The rare quality of [Island of the Blue Dolphins] lies in Mr. O'Dell's ability to depict the majesty of the heroine's lonely struggle…. The story is well written and the main character is vividly presented. (p. 47)
The heroine's control of her emotions and her realistic appraisal of the situation are stressed by the author. The motivations of the Indian girl are examined in greater depth than is usually accorded the fictional Indian. Young adults will admire and respect Karana's fortitude. Her transformation from her early instincts of fear and revenge to her acceptance of love for all living things is well presented. The author's knowledge of the marine life gives added interest. (p. 49)
John Gillespie and Diana Lembo, "Overcoming Emotional Growing Pains: 'Island of the Blue Dolphins'," in their Juniorplots: A Book Talk Manual for Teachers and Librarians, R. R. Bowker Company, 1967, pp. 47-50.