Josephine Poole Ruth Hill Viguers - Essay

Ruth Hill Viguers

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Mr. Pawley's casual arrangements for the care of his children while he takes his artistic frustrations to a kinder climate are not unusual when one considers similar parental unconcern in other English stories. Even the fascinating old house and the overgrown garden are common enough. Kate is a sturdy, sensible child, and although he has never talked in all his four years, Thomas seems less abnormal than independent…. But the air of strangeness and mystery in which the children move is felt immediately, and the reader accepts as inevitable the entrance of the menacing presence of Aunt Rhoda, whom Kate invites to stay in their home…. The story builds up to a fearful climax in which Thomas is the pawn in a battle with the forces of evil and is saved as much by his own stubborn independence as by Kate's terrified efforts. The writing is smooth and graphic, a pleasure to read aloud. The book should find a very appreciative audience among children just leaving the fairytale age but still looking for tales of the supernatural.

Ruth Hill Viguers, "Early Spring Booklist: 'Moon Eyes'," in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright © 1967, by The Horn Book, Inc., Boston), Vol. XLIII, No. 2, April, 1967, p. 203.

[Moon Eyes] is a very strange tale which will appeal to those children to whom the boundary between real life and imagination is not well defined. To the cynical adult mind it poses many questions—why, for instance, did their father go away leaving 15 year old Kate and her 5 year old dumb brother alone in the house; why did their kindly daily, Mrs. Beer, or Kate's schoolmistress not act against the obviously dangerous Aunt Rhoda; why had no one tried to make Thomas speak before? But apart from these questions the story is a compelling one, and has an interesting atmosphere. It is powerfully written….

[Moon Eyes] is essentially a battle between good and evil, appealing to a wide range of readers—particularly girls—and when at last Kate and the influence for good have won the battle with Thomas, a number of questions are unanswered and leave plenty of food for thought.

"'Moon Eyes'," in The Junior Bookshelf, Vol. 29, No. 4, August, 1967, p. 222.