dolphin sky reviews From Publishers Weekly Readers will dive right into this affecting first novel set in 1968, about a dyslexic girl who braves great risks to befriend captive dolphins. On her 12th birthday, motherless Buddy is entranced by some performing dolphins she sees at a squalid tourist trap near her home in an Everglades fishing village. Considered "dumb" because she can't read properly and constantly gets directions reversed, Buddy feels empathy for the animals her father says are "too dumb" to miss their lost freedom. Against the wishes of her father but abetted by her crippled and ailing grandfather, Buddy surreptitiously undertakes the 10-mile boat trip as often as she can to see the dolphins, one of whom, Annie, becomes her special friend. Meanwhile, while working on a science project, Buddy teams up with a visiting scientist who not only warns her of the health dangers the dolphins face but also takes her to Miami, where she is diagnosed with dyslexia. For Buddy, knowledge is power: as she learns to overcome her disability, she likewise stands up for herself against her classroom nemesis and acts to save the dolphins. Believable characters, convincingly portrayed relationships, a deeply moving plot and a wealth of intimate details of Everglades life combine to make this debut a real winner. Ages 10-14. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal Grade 4-6 Buddy's life is not much brighter than that of the mistreated dolphins she sees at Stevens Everglade Eden. School is a torment to her; her crippled grandfather loves and respects her, but her father barely notices her except to express his disappointment at her apparent lack of intelligence. When Jane Conroy, a biologist, befriends Buddy, the woman recognizes her learning disability, does something about it, and opens up her eyes to the rights of animals. A lot happens in the three-month span of this story set in 1968, not all of it plausible. One visit to a psychologist seems to offer a cure for dyslexia?the problem barely surfaces again. Also, Buddy develops a strong enough relationship with one of the captive dolphins to engineer a daring escape for them. Readers will surely recognize the story's similarities to Jordan Horowitz's Free Willy (Scholastic, 1993), but some may question the wisdom of Buddy's actions; these creatures are not likely to survive their freedom. The writing is occasionally awkward and lacks subtlety early on, but the characters are sensitively drawn and undergo convincing changes, from Buddy's father's awakening to her grandfather's gradual decline and death. While the treatment of dyslexia is disappointing, the issue of animal rights is provocatively and emotionally discussed. Buddy's glossary of terms relating to her Everglades world is informative and a nice touch.?Susan Oliver, Hillsborough County Science Library at MOSI, Tampa, FL Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Booklist Gr. 5^-7. On Buddy's twelfth birthday, her father takes her to a second-rate dolphin show in the Florida Everglades. She identifies with the creatures at once, sensing their intelligence and recognizing their desire to communicate. Her grandfather takes her upriver to visit the dolphins in secret, and Buddy's affinity for them grows, as does concern over their health. Meanwhile, Buddy is troubled by her relationship with her father and her inability to read well and succeed at school. As the plot unwinds, Buddy is diagnosed with dyslexia and is forced to put her newfound self-confidence to the test with a scheme to save the dolphins. The boating adventures bring suspense, and the theme of our inhumane treatment of other mammals adds substance and tenderness. In the end, Buddy learns a lot about loving her father, grandfather, and the dolphins. A glossary written from Buddy's point of view explains unfamiliar terms. Susan DeRonne