Dolphin Summer by Catherine Hapka is the type of book I would have loved when I was eight to about ten years-old. There is a girl a bit like me (always a plus when I was reading), dolphins, interesting questions, a bit of a mystery. As an adult, of course, there are holes in the story. But I have no problems recommending this to kids. The story is basic but fun for the third to (low) fifth grade reader.
Our heroine, Lily, is alone for the summer as her best friends are at summer camp. Her babysitter is a fun-loving artist who leaves her alone for a few minutes one day next to the bay as she runs an errand in the hardware store right next to it. Here Lily’s summer adventure begins when she spots a dolphin there. The rest of the story is Lily trying to help her dolphin friend, making new human friends and coming to an understanding of her family.
Facts about dolphins are sprinkled in the text, but mostly it is Lily’s story. As I had an advanced reader copy and not all information is included, I am hoping there will be a section of dolphin facts (but no promises!) Lily might be 12-years-old but she is a young twelve when the story starts. She does start to grow up a bit as the story moves along.
The author has other books about girls who bond with a dolphin friend. They might not be a series, but they allow the reader to continue reading about their favorite animal, the dolphin. Of course, this is a book that is a fit for girls who like animals in general. The modern ideas in the story (cell phones, texting instead of writing letters from camp and a kid running a blog) gives it less of the classic feel that the text gives off and brings it up-to-date. Plus, it is for girls who like realistic stories. It is a little girl-orientated, but there are a few male characters, too.