Colin Thiele Susan Cooper - Essay

Susan Cooper

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The first part of February Dragon seems to me rather "written down"—surprising, from so good a writer as Colin Thiele. But children will put up with its agreeable though unremarkable story of the life of a group of children in the Australian bush, for gradually it comes to grips with the "dragon." He is a creature as familiar in a hot American summer as in a hot Australian February—fire. A bushfire sweeping through the children's lives destroys homes, pets, and friends; the portrait is enormously vivid—and salutary.

Susan Cooper, "Newberry Medalist Susan Cooper Reviews New Novels," in The Christian Science Monitor (reprinted by permission from The Christian Science Monitor; © 1976 The Christian Science Publishing Society; all rights reserved), November 3, 1976, p. 20.∗

Thiele returns [with The Hammerhead Light] to a fishing village in Southern Australia, where this time the locals of Snapper Bay are threatened … by the Marine and Harbor Department, which wants to blow up their beloved Hammerhead Light. Twelve-year-old Tessa Noble and ancient "Uncle" Axel work together to save the lighthouse…. If the plot moves predictably, it moves smoothly, and the unsentimental look at aging, along with Tessa's gradual change from the role of ward to guardian in her relationship with the old man, adds ballast.

"Younger Fiction: 'The Hammerhead Light'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1977 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLV, No. 6, March 15, 1977, p. 286.