Allan W. Eckert Robert Berkvist - Essay

Robert Berkvist

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Nature study is full of pitfalls, Disney only knows, and it is a pleasure to report that Allan W. Eckert has avoided them all in this beautiful book about the Louisiana bayou country ["Bayou Backwaters"].

The bayou region, which has thus far escaped "development," is a richly populated stronghold of plant and animal life. Mr. Eckert builds up an evocative word-portrait of the area by letting us observe a number of its inhabitants on their daily rounds through its woods and waters….

[Thanks to Mr. Eckert's] eye for detail, his sense of the rhythms of the natural world, his feeling for its beauty and balance, "Bayou Backwaters" is a celebration of life in all its forms.

Robert Berkvist, "For Younger Readers: 'Bayou Backwaters'," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1968 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), June 30, 1968, p. 26.

Anthropomorphism is so often found in animal books that it is a distinct pleasure to see true-to-life animal fiction presented in an interesting and absorbing manner. This beautiful book [Bayou Backwaters] presents the drama of life in a Louisiana bayou as seen through the eyes of the animals who live there…. Conflict, climax, tragedy—all the qualities that make for good story-telling—are presented in an extremely well-written style…. Adults will enjoy this book as much as younger readers.

"Animal Ecology," in Science Books (copyright 1968 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science), Vol. 4, No. 2 (September, 1968), p. 131.

[Allen W. Eckert] has evidenced his love of nature and his ability to write interesting nature books for the layman (not to be confused with scientific natural-history or ecological studies). This personalized, somewhat anthropomorphic study of the life history of the king snake [The King Snake] tells in a general way of the life history of that interesting animal…. It is good recreational reading for nature lovers or others; it cannot qualify as a reference on the king snake since it lacks sufficient herpetological detail, references, and index.

"Reptiles: 'The King Snake'," in Science Books (copyright 1968 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science), Vol. 4, No. 2 (September, 1968), p. 134.