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Synopses & Reviews
This award-winning novel by the beloved author is reissued to coincide with the hardcover release of its sequel, Poppy and Rye.
As ruler of Dimwood Forest, Ocax, the hoot owl, has promised to protect the mice occupying an abandoned farmhouse as long as they ask permission before "moving about". Poppy, a timid dormouse, is a loyal, obedient subject — until she sees Ocax devour her finace. To prove that the intimidating ruler is a phony, Poppy embarks on a dangerous and eye-opening quest, which ends with her one-on-one battle with Ocax.
At the very edge of Dimwood Forest stood an old charred oak where, silhouetted by the moon, a great horned owl sat waiting. The owls name was Mr. Ocax, and he looked like death himself. With his piercing gaze, he surveyed the lands he called his own, watching for the creatures he considered his subjects. Not one of them ever dared to cross his path. . .until the terrible night when two little mice went dancing in the moonlight. . .
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, Aviis 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 allmy 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 orwrong. 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 Truthand 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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