Frank Bonham Zena Sutherland - Essay

Zena Sutherland

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Mystery in Little Tokyo is a] rather good middle-grades mystery story despite the somewhat contrived plot. The story is set in the Japanese section of Los Angeles, where Dan and Carol are visiting their grandparents. Danny … helps solve the mystery of the [disappearance of his grandfather's samurai sword] … and also helps end the feud between his grandfather and an elderly neighbor who had once been a good friend. The writing style is adequate, the characters are well-drawn, and the setting is very nicely developed; the author draws Little Tokyo as a solid neighborhood community with a rich tradition. (p. 70)

Zena Sutherland, in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (copyright 1967 by the University of Chicago; all rights reserved), January, 1967.

Twins Tom and Andy Croft, who volunteered together, are separated by a snafu in England; [The Ghost Front] follows them through Germany and Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. Each comes to despise the military realities as, fresh from training …, they face the enemy … and look into themselves. The nitty-gritty of army life is bared while the movement of each boy is related …, and the modified realism (e.g. the language goes beyond "heck," but not often) makes sense: the soldiers sweat and retch, bleed and desert, but not in excessive detail. Battalions have varied compositions without the usual one-man/one-creed constituencies, but the problems of cultural clash do not arise; neither is there any questioning of war itself. Finally, there's the personal adjustment to separation from the other self: Andy must learn to think for himself, Tom to move without pushing another, even gently. The dual vision works effectively…. (p. 12)

Kirkus Service (copyright © 1968 Virginia Kirkus' Service, Inc.), January 1, 1968.