Archive for ‘books’

February 6, 2008

The Music of Dolphins (by Karen Hesse)

The Music of DolphinsWhat a cool book !!

My 11 year old brought this home from school today – tells me his reading group has to read it. 

I flip it open.  And, on first impression I think it looks like it’s WAY below his reading level. He’s in 5th grade, but has always read at least a year ahead of his grade level.  He’s been reading Harry Potter and the likes for years… and I thought, “come one.  are they even TRYING to  CHALLENGE him???”

He’s also in a reading group, where he’s the only boy – and I thought this looked like a “girl” book that he wouldn’t like. 

I ask him how he likes it so far, and to my surprise he starts going on and on…  about a girl… raised by dolphins…  he doesn’t quite understand whats happening yet.  He’s just getting into it, but he’s obviously intrigued.  He says, “here… just read the first chapter – it will explain”. 

So, I read it to my 5 year old for his bedtime story.  He falls asleep… and I kept reading… and reading.. and reading.  I finished it. 

What a pleasant surprise.  I LOVED this book!  Here’s a little info on it from AMAZON:

“From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-This audio version of the book by Karen Hesse (Scholastic, 1969) is spellbinding. Mila has been raised by dolphins. When the Coast Guard discovers her, she is taken to a research facility and has to adjust to living with humans. She slowly acquires language and develops a love for music. Her love for music gives her insight into the human world yet allows her to remain connected to her dolphin world. Mila is very observant of her human caretakers and asks thought-provoking questions as to why humans behave as we do. The narration by Michele McHall and the original musical score enhance the story. McHall portrays the young Mila with a youthful voice; as Mila matures so does her voice. The musical score evokes the sounds of the sea and the dolphins. Mila will linger in the minds of listeners even when the tape is over. This extraordinary tale will enchant listeners and be popular in middle school and public libraries.
Ginny Harrell, William McGarrah Elementary School, Morrow, GA “

It starts off like a child writing it… as she learns about “humans” and language.  As she learns, the text in the book gets stronger… flashbacks into her life with the dolphins…. but, really all about human nature… promises… family… togetherness… music… feelings.  What matters in life… and, how humans often fail miserably at it all.  She wants to go back to the dolphins…. and you can’t blame her. 

I thought the writing was poetic.  Lots of metaphors.  I can see where it will lead to good discussions.  What a pleasant surprise. 

Tomorrow, my son and I are sneaking out early for one of our walks with our dog before school and work.  I will have to make a real effort not to ruin any of it for him.  I look forward to his take on it all, though.  He’s into music… and has a  heart of gold.  I’m sure he’ll identify with Mila, even though she’s a girl. 

How cool is it that my son and I can actually get in conversations about “deep” stuff like this now.  Very cool.  11 is fun.