Colin Thiele Donald J. Bissett - Essay

Donald J. Bissett

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Storm Boy [in the book of the same name] lives a carefree, beachcombing existence in a remote shanty on the coast of Australia. He finds an abandoned pelican which he raises, and the two become inseparable. Although there are many poignant moments in the book, believability is strained when Mr. Percival, the pelican, rescues the crew of a shipwrecked tugboat, dies a grim death and causes the boy to give up his aimless life—all in true TV Lassie style….

"Storm Boy" suffers from too much plot….

Donald J. Bissett, "New Books for Young Readers: 'Storm Boy'," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1966 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), May 1, 1966, p. 30.

The author of this interesting story of life in the Bush [February Dragon] has obviously an intimate knowledge of the Australian countryside and the daily life on a Bush Homestead….

Although an imaginative fictional story the book has that rare quality of imparting knowledge whilst telling an exciting and interesting tale…. The facts and figures blend easily into the text which is well written with needle sharp descriptions of the village characters and of the animal personalities.

The "February Dragon" of the title is the dread bushfire. There is no sentimental glossing over the harsh truth and nature is seen at her most cruel….

This book will make a deep impression on all who read it….

"For Children from Ten to Fourteen: 'February Dragon'," in The Junior Bookshelf, Vol. 30, No. 4, August, 1966, p. 256.