Robert Newton Peck George Gleason - Essay

George Gleason

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The supposedly humorous gimmick [in Patooie] is a watermelon-seed spitting contest in the small town of Willetsberg in the 1930's. Standing in for the local seed-spitting champ … is a Methodist Bishop's fat wife. Mrs. Milo Dookit Brimstone can spit a seed almost 32 feet, likes drinks other than Methodist punch, and converses in an earthy (though not ribald) manner. Even with such extravagantly named townies as Leak Riley and Hunk Harlocker on the scene, it's all too thin and too strained, and the character of the Bishop's wife and daughter (immorally advanced for her young years) might offend more readers than it would amuse.

George Gleason, "Junior High Up: 'Patooie'," in School Library Journal (reprinted from the November, 1977 issue of School Library Journal, published by R. R. Bowker Co./A Xerox Corporation; copyright © 1977), Vol. 24, No. 3, November, 1977, p. 75.

Soup is running for president of the class [in Soup for President]. Despite his tender feelings for the opposing candidate, Norma Jean Bissell, Robert does a bang-up job as Soup's campaign manager…. The ending, with Norma Jean herself casting the decisive vote for Soup, exposes even the fair-minded Mr. Peck to charges of unconscious sexism; and throughout—right up to the romantic fadeout—he lays on the hayseed innocence just as thick as ever. But it's hard not to laugh at some of the corny complications.

"Younger Fiction: 'Soup for President'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1978 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLVI, No. 6, March 15, 1978, p. 307.