Robert Newton Peck Zena Sutherland - Essay

Zena Sutherland

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The various incidents of [Trig Sees Red] are concerned with the firing of an elderly traffic policeman and the substitution of a hanging traffic light at Clodsburg's one busy intersection. It's all slapstick comedy that depends on people getting into fights, falling down, jeering at each other, and making stupid errors—to say nothing of talking like naive ignoramuses. Trig and her pals make much of being Junior G-Men and hovering about, cheering each small disaster and hoping Pop the Cop will be reinstated. The disaster humor may appeal to some readers, but the overblown and unrelieved farce eventually erodes even the humor.

Zena Sutherland, "New Titles for Children and Young People: 'Trig Sees Red'," in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (© 1979 by the University of Chicago; all rights reserved), Vol. 32, No. 6, February, 1979, p. 103.

Funny names are Peck's stock-in-trade, but this silly high school sitcom [Basket Case] consists of little else, from the opening moment when Graffiti Prep's headmistress Portlee Stouter Winterbottom asks goof-off hero Higbee Hartburn's help in the coming basketball game with Prat Falls High…. That's only a sample; Peck also lists all the football teams Higbee's father watches on the televised Kumquat Bowl, the songs performed by Castor Ipecac and the Pimples at the Hop, the starting lineup of the Prat Falls team…. With all these shots he's bound to score occasionally, but the Henry Aldrich shenanigans pall.

"Older Fiction: 'Basket Case'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1979 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLXII, No. 7, April 1, 1979, p. 393.