White Dolphin ISBN: 9780192756220
Published by OUP Oxford, 2012
When this complex and beautifully written novel begins, we learn that Kara's mother, an expert in biodiversity and ecology, has disappeared whilst on a professional journey to South America. Kara refuses to believe she can be dead and is sure she will come back one day. This year has made Kara into a deeply unhappy girl, and her dyslexia and the teasing this brings forth from school mates doesn't help. When Felix, a new boy in her class who has a fairly mild form of Cerebral Palsy, is found to be unhappy too, the two 11 year-olds become friends of sorts. Kara is completely bound up in the natural world around her, and the descriptions of her life in Cornwall are beautifully done. She is particularly interested in dolphins, as was her mother, and when she and Felix find a beached baby dolphin with massive injuries, she becomes convinced that the mother and baby are needing each other, just as she needs her mum. There are many adventures and some very real danger before Kara can accept that her mother is dead and will not return. An ecological battle takes place too, which is resolved satisfactorily. Kara is a character so wrapped up in the natural world that earth and sea and all they contain seem almost part of her. The author, Gill Lewis, is a vet and deeply interested in animals, and it shows! A lovely story which will appeal to a wide audience.