Song of the Dolphin Boy by Elizabeth Laird started out sad, but ended happy.

Song of the Dolphin Boy ($11,17, PGC Books, Pan MacMillan) follows the story of Finn, who has always been different. Finn lives in a small Scottish fishing village and he is alone – his mother is dead, his father is a drunk who refuses to let him go near the water and the few children who live in the neighbourhood leave him out of everything.

One day while attempting to run away from one of the neighbourhood boys, Finn falls into the water and realizes he can swim like a dolphin. He swims with a pod of dolphins and realizes he belongs.

One day while swimming with the dolphins, he notices they are in distress after eating balloons and other garbage floating in the ocean.

Finn will do anything to save his family, including asking for help from the children who always left him out.

The concept of the story was terribly sad: A father devastated by the death of his wife turns to alcohol rather than being a dad; a group of kids who find another child so strange they don’t invite him to birthday parties or to hang out with them so he is truly alone; and those kids parents’ who let it happen. Terrible.

But I love how the story changed, and changed pretty quickly. Once Finn discovered who he was, he did anything to save his dolphin family, including raising awareness about the plight of our oceans and the amount of plastic that is killing our wonderful sea creatures. I loved that a story about friendship and belonging also included information about the “importance of looking after our oceans.”

A copy of this book was provided by PGC Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.