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Synopses & Reviews
Poppy returns ... with big trouble. Family trouble. <P>Poppy and Rye don't know what to do about their son Ragweed Junior's attitude. He is rude, he is crude, and he has dyed his fur to look like Mephitis, his skunk friend. In short, Ragweed Junior is very much a teenager. Even Ereth, the cantankerous porcupine, with his salty swearing, can't straighten him out. Then Poppy gets an urgent request to return to her old home, Gray House, where her aging parents, Sweet Cicely and Lungwort, are in difficulties. Not only does she agree to go back, she decides to take Junior, in hopes traveling together will bring them together. But when Junior's skunk pal and Ereth join the party, the trip doesn't quite go as expected. And when Poppy recalls she did not get along with her parents, things become even more complicated. <P>Poppy's Return is a hilarious adventure tale about family: the gleeful joys, the farcical sorrows, the high emotions, and the low comedy of living with and without relations. It's also about bears, bulldozers, and the boisterous antics of young mice doing the stinky red. And sugared slug soup, there's always Ereth to stir the stew of Poppy’ s rich and rewarding life.
About the Author
Ask Avi how you know when you're a real writer and his answer is simple: "I think you become a writer when you stop writing for yourself or your teachers and start thinking about readers." Avi made up his mind to do that when he was just a senior in high school.
Avi was born in 1937 in New York City and was raised in Brooklyn. Kids often ask him about his name. "My twin sister gave it to me when we were both about a year old. And it stuck." To this day, Avi is the only name the author uses.
As a kid, Avi says, he was "shy, not into sports, but someone who loved to read and play games of imagination." He did not consider himself a good student, though. "In elementary school I did well in science, but I was a poor writer. When I got to high school I failed all my courses. Then my folks put me in a small school that emphasized reading and writing." What made him want to become a writer? "Since writing was important to my family, friends and school, it was important to me. I wanted to prove that I could write. But it took years before I had a book published."
Avi didn't start off as an author of children's books but as a playwright. It was only when he had children of his own that he started to write for young people.
When asked if writing is hard for him, Avi gives an unequivocal YES. "But," he goes on, "it's hard for everyone to write well. I have to rewrite over and over again, so on average it takes me a year to write a book." Where does he get his ideas? "Everybody has ideas. The vital question is: What do you do with them? My wife, a college teacher, uses her ideas to understand literature. My rock musician sons shape their ideas in to music. I take my ideas and turn them into stories."
Avi's advice for people who want to write: "I believe reading is the key to writing. the more you read, the better your writing can be." He adds, "Listen, and watch the world around you. Don't be satisfied with answers others give you. Don't assume that because everyone believes a thing, that it is right or wrong. Reason things out for yourself. Work to get answers on your own. Understand why you believe things. Finally, write what you honestly feel, then learn from the criticism that will always come your way."
Avi's many award-winning books for young readers include the Newbery Medal-winning Crispin: Cross of Lead, the Newbery Honor Books Nothing But the Truth and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, as well as the Tales from Dimwood Forest, including Poppy, winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, Poppy and Rye, Ragweed, and Ereth's Birthday. His many other books include tales of mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction for young readers of all ages.
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