Mavis Thorpe Clark Karin K. Bricker - Essay

Karin K. Bricker

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Opal mining provides an interesting and well-integrated background [for Spark of Opal]: however, most of the characters show only minimal development and the plot unfolds through exposition rather than action. (p. 73)

Karin K. Bricker, in School Library Journal (reprinted from the April, 1973 issue of School Library Journal, published by R. R. Bowker Co. A Xerox Corporation; copyright © 1973), April, 1973.

The wildfire that periodically ravages Victoria, Australia is the villain and chief protagonist [in Wildfire], and ranged against it are the Mob, a predictably varied lot of local children who find themselves trapped together in an old wooden cabin behind the fire lines…. [Events] are vivid enough to rivet the attention of the most blase by standers. In contrast, the children's reactions are pretty much straight out of their leader Bill's volunteer Book of Operations and the final discovery that the fire was started—not by gentle, absent-minded Steven—but by churlish farmer Brown cuts the fragile threads of human guilt and irony that held the Mob to the fire as more than casual victims. Plenty of large-scale danger and excitement, but not the equal of [Ivan] Southall's very similar Ash Road. (pp. 633-34)

Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1974 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), June 15, 1974.