Marshmallow reviews The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse

Both Marshmallow and Caramel love dolphins. Today Marshmallow reviews a book by Karen Hesse about a girl raised by dolphins: The Music of Dolphins. The book raises questions about what it means to be human and what it means to belong.

Marshmallow reviews The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse.
Marshmallow reviews The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books that are about friendship, family, or nature, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Mila was raised by dolphins since the age of four. At the beginning of the book she is found on an unpopulated island, and she is brought to a research facility. At the facility, Doctor Beck and Sandy teach her how to be more human. They teach her to talk and give her a recorder. Mila starts playing it and discovers music. Doctor Beck and Sandy are like a new family for her. At this facility, Mila meets another girl named Shay, who is another feral child and becomes like a little sister to her.

Mila eventually discovers that she was on her way from Cuba to the United States with her mother and her brother when something went wrong and her mother and brother drowned. She learns who her father is and that her birth given name is Olivia. From this she can piece together her story: After her mother and brother died, she was rescued by dolphins and adopted by her dolphin mother, who had recently lost her own child and upon finding Mila/Olivia, raised her as her own.  But Mila/Olivia feels like she was raised by the dolphins, meaning that they are the first family she knows of, and though she likes being human, she still wants to return to the sea. She makes music that reminds her of her dolphin family.

Marshmallow is reading The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse.
Marshmallow is reading The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that the author did a very good job of writing through Mila/Olivia’s perspective. The Music of Dolphins is a work of fiction, but the author does an excellent job creating the inner world of a feral child, which is a real phenomenon that I did not know much about before. When you read the book, you think you are reading the words that Mila wrote. The writing also displays where Mila is in her journey. The font size and the sentence complexity change as Mila becomes more fluent in human language.

Mila is a very relatable character and so are most of the other characters. You can feel Mila’s joy and curiosity and sadness, and you can understand the feelings of the other people, too, though you see those through Mila’s eyes. I think it is really sad that Mila didn’t get to know her human parents and family, but it is good that a pod of dolphins basically adopted her. You can sense how much she loves them and how much joy there was in her life with them.

The Music of Dolphins is also easy to read and understand. The chapters are really short, most are about a couple pages long. The plot is not complicated, so you can’t really get confused about the story. Mila and her family’s voyage to the United States reminded me of Isabel in Refugee by Alan Gratz. The plot reminded me of yet another book, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, not because the title has dolphins in it, but because the main character in both books is a girl who grows up mostly without human contact.

I think the way The Music of Dolphins ends works really well because the reader is unsure what is going to happen. The ending is both happy and sad. I won’t spoil it by saying more. All in all, I think that The Music of Dolphins is a very good book and I would recommend it to everyone.  

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse 100%.

Caramel reviews Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9) by Mary Pope Osborne

Caramel has reviewed several Magic Tree House books already: Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5), Afternoon on the Amazon (Magic Tree House #6), Knights and Castles (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #2), Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House #7), and Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8). Today he wanted to talk about book #9: Dolphins at Daybreak. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Caramel reviews Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9) by Mary Pope Osborne.

Sprinkles: It has been a while since you last reviewed a Magic Tree House book Caramel. Can you remind our readers the premise of these books?

Caramel: There are two kids called Jack and Annie. They find a magical tree house in the first book, and it takes them anywhere in a book if they say “I wish we could go there.”

S: And in each book, they go somewhere different, right?

C: Yes, and they can come back.

S: That is good. Where do they go in this book?

C: I think they go somewhere with a mini-sub.

S: What’s a mini-sub?

C: It’s a little submarine, a ship that goes under the sea. They go under the sea with it and they find out that it has a leak.

S: Hmm, that might be dangerous!

C: Oh no, they survive, don’t worry. But they get chased by a giant octopus and there is a dolphin and they see hammerhead sharks. Nothing too dangerous!

Caramel is reading Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Caramel is reading Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9) by Mary Pope Osborne.

S: Alright, so they have an adventure in the ocean, and you get to learn about ocean life, right?

C: Yes.

S: You have read a lot of books about sea life, in particular you read a ton of books about narwhals, right?

C: Yep. I reviewed all of the Narwhal and Jelly books I read, too.

S: The Magic Tree House books are mainly fiction but accompanying them there are fact trackers. You even reviewed one of those, remember?

C: Yes, I reviewed Knights and Castles (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #2).

S: There is a fact tracker book on dolphins and sharks, too. Did you read that one?

C: No. I do not think we have that book yet.

S: But maybe there were some new facts in this book too? Did you learn anything new by reading this book?

C: I never knew about mini-subs. They are cool!

S: Yes, they are! Apparently they are also called “midget submarines“!

C: I didn’t know that!

S: Okay, Caramel, this might be a good time to wrap up our review. As usual I will ask you for three words to describe this book. What do you say?

C: Fun, imaginative, fantasy.

S: Why do you say fantasy?

C: A magic tree house sounds fantastical doesn’t it?

S: You’re right. It is quite fantastical! And it is also a great idea to explore a new topic in every book, right? Are you going to read and review for the blog any more Magic Tree House books?

C: Yep. But for now, stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9) by Mary Pope Osborne and recommends it to all little bunnies who enjoyed reading about Jack and Annie's earlier adventures.
Caramel enjoyed reading Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9) by Mary Pope Osborne and recommends it to all little bunnies who enjoyed reading about Jack and Annie’s earlier adventures.