The average length of chapters in Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell is 6.2 pages, though they range from four to nine pages long. There are a total of 29 chapters in the book, and the average reading age level is 10 years old.
The story is of Karana, an Indian girl who must learn to survive on her own. The chapters are short and allow for the large concepts to be broken down to a 10-year-old reading level and create a vivid environment for the plot and characters to develop. This is not an action-packed adventure but a story of learning large lessons from very real obstacles. This book was ahead of its time in portraying a gritty survivor as a self-sufficient female.
In the chaos of her tribe moving to a new home, Karana and her six-year-old brother, Ramo, are accidentally left behind. Over the course of her 18-year stay on the island, she overcomes hardships, both personal and those caused by natural elements, to learn how to survive and live harmoniously with the flora and wildlife of the island. Though Karana confronts personal tragedy early on, she learns from her experiences to conquer her anger and live in harmony with the world around her.