Rachel Recommends THE SPANISH SMILE

Eighth grader Rachel Scrivner from Hillsboro, Oregon recommends. . .

The Spanish Smile by Scott O’Dell

Reading this book The Spanish Smile was different from what I’m used to reading. The author didn’t get to the point. It just seemed like there were too many details. Even though I have split feelings for this book, it doesn’t mean that this is a bad book. Don’t get me wrong, this book has specific details and a hidden theme, but there just wasn’t any action!

Lucinda is the main character of The Spanish Smile. She is a reader, intelligent, filled with dreams, and a princess. On the other hand,  her father Don Enrique is the opposite. He is demanding, quiet, a king, strict, and has very harsh rules.

They live on an island called Isla del Oro (Golden Island), off the coast of California, with frightening storms, deep water, no lighthouse, and lots of ships coming and going. Lucinda literally lives in the kingdom. She is not allowed to leave the kingdom. Basically, Lucinda is her father’s prisoner. He demands no music, TV, phones, or books on the island. Then one day she leaves.

The reason I have split feelings for this book is that  The Spanish Smile had somethings that I liked and somethings that I didn’t. The Spanish Smile was very descriptive. It starts off, “there was no lighthouse on Isla del Oro, although two ships had gone aground there in the past year and five in my memory.” Scott O’ Dell (the author) just really grabs you and pulls you into the book:  watching the waves crashing against the rocks, hearing the sound of seagulls, with the sun on your face, glistening in the ocean.

While this book has some great details, it also has a hidden theme. I figured out that the theme is that the author wants us to remember that we should be thankful for who and what we have instead of worrying about what we don’t have.

Even though this book has some good things, just like all books it has its bad. This book was kind of confusing. First it would be talking about how Lucinda looked like her great-grandmother. Then it jumped to what her father was doing.

I would love to read The Spanish Smile again just to see if I have missed anything. Anyone who is serious, understands a little Spanish, and doesn’t like suspense should read this. Remember to be thankful for who and what you have, instead of worrying about what you don’t have.


Several of Rachel’s classmates have also allowed us to publish reviews of what they’re currently reading.  And for recommendations from kids of all ages, check out our Kids Recommend section.


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