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The Music of Dolphins Paperback – February 1, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Mila's rich inner voice makes her a lovely, lyrical character." - Voice of Youth Advocates
- Publisher : Scholastic Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 1, 1998)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0590897985
- ISBN-13 : 978-0590897983
- Reading age : 12 years and up
- Lexile measure : 560L
- Grade level : 7 and up
- Item Weight : 4.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.24 x 0.55 x 7.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #74,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Somewhere near the coast of Florida, a young girl is discovered---naked, disheveled, and clearly surviving on her own for years, with next to no knowledge of human language or customs. Upon her rescue, the team of scientists and doctors in charge of her nickname her Mila, and further investigation uncovers that Mila is possibly the only survivor of a plane crash years before, and since then, has been raised by dolphins and living with them. Told entirely from Mila's perspective, we follow her progress as she learns what it's like to be human. But the farther she comes along in her studies, the more the doctors begin to see her as just an oddity to be examined. And the longer she's away from her dolphin family, the more Mila begins to question where she truly belongs. Will she ever fit in with humanity? Or was she actually better off living in the ocean?
I was surprised how short the book actually was. You can finish it in less than two hours. But this novella is none the less unique in its storytelling style as Mila explains her experiences, with earlier chapters starting off as just a few clipped sentences, then gradually turning longer and more detailed as she becomes more literate. The way she describes human commodities is interesting, from TV, to using utensils to eat. And once she learns how to play a recorder, she communicates her feelings primarily through music, the way dolphins do---going so far as to describe other humans in musical terms.
But as time drags on, and the more Mila begins to realize that she'll most likely never be released from the lab, the more she makes comparisons between humans and dolphins---how each species views the world, their social hierarchy, and how they treat each other. It gets to a point where the dolphins arguably have more to teach humans, and treat Mila with more love, tenderness, and humanity than her fellow humans do. When compared to dolphins, when the doctors try to explain how human stuff works, the sillier it actually starts to sound (like coveting goods and territory and fearing the unknown, versus accepting newcomers and new experiences and helping anyone in need). In time, the head doctor's son, Justin, becomes Mila's main ally---inspiring her to advocate for herself the more the staff keeps her imprisoned; viewing her mostly as an experiment. Even Mila, with her limited knowledge of humans, has the foresight to know that she'll always be seen as "the dolphin girl" and nothing more.
My only nitpick is that the ending is left a bit ambiguous and wraps up a bit too neatly. I won't spoil it, but I doubt the final decision the doctors come to (in regards to what to do with Mila) would actually happen in real life. It's hard to tell if you'd even consider it a "happy" ending for Mila. But maybe that was the point. This is a rare and unique situation with no clear answers of what's the best way to treat a child who might as well be coming from an alien world. Is it best to leave her with the world she knows, despite the danger? Or should she potentially be changed into something she isn't?
With wonderful descriptions and a fascinating point of view, this book can be a great teaching tool to help kids and adults alike understand how we can learn from the animal kingdom, and what it truly means to be a decent human being.
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 among 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 our 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.
wonderful book for ALL ages
Top reviews from other countries
An adult could easily read it in a few hours. I’m a quick reader and I finished it in about 4 or 5. Still worth it! Love this book.