HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Lost Island
Author: Eilis Dillon
Illustrator: Richard Kennedy
Publisher: The New York Review Children’s Collection, republished 2006
ISBN-13: 978-1590172056 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1590172051 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0600355175 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0600355179 Paperback
Related website(s): http://www.nyrb.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Dillon, Eilis. The Lost Island (published in 1952 by Faber and Faber Ltd., London, England; republished in 1986 by The O’Brien Press Ltd., Dublin, Ireland; published in the United States in 2006 by New York Review Children’s Collection), an imprint of the New York Review of Books, 1755 Broadway, New York, NY 10019). Fourteen year old Michael Farrell lives on a farm in western Ireland near the sea with his mother Eileen, their farmhand Billy, and Mulcahy the horse. Four years before, Michael’s father, Jim Farrell, had bought a fishing boat and set sail with a companion, Tomeen Connolly, to search for the legendary lost island of Inishmanann where there is supposedly a treasure. No one has heard from them since. Then a shifty beggar named Mikus Kavanagh turns up in town with Jim Farrell’s knife and a message for Michael that his father is on the island and Michael must join him there. So Michael arranges with Pat Conway, a ship builder of questionable reputation, to outfit a boat so that he and his orphaned friend Joe Clancy, who lives with Mr. and Mrs. Pete, can go to find Mr. Farrell.
However, Conway insists that his man Matt Raftery skipper the boat. The boys suspect that the two plan to maroon them on the island and steal the treasure, so they manage to ditch Conway and Raftery on Fort Island, pick up another boy named Mike Conneeley, Big Johnny’s son, and sail on. With their enemies waiting for them, will they make it to Inishmanann? If so, can they return? Is Michael’s father really there? And what is the treasure? Author Eilis Dillon (1920—1994) wrote more than thirty books for young people, most of which are set in the west of Ireland, in small communities struggling to make a living on the islands and along the Atlantic coast. The Lost Island, illustrated by Richard Kennedy, is an excellent adventure story that is full of excitement and suspense. It is a great read-aloud for young boys because Dillon makes the story come alive so that they will be chomping to hear how things will work out and whether the boys will get back safely.