Barbara Corcoran Zena Sutherland - Essay

Zena Sutherland

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Cabin in the Sky] has more than a trace of show-biz pathos, but the characters are sound, the writing polished, and the picture of the theater world of the 1950's, with careers ruined by witch-hunting blacklisters, is remarkably evocative.

Zena Sutherland, "New Titles for Children and Young People: 'Cabin in the Sky'," in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (© 1977 by the University of Chicago; all rights reserved), Vol. 30, No. 6, February, 1977, p. 88.

[The Faraway Island] begins with fourteen-year-old Lynn bumbling about in an agony of shyness, and Corcoran's sympathy not only with her but, by extension, with such adolescent pains in general, is almost as heavy-handed. Then Lynn, fearful of entering a foreign school, is sent to Grandmother on Nantucket…. [She worries] about the old woman's memory lapses and Mr. and Mrs. Small's attempts to push her into an institution. The characterization of this busybody couple is also a bit overdone, and throughout the visit Lynn and Grandmother don't take readers beyond the level of tepid insights. But unlike most authors Corcoran is better at happy endings than at problems. As Lynn naturally sheds her clumsiness in this more accepting home, the good vibrations that emanate from a new young doctor who reassures Grandmother, from a new boy on the island who helps Lynn brave the new school, and even from Cyrano, her adopted black sheep, are as warming as ever. (pp. 97-8)

"Young Adult Fiction: 'The Faraway Island'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1977 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLV, No. 3, February 1, 1977, pp. 97-8.

When Dixon sticks to straight reportage, [Summer of the White Goat] is an interesting, detailed account of the species' life and habitat, focusing on kid rearing, and including the lonely, higher-altitude existence of the billy goats. But the literally cliff-hanging adventures of the boy scientist are superfluous in this wildlife report.

"Younger Fiction: 'Summer of the White Goat'," in Kirkus Review (copyright © 1977 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLV, No. 5, March 1, 1977, p. 223.