John Neufeld Virginia Haviland - Essay

Virginia Haviland

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Issues and relationships more complex than those commonly found in literature for young readers are presented in depth and with conviction [in Edgar Allan]…. What happens after Edgar Allan's enrollment in nursery school and Mary Nell's threat to leave home is handled provocatively—to lead young readers into thought and debate over the conflicts. It is the very provocation to argument for white children that is the value of the admittedly purposeful book.

Virginia Haviland, "Early Spring Booklist: 'Edgar Allan'," in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright © 1969 by The Horn Book, Inc., Boston), Vol. XLV, No. 2, April, 1969, p. 172.

From the outset both glib and ingenuous, [Lisa, Bright and Dark] becomes the prototypical girls' story: Lisa's quandary could be any crisis, how will Lisa get help could be translated into how will the school play be saved. Or, perhaps, how will the Prince find Cinderella. With Betsy's father as witness, Lisa walks through a glass door; while she's hospitalized, Elizabeth summons "absolutely technicolor" psychiatrist Neil Donovan…. After much negotiating, the good (looking) doctor arrives at Lisa's bedside, unloosing a salubrious torrent of tears. The girls celebrate and, before Lisa leaves for treatment, they're assured she'll be well enough to come home for a Christmas visit. Which might be the most precarious prognostication of any year; [Hannah Green's] I Never Promised You a Rose Garden is far wiser.

"Older Fiction: 'Lisa, Bright and Dark'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1969 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XXXVII. No. 20, October 15, 1969, p. 1124.