why it got to me so much, but it was such a sad story. I don't know how to explain it, I'm still speechless. I will definitely be reading this book again and it's such a fast read! I love how he put the book together, starting out with Huge text when she didn't know much and getting smaller as her "intelligence" grew. I thought it was very clever and loved the story. My heart went out to her and I just wanted her to be happy. I love Mila so much, I thought she was a FANTASTIC character and was so perfect. So sad, but so optimistic. I think that everyone should read this, I think they would benefit from it and it really doesn't take long at all to read. Maybe a couple of days, I read it in one. Please read this book all the way through!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ash R.

    This book is about a girl, Mila, who knows not very much because she was raised as a dolphin but was found, taught and brought into the world to learn English. Mila shows her improvement in her change from dolphin girl to earth girl. She tries and wants to give up but getter better and stronger. I can connect to Mila for trying so hard and having it pay it in the end but just mssing what you use to do because you've done it for so long. Somethings never change and you cant stop people from doing This book is about a girl, Mila, who knows not very much because she was raised as a dolphin but was found, taught and brought into the world to learn English. Mila shows her improvement in her change from dolphin girl to earth girl. She tries and wants to give up but getter better and stronger. I can connect to Mila for trying so hard and having it pay it in the end but just mssing what you use to do because you've done it for so long. Somethings never change and you cant stop people from doing something you love its totally up to them. I would rate this book a 4.5 because I love who they change the size from the beginning of the book to the end to show her progress as a learner to be a human. It something easy to follow her growth but it was hard to figure out why the author did that... which I liked! =)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenelle

    early interest in wild children: story of a girl who was raised with dolphins, "rescued," and re-integrated with human society. at first she displays an eager aptitude, like, she always knew she had something those dolphins didn't! & then, inevitably, a depressed sense of loss, like, she always knew she had something those humans didn't. first-person narration exploits her development, makes an eight year old linguaphile feel like a real scientist. there's a brief description of the way she brea early interest in wild children: story of a girl who was raised with dolphins, "rescued," and re-integrated with human society. at first she displays an eager aptitude, like, she always knew she had something those dolphins didn't! & then, inevitably, a depressed sense of loss, like, she always knew she had something those humans didn't. first-person narration exploits her development, makes an eight year old linguaphile feel like a real scientist. there's a brief description of the way she breathes when she's first found: un-rhythmic, discontinuous, a thing she has to remind herself to do, and it's stuck with me all these years: the most poignant, biological signal of a person at the outer edge of being human, still doomed to be human.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle703

    I really enjoyed reading this book, and i have learned no one can be truly and completely changed. Also you cant take something wild, and try to tame it. And finally you cant make someone do something they dont want to do. I would recommend this book for anyone!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Wallace

    I thought this book was very well set up and easy to read.For example one of the chapters were two sentences long.Over all this is a good book and recamended for young readers.This is why I gave this book 5 stars.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ashlee Hillin

    This has been one of the best books I have ever read! It is wonderfully heart-wrenching. It opened my eyes to how different we all are.

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