Scott O'Dell

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Jean Fritz

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[The title character of "Carlota"], trying for her father's sake to take the place of her dead brother Carlos, rides a stallion, brands cattle on their Southern California ranch, even takes part in one of the last battles of the Mexican War and, except for the battle, seems to relish her role….

I am impressed with the history … and with many of the scenes, but at the conclusion I cease to believe in the fiction…. When Scott O'Dell has Carlota free her grandmother's slave and loose her father's chained eagle, I suppose he is demonstrating what he believes are feminine feelings that Carlota has repressed. But there is no indication that Carlota or anyone else in her society is sensitive to the plight of slaves or chained eagles. Mr. O'Dell is stingy with Carlota; he expects her to redefine herself but gives her too little material and not enough time.

Jean Fritz "Six by Winners," in The New York Times Book Review, November 13, 1977, pp. 37. 63.∗

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Mary M. Burns