Scott O'Dell John Rowe Townsend - Essay

John Rowe Townsend

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The title of Island of the Blue Dolphins, lovely in sound and evocative in all its key words (for the 'blue' transfers itself to the ocean), sums up the attraction of the O'Dell world. But it is not a matter of settings alone; this is an admirable novel; and its successor, The King's Fifth (1966), is to my mind even finer, although in Britain it is not well known. The subsequent O'Dell books, up to the time of writing, have been slighter.

Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960) accepts some severe limitations. It is the story of an Indian girl who survives for many years alone on a small and desolate island. For much of its course it has only one human character; so all that large...

(The entire section is 1872 words.)