Margaret Berkvist

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 419

Probing the subject [of youngsters adjusting to physical disabilities] with complete honesty and a lack of sentimentality, the Norwegian author Babbis Friis begins ["Kristy's Courage"] as Kristy is recovering consciousness following an automobile accident. Though time will mend the child's injuries, for the present she must live with a scarred face and distorted speech…. Miss Friis's readers will appreciate her understanding of how cruel the world can be to children on occasion. (p. 26)

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Margaret Berkvist, in The New York Times Book Review (© by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), December 12, 1965.

Kersti is a young girl who is involved in a car accident. As a result she is left with a horrible scar on her cheek which turns up one side of her mouth into a permanent smile. This story tells of the troubles she has in coming to terms with her scar and the way her friends and school-fellows react. [Kersti, published in the United States as Kristy's Courage,] is quoted as being "a study in child psychology for girls interested in teaching and nursing." This is rather a narrow field but it is a fairly accurate description of the type of readership who will enjoy it. The book is too adult in its approach for the younger reader, and the main character is too young for the older reader. It is a well-written, deep-thinking book but can hardly be called intriguing fiction, or even a fascinating story. (pp. 179-80)

The Junior Bookshelf, April, 1966.

"What we'd always dreaded at home … had happened at last. Teddy had done something really wrong. He'd harmed someone." And afraid that his mentally defective older brother will be taken away by the police, thirteen-year-old Mikkel takes Teddy himself and runs away…. [The story of their traumatic flight is told by Mikkel in Don't Take Teddy] in an interior monologue of such affectiveness and mounting intensity that the reader is left limp. The denouement is a sensible solution but an emotional manipulation: to the horror of Mikkel who thinks his brother is being abandoned, Teddy is entered in a school for mental defectives—but it is revealed suddenly that he will be a day student living at home, and talk turns to ways of helping mental defectives generally. As she demonstrated in Kristy's Courage …, Mrs. Friis-Baastad has unusual skill in depicting subtle appreciation of the qualities of a mental defective and his importance to his family. This needs introduction but it will be remembered. (p. 137)

Kirkus Service (copyright © 1967 Virginia Kirkus' Service, Inc.), February 1, 1967.

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