by Karen Hesse
It "began as a book about speech development, and evolved into something very different," the author says. The Music of Dolphins is the story of a feral child, a teenage girl found after living with dolphins in the ocean for twelve years. Rescued and taken to a research facility where scientists try to teach her to speak and act human. They also want to learn from her how dolphins communicate. Mila, the dolphin-girl, is confused by her new surroundings, ambiguous human behavior, and why people who profess to care about her keep her imprisoned. Although she likes learning English, and especially music, her greatest desire is to return to the ocean and the dolphins. Alongside her story is that of another girl, Shay, taken from neglectful parents who had kept her locked in a dark room. While Mila is constantly learning and thriving, Shay's rehabilitation goes very poorly. Told through Mila's diary, which begins as awkward sentence fragments (and presented in a very large font size), the story grows in complexity as Mila continues to learn and understand more and more (whereupon the font gets smaller). Targeted to a younger audience, the story is still well-enough crafted to be enjoyed by older readers who are interested in such examinations of human and animal nature.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 181 pages, 1996