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The Music of Dolphins
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The Music of Dolphins

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  4,582 ratings  ·  448 reviews
A girl raised by dolphins must choose between two worlds in this critically acclaimed novel about what it means to be a human being.
Paperback, 181 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published February 1st 1996)
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Magic of Finkleton by K.C. HiltonMatilda by Roald DahlThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Teen/Children must reads
40th out of 256 books — 341 voters
Ripple by Tui AllenThe Music of Dolphins by Karen HesseThe Mystic Princesses and the Whirlpool by P.J. LaRueIsland of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'DellThe Dolphins of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Books with Dolphins on the Cover
2nd out of 18 books — 15 voters

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Simply put, this is one of the very Greatest books that I have ever read in my entire life. Karen Hesse's genius interpretations of life lived like an animal gave me constant, visible chills, resounding throughout my body like almost nothing that I have ever seen. The writing is so perfect that I don't want to spoil it by writing too much in this review; I will say just that it is one of the most awe-inspiring masterpieces of literature that I have ever experienced, and in an insanely full year ...more
Kitty Kestrella
Sep 27, 2009 Kitty Kestrella rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
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 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 ...more
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.
Cougar Dan Misogynistic Empire
Jun 27, 2007 Cougar Dan Misogynistic Empire rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: four year olds
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.
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)
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!!!
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.
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
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Allie 2
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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 ...more
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 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 ...more
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
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 ...more
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.
Oct 03, 2011 Kevin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: middle schoolers
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 ...more
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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It was a little sad. ;|
Julie Decker
Mila doesn't know what being human is about. Having been raised by dolphins (adopted by a dolphin who'd just lost her baby), Mila knows their songs but no other language. She is found and taken to a research facility, where researchers and visitors with different perspectives on her situation interact with her and try to teach her language and other skills. She also meets another child who was raised in isolation, and fixates on music. She develops a particular fascination with Justin, the son o ...more
Dean Deters
Summary-There was a mom,girl, and a little boy that on a plane . The plane crashed. The mom and the little boy die the girl did not die. Mila was raised by dolphins for several years. Mila was reached by doctor beck and sandy . Mila was naked win they found her. Mila was leaning to be hummed . She all was wanted to go back to her dolphn family . Before she wint back to the dolphin she wint to a ripere houseing she had in her room she had a TV and a bed . Her second house house is a really big ho ...more
Tyler Tippets
Good book, very sad!
I liked this book but it would have been easier to read if it used quotation marks. I liked how they changed the font size to represent her different mind sets. I thought the concept of a girl being raised by dolphins was so creative. I thought a lot about how tough it would be for her to survive. I liked that it showed her relationship with the girl who was not progressing as quickly as she was. I would have my students discuss what they think will happen to the girl next: will she interact wit ...more
I absolutely loved this book! I began to think this really happened through the whole book and kept thinking that I want the girl to pull through and become a human and find her family. I was completely entranced into it while reading it. One thing that I liked that the author did was change how big the text got as she learned more. When she really didn't know anything, the words were huge; however, as she learned more and more, the words got smaller. To me, the words got bigger at the end becau ...more
I truly loved this book, I think it is one of the best American books ever written.
No matter how age does it target, it touches whoever reads it.
It is not just about the deep, strong, emotional voice of Mila, and not just that the story itself is powerful and unique, it is the mixture of all the elements in the story that make it such a great book.

Hesse's done an amazing job speaking through Mila, and even though one might not relate to Mila, since she has really extraordinary background being
Alison Durbin
This book was not only a book about acquiring a new language, it became about a girl who wanted to prove to the doctors that she was more than a scientific experiment. I loved how the text of the book took a journey along with Mila- it started out with large text and gradually got longer. I also found this story significant because it reminded me of the documentary I saw, "Blackfish". It was about the orca whales that are plucked from the wild and taken to theme parks for human entertainment. Th ...more
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!
Simplicity. If you looked inside, you'd think by the big writing that it was just another children's reading book. But it's much more than that.
It's short enough to read slowly and carefully. The story isn't hidden with long descriptions. The simple words let you imagine for yourself - what it's like to have dolphins as your family, the ocean as your home. What it's like to see other humans as aliens, trapping you in another world that you never knew existed. What it's like to make friends for
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Class of 2014: book review 5 16 May 02, 2013 09:27AM  
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Karen Hesse is an American author of children's literature and literature for young adults, often with historical settings. Her novel Out of the Dust was the winner of the 1998 Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. In 2002, Hesse was a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship.

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Out of the Dust Letters from Rifka Witness A Light in the Storm: The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin, Fenwick Island, Delaware, 1861 (Dear America)  Safekeeping

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“I don't know what I am thinking. But I am alone. I am trapped in the net of the room. In the net of humans. I think maybe I am drowning in the net of humans.” 22 likes
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