Fast-Talking Dolphin



Book: Fast-Talking Dolphin

Author: Carson Davidson

Illustrator: Sylvia Stone

Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks, republished in 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0396076964 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0396076963 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0590053679 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0590053671 Paperback

Language level: 1 (a single euphemism)

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12

Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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     Davidson, Carson.  Fast-Talking Dolphin (published in 1978 by Dodd Mead; republished in 1989 by Apple Paperbacks, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 730 Broadway, New York City, NY  10003).  Eric Anderson lives with his father, mother, and brother Karl on a farm beside a mountain in New England.  One day, he goes to a nearby ten foot wide trout pond and finds a bottle-nosed dolphin named Wallingford Ullingham Lowell, the Third.  What is even more amazing is that Wallingford can talk—and in anapestic poetry no less.  The dolphin says that he was in a plane on his way to an oceanography conference in London when he fell out of the cargo hold.  In doing his research, Eric finds out that dolphins need to be in salt water to survive.  Also, Eric notices that the supply of fish in the pond is becoming so dangerously low that Wallingford might starve.

Furthermore, the pond actually belongs on the land of mean old Mr. Benson, who shoots at kids to keep them away from his property, and his friendless son Herbie.  Is there anything that Eric can do to help alleviate these problems and save his new friend?  Will Wallingford be able to survive?  And what will happen to him if mean old Mr. Bemson finds out about the dolphin?   This is a very readable, easy to follow story that will appeal to most middle grade children, especially those who like animals.  Not only is there a general message about being kind  to other creatures, but there are also lessons embedded in the plot about friendship, working together to achieve a common goal, and standing up for what one believes in.  The euphemistic term “gee” is found once.  I enjoyed the book.

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