Reviews: Two Books with a Survival Theme


Island of the Blue Dolphins

By Scott O’Dell

Everything was peaceful in the village of Ghalas-at until the day that the ship landed on the shores of The Island of the Blue Dolphins. The Aleuts and the Russian captain came to hunt otter. When the hunters and the village men quarrel over the deal they had made concerning the otter pelts, many die, which leads to the new chief deciding that they should move from The Island of the Blue Dolphins to a new place.

When Karana, the main character, and her brother, Ramo, are left behind on the island, they have to survive until the big ship returns for them – if the big ship plans to return for them.

I really liked Karana. She knows her island well, and I really enjoyed reading of her adventure on the island.

The author did a really wonderful job with keeping true to Karana’s character. For instance, when the Aleut ship came at the beginning, Karana describes it as, “At first, it seemed like a small shell afloat on the sea. Then it grew larger and was a gull with folded wings.” This seems like what a native on the island would think, since she had not seen a ship before.


The Voyage of the Frog

By Gary Paulsen

When Owen, David Alspeth’s uncle, entrusted David to complete his dying wish, the broken-hearted David agreed. What he didn’t expect was the difficulties he would face on the open seas, while manning the sailboat, the Frog: Storms, sharks, limited food and water supply – will David survive to see his parents again?

One complaint: I didn’t care for the mild curse words the author used. I realize this is a Young Adult book, but I don’t like to hear // read a lot of stronger language. It wasn’t rampant in this book, and it was a milder word, but still I didn’t like that aspect. :-/

However, I really liked the book. There were a few part that made my stomach churn, but this was because of the author’s ability to describe things in such detail. XD

Also, I wished the sketch of the boat had been in the front of the book instead of the back. It would have helped me understand how the boat worked a little better to have seen it first rather than last. (Though maybe it is in other printings of the book. Mine is an AfterWords edition.)  Because I’m not familiar with sailing, when the book describes David’s actions to make the boat sail, I had to imagine it because I was so lost on the nautical terms. XD It would have been helpful to have a little glossary in the back or front, to explain the different parts of a boat so that I could go back and reference it while I read.



I love stories like these with a theme of survival. Also, because of the fact that David and Karana are without human contact for a great deal of time, there is a lack of dialogue, which makes these two books a really interesting read for me. I admire the authors’ ability to write without lots of dialogue; as an aspiring writer myself, I really appreciated that, because many times, we depend on dialogue to move the story forward. Or at least, I do, probably more than I should. X)


23 thoughts on “Reviews: Two Books with a Survival Theme

  1. A really good review! These are definitely two books I would like to read soon.
    I totally get what you mean about the lack of dialogue; it’s really hard to carry a book without a ton of speech. I really look up to authors who can pull it off!
    Great post once again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! 😊

      If you do read them, I’d love to know what you thought of them. 🙂

      I do too! 😀 I hope to read Robinson Crusoe someday soon as well.

      These two books spawned the idea of trying to write a book with a similar theme of being shipwrecked on an island, but with a different twist. I haven’t been brave enough to try writing it yet… 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • 🙂
        I’ll make sure to tell you what I think of them! 😀
        Ooh, Robinson Crusoe! I read a miniature, edited version of that when I was younger, and loved it.
        Yes, that’s a really nice idea for a book. You should definitely just go for it! I’d love to hear how it turns out.

        Liked by 1 person

        • 😀

          Me too! 🙂 It was required reading back when I was in school. It was one of the few books in school that I liked! I picked up the unedited version a couple of months ago and I can’t wait to see what it’s like. 🙂

          Thank you! 😊 I’m considering writing this book for NaNoWriMo instead of the fantasy one I had in mind, because the fantasy world needs so much worldbuilding and I don’t want to rush it. So it may happen this year!

          Liked by 1 person

                • I’ve read the edited one, and then the real one; but only the first one. (In my copy, there is a part one and part two.) It was so good! I must admit, I had to pull out the dictionary for a few words here and there – that book helped to expand my vocabulary! And I like it when books can do that.

                  It may be better to start with the edited! 🙂 I’m going through my edited versions of books, and found “Great Expectations” that I never read, so I may read it before getting a copy of the real one. 😊

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • I see! Yes, it was brilliant. Haha, that’s great! I also love to extend my vocabulary and learn new words. You’re right, books that can do that are great 🙂
                    Yes! Ooh, Great Expectations! I’ve yet to read that, but I’ve heard good things… 😀

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • 🙂

                      I’m currently reading Winds of Promise by Bodie and Brock Thoene and the authors made sure to use words that send me to the dictionary often! Especially the use of nautical words. I know pretty much nothing about boats. So when it said that Rafer went to the texas, I was like… he’s in California. And he just randomly went to Texas? Turns out, that’s the structure on the hurricane desk of a steamboat. (And then I had to find out what a hurricane deck was. 😂)

                      That is one of my goals in the novels I’m writing – use one word I’ve recently learned in each chapter. 😀

                      I loved A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens a couple of Christmases ago and liked it, so I imagine I’ll like this one too. Charles Dickens has a way with words! 🙂 Have you read any books by him?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • That’s so cool, I’ve never heard of that book though, LOL XD Is it good? Ahah when authors use specific words about planes or architecture stuff like that, I get so confused!
                      Ooh, what a great goal! Definitely a good idea 🙂
                      I really like Charles Dickens, his books are fascinating. Yes, I’ve read Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. (Also read edited version of David Copperfield) Hoping to read some more soon!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes, it’s good! 🙂 It’s all about the steamship New World and the pilot, Rafer, and the people on board.

                      Thanks! 😊

                      Oh, I’ve heard of those, but only read A Christmas Carol. I look forward to reading them sometime! 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ooh, awesome! I love that kind of thing 🙂
                      You’re welcome! ❤
                      Yes, definitely read them, they're both good books. I think A Christmas Carol is my favourite, though. And I love watching it as a movie at Christmas time! The Muppets version is pretty good too XD

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • 🙂

                      My copy of A Christmas Carol has three other Christmas stories by him that I haven’t read yet in there as well. I’m waiting until Christmas to savor them. 🙂

                      So far, I think A Christmas Carol was my favorite too. 🙂 I can’t wait to read more by him!

                      I finished the Great Expectations adaption and it was really good; makes me want to read the original even more now!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ooh, that’s so cool! I don’t have that kind of copy 😦 Haha, that’s a good idea to save them. (To be honest, I read all the wrong books at the wrong time. Summer activities in November, anyone??? XD)
                      Yes, it’s a really good book 🙂
                      That’s great! Ah, I know the struggles…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • This copy is very old. I think in my research I found out it was printed in the 1920’s. It’s called “Dickens’ Christmas Stories” and it also includes “The Chimes,” and “The Cricket On The Hearth.” I thought there were three more stories, turns out it was three total. 😅 It was a gift. I was actually scared to read it for the longest time because the dust jacket is coming apart and the pages are brittle. 😅 But I want to read it next December, so I’ll just be super careful with it.

                      LOL, I do the same thing sometimes. If only summer could last through November though, right? 🙂

                      (Just realized I forgot to comment about the Muppet’s version. 😄) I think I remember that from years ago, and I remember liking it too. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Woah, that’s one old book! I’m always scared to read books like that also – I don’t wanna hurt them!

                      Haha, yes! That would be great 🙂

                      No worries. I always liked it, maybe because I’m a sucker for puppets and anything meant for people third of my age…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yeah! 🙂 I love old books, but I’m also scared of them. So I put them in a plastic bag and put them on the bookshelf so they will be safe and then never read them. 😅


                      LOL, me too. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

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