Friday, July 17, 2009

Island of the Blue Dolphin Book Club

Dancer and I belong to a mother/daughter homeschool book club. The members take turns hosting the club each month. This was our month to host. The host family gets to choose the book and Dancer choose Island of the Blue Dolphin as we both really enjoy the story.
We made a dolphin cake for snack. The instructions are here. It was much more difficult than I thought it would be. The dolphin part of the cake got a bit more done that expected so it was dry which makes it harder to work with making shapes compared to a moist cake. Someone stopped by to buy some rabbits and we were out in the barn when I realized 'we have a cake in the oven'. It didn't burn but it was in a few minutes too long. The base of the cake was chocolate and the dolphins were yellow cake. Almost the whole thing was gone by the time people left and one person took the rest home for their boys that didn't come so it must have tasted okay. The little dolphins around the sides were gummy dolphins, well they were called sharks but they served the place of dolphins. Those were all gone right away too.
The girls each made a shell bracelet. They really got into this activity, a couple girls went back to make more after the book discussion and even took shells home to make more when time ran out to make them here.
Dancer painted this box blue to be the ocean and put in a little sea otter with a shell on his tummy. This was really cute. She also put some big shells all about the living room and hung up some cotton fishing nets on the lamps and chairs.
She worked hard on these fish and colored them with chalks to resemble a beautiful catch of fish

and then hung them up across the living room to look like they were drying for winter in Karana's house. The t.v. really makes it look authentic doesn't it.

This is just quickly cut out of paper and taped to the wall. The size is about 3 feet by 3 feet. It is the Aleut ship with red sails coming into Coral Cove.

We also played the sound machine's track of birds calling and the ocean waves rolling in. To simulate ocean breezes we ran a fan. It was cold today, a high of 62 degrees, so we turned it off to keep from freezing. I suppose we could have pretended it was winter on the island but some of the kids had goosebumps.

I was unable to find discussion questions for older kids so just made up my own. It took about an hour to discuss them all. The ice breaker question, since not all the girls know each other well, was: If your name had to be kept a secret what would you tell people your name was?

The rest were:

  • How would you describe Karana as a person? In the beginning of the book? The end?

  • What do you think she thought when she broke the rule that women can't make weapons or they would break when they used them but when she used them nothing happened?

  • What do you think happened in her trip out to sea that made her happier with the island than before?

  • What do you think made Karana not kill Rontu?

  • She wanted to kill Rontu because he killed her brother and then didn't. Then she hated the Aleut girl because the Aleuts killed her father and many others. She had a change of heart about both of them. Both of these former enemies made her solitary life more bearable. Do you think that is why she changed her mind about them? Or was she merciful and forgiving? Was that part of her people's culture?

  • Ramo is attacked and killed by the wild dogs with Rontu as the leader and then later Rontu is attacked by the dogs. Was the author able to make you feel the same emotions in both scenes? If the dogs had killed Rontu do you think Karana feelings would have been the same as for her brother's death?

  • Why do you think the Aleut girl did not ask Karana to come with her? Do you think the girl told the Aleut men about Karana? Why?

  • When the men came to rescue her she didn't run down to the cove but waited for them to come to her. Why did she do that?

  • Karana tells us a few times that her sister was more vain than she was. She seemed proud that she wasn't that way. How is her pride a form of vanity? In secret she wore her cape, skirt, jewelry and then at the end of the book she put on airs for the men rescuing her. How vain do you really think she was? Was there a difference between her and her sister? Or was there a cultural reason she may have dressed for the men who rescued her?

  • Life on the island was alone was difficult and dangerous. What do you think kept her from giving up?

  • The dolphins are mentioned in the story twice, once going back to the island and then when she leaves. What did they symbolize for her?

  • Would you have stayed or left the island? Why?

It was a lot of fun going through these questions and the girls, and moms, had really great in depth answers. Dancer was still talking about the questions and how people answered them way into the evening.


Just an Average American Mom said...

Came to check this out. Great stuff here.

We have boys and girls mixed in together. I am looking for a craft but I don't think the bracelets are the way to go with the boys.

I love the questions, they are great!

Thanks for all the ideas.

Unknown said...

this was really intresting