Sonia Levitin Beryl Reid - Essay

Beryl Reid

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The bare outline of facts about the lost colony of Roanoke is familiar. In this substantial, well-researched novel [Roanoke: A Novel of the Lost Colony] the facts are spun out and woven into an absorbing narrative in which what is known to have occurred and what could well have occurred are inseparable…. Characterization is convincing, historical background detailed, and the reasons for the colony's disappearance well within the realm of credibility.

Beryl Reid, "Early Fall Booklist: 'Roanoke: A Novel of the Lost Colony'," in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright © 1973 by The Horn Book, Inc., Boston), Vol. XLIX, No. 5, October, 1973, p. 466.

We never quite figured out exactly what lesson Grandfather hoped to teach when he left Jason a ten dollar bill that sprouts into an honest-to-goodness money tree, but all that seed money causes Jason nothing but anxiety from the start [in Jason and the Money Tree]. Jason wonders whether the tree's fruit is really legal tender and frantically seeks odd jobs so that he will be able to account for his growing wad of bills. His preoccupation neatly parallels his father's worries over the approaching bar exam and the family's overburdened budget, and his sense of guilt makes one wonder whether Jason knows more than we do about the money missing from his storekeeper friend's cash register which he secretly replenishes. After the tree dries up from several days without care, Jason realizes that his negligence was not entirely accidental. But that's only one articulated example of the free-floating psychological insights that make this more than just another dig at the root of all evil.

"Younger Fiction: 'Jason and the Money Tree'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1974 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLII, No. 6, March 15, 1974, p. 300.