A Daring Rescue

Scholastic. (Dolphin Island: Bk. 1). May 2020. 112p. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9781338290189.
Gr 3-5–The first book of the “Dolphin Island” series introduces eight-year-old Abby Feingold. Her father and stepmother, Rachel, open a resort on an island in the Florida Keys, which was given to them by Rachel’s aunt as a wedding present. Abby meets Bella Garcia, whose family is vacationing at the resort. While exploring the island, the two discover a hidden lagoon where they swim with a pod of dolphins. Bella is afraid that more tourists will scare the dolphins away and wants to keep them a secret, but when Abby overhears her parents talking about the resort being in danger of closing, she blurts out the secret of the dolphins in the hopes that it will entice more visitors to the island. The two friends argue, but soon reconcile when they, along with the dolphins, must save a macaw from being attacked by a raccoon. In the end, the resort’s success is secured and Abby and Bella pledge to remain friends. Although the resort is described as being on the precipice of financial ruin, Abby seems to lead a privileged life with her own phone and a Cuban housekeeper who prepares arroz con leche as a late-night snack and speaks “angry Spanish” to her nephew Carlos.
VERDICT Despite the attempts to highlight the bright culture of the Florida Keys, the story and its moral are somewhat uninspired. However, depictions of dolphins will be enjoyed by animal-loving early elementary students.

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