Song of the Dolphin Boy is a thought-provoking adventure story by the award-winning author Elizabeth Laird.
Finn lives in a tiny Scottish fishing village and has never fitted in with the other children. He has lived surrounded by water but strictly forbidden to go into it because, unknown to him, his mother was a selkie who returned to the sea and his father fears losing Finn. When he falls into the sea he fears he will drown but finds he finally feels at home with new friends, the dolphins in the sea. To his horror, he discovers the dolphins are threatened by the actions of humans who have littered the ocean with balloons. Finn must do something about it and finds solidarity with those who previously shunned him to bring awareness to the villagers and prevent the new supermarket from releasing balloons at their grand opening. Will they succeed? What will Finn learn about his past along the way?
Song of a Dolphin Boy is a story with the perils of plastic pollution to ocean life at its heart. Elizabeth Laird also tackles the dynamics of relationships between children which makes this story very relatable. We learn more about the children who make up The Lighthouse Crew and find that they all have reasons for feeling like they don’t belong. The relationships between the children could link to further discussion in PHSCE about friendship, bullying, and belonging. Peter Bailey’s black and white illustrations are exquisite and I particularly love the map at the beginning which will support readers to build a mental image of the village.
This would make an excellent read-aloud for junior classes. It links well to learning about environmental issues and could be supported by linking to the Authors 4 Oceans website. Song of the Dolphin Boy is included in Reading Gladiators for Year 4 because the engaging themes provide a rich resource for discussion.
Listen to Elizabeth Laird talk to Nikki Gamble In the Reading Corner.
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