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Poppy and Rye (Poppy Stories Series)

Poppy and Rye (Poppy Stories Series)

4.4 17
by Avi, Brian Floca (Illustrator)

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Heartbroken over the death of her fiance, Ragweed, Poppy, a deer mouse, journeys west through the vast Dimwood Forest to bring the sad news to Ragweed's family. But Poppy and her prickly porcupine pal, Ereth, arrive only to discover that beavers have flooded the serene valley where Ragweed lived. Together Poppy and Ragweed's brother Rye brave kidnapping,


Heartbroken over the death of her fiance, Ragweed, Poppy, a deer mouse, journeys west through the vast Dimwood Forest to bring the sad news to Ragweed's family. But Poppy and her prickly porcupine pal, Ereth, arrive only to discover that beavers have flooded the serene valley where Ragweed lived. Together Poppy and Ragweed's brother Rye brave kidnapping, imprisonment, and a daring rescue to fight the beavers. At the same time, Rye — who has lived in Ragweed's shadow — fights to prove himself worthy of Poppy's love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Newbery Honor author Avi (Tom, Babette and Simon, reviewed June 12) turns out another winner with this fanciful tale featuring a cast of woodland creatures. 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 fianc and hears the owl deny her father's request to seek new living quarters. To prove that the intimidating ruler is really a phony, Poppy embarks on a dangerous and eye-opening quest, which ends with her one-on-one battle with Ocax. While the themes about tyranny and heroism are timeless, Avi leavens his treatment with such 20th-century touches as Poppy's jive-talking boyfriend and Poppy's own romantic vision of herself as Ginger Rogers. An engaging blend of romance, suspense and parody, this fantasy is well-nigh irresistible. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 9-11. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Kristin Harris
A tale of mice and beavers, this one is a winner because the characters are so sympathetically portrayed. The second in a series finds Poppy, a golden mouse, on a journey to inform her former fiancé's family of his death. Poppy had been very much in love with Ragweed, and feels very strongly about communicating with his family. But the trip will be long and dangerous, and she wants company. She manages to talk her friend Ereth, a porcupine, into accompanying her. Ereth has a rather acerbic personality, and agrees to go only reluctantly. Guided by the little she knows of the location of Ragweed's family, Poppy eventually stumbles onto a familiar face and it's full steam ahead with adventure and romance. The beavers have invaded the brook, and Poppy will be involved in not only helping the grieving mouse family deal with their loss, but also with securing their future. This story makes great reading aloud.
VOYA - Maura Bresnahan
Fans of Avi's Poppy (Orchard, 1995/VOYA June 1996) will find this sequel an entertaining read. As readers of the first story will remember, Poppy was determined to find the family of her deceased fiancé Ragweed and let them know of his death. Poppy and Rye details Poppy's journey to the home of Ragweed's parents with her irascible porcupine friend Ereth. Avi delivers a romantic adventure to his audience when Poppy finds herself falling in love with Ragweed's younger brother Rye while at the same time helping his family survive the encroachment of a band of industrious beavers. The beavers are led by Caster P. Canad, who tosses mottoes and slogans around in the same manner that Ereth spews his opinions. Canad's "progress without pain" campaign to dam The Brook where the golden mice live leaves Rye's family fighting to survive as their home and resources are flooded. Poppy and Rye use their wits and bravely defend the rights of the golden mice to maintain their home against the more powerful beaver population. The fast-paced and dramatic fight for survival against the beavers provides a climax young readers will enjoy. Fans of Ereth's alliterative mutterings will not be disappointed either as Avi, once again, has the porcupine spouting some hilarious expressions. Readers waiting for the answers as to how Poppy and Rye met will be satisfied here. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8).
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6This novel tells the story, as promised in the final pages of Poppy (Orchard, 1995), of how the courageous deer mouse met and married her husband Rye. Picking up Poppy's story after her victory over Mr. Ocax the owl, Avi chronicles her quest to find her late fianc's family and tell them of his death in Mr. Ocax's claws. The couple meet early in her journey, but their growing love is temporarily thwarted by Rye's imprisonment within the lodge of clich-spouting, indefatigably eager beavers. He is also hindered by his fears that he can't live up to Poppy's memories of Ragweed, who was Rye's sometimes admired, sometimes despised older brother. Unfortunately, the mouse's conflicting feelings about his brother are never clearly resolved, and Rye remains a less-developed character than Poppy, whose growth from timid to brave is one of the previous book's chief delights. Poppy and Rye also loses steam during a distracting subplot featuring Ereth the porcupine's cranky (and unrequited) love for Poppy, but it will still appeal to fans of the first book.Beth Wright, Edythe Dyer Community Library, Hampden, ME
Horn Book Magazine
In Poppy (rev. 1/96), the eponymous mouse heroine lost her first love, Ragweed, and now she is journeying to tell his family of his unfortunate fate. Accompanying Poppy on her expedition is Ereth the porcupine-grumpy, smelly, foul-mouthed, and hostile to change, but a good friend under duress. Poppy meets a charming golden mouse who looks like Ragweed, and who in fact is later revealed to be his younger brother, Rye. When Poppy finds Ragweed's family, they are in the midst of a crisis: beavers have flooded their brook, forcing them to move, and even their new home is under threat. The beavers are led by Mr. Caster B. Canad, a sly takeoff on the slick-talking, amoral businessman, the master of clich, who promises everything but gives nothing ("a stranger is just a friend you haven't met. And I mean that, sincerely"). After Rye is captured by the beavers and trapped inside their lodge, Poppy leads an expedition to save him, and his family, galvanized by Poppy's bravery, plans to destroy the dam. The final desperate and one-sided battle of mice vs. beavers is decided by the sudden appearance of Ereth, whose quills even the beavers fear. The happy ending has a slight undertone of sadness, as Ereth, a misanthropist to the core, realizes that he loves Poppy, a thought so distasteful that he complains bitterly, "Love... Nothing but slug splat stew and toad jam. Phooey." The anthropomor-phic characterization is spot-on: Ereth; Rye, chafing in the shadow of his older brother; Valerian, Rye's father, who will remind some readers of Father in Robert Lawson's Rabbit Hill. Accompanied once again by Brian Floca's witty yet pastoral pencil drawings, this is a sequel worthy of its predecessor.
Kirkus Reviews
Still grieving over the loss of her beau Ragweed of Poppy (1995), the intrepid deer mouse decides to bring the sad news to his family in this uneven, heavy-handed sequel. Setting out from Dimwood Forest with her hopelessly infatuated porcupine friend, Ereth, Poppy arrives just in time to help Ragweed's parents and numerous siblings avert eviction. Led by ruthless Caster P. Canad, a crew of beavers has dammed up the nearby brook in preparation for a housing project. The mice have already been flooded out of one home, and their new one is about to be threatened. Saddened—but also secretly relieved to be out from under his brother's shadow—dreamy Rye dashes out to see what he can do against the beavers, and is quickly captured. Having fallen in love with him at first sight, Poppy organizes a rescue, urging the meek mice to fight back; they do. The bad guys silently depart, and Poppy and Rye set a date. Avi develops his characters to a level of complexity that provides a distracting contrast with the simplistic story, an obvious take on human land-use disputes, and easily distinguishable victims and villains. In language more ugly than colorful, Ereth chews over his feelings for Poppy in several plot-stopping passages, and is last seen accompanying the happy couple back to Dimwood. Readers may wonder who to root for in this disappointing follow-up to one of the best animal stories in years. (b&w illustrations) (Fiction. 10-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Poppy Stories Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.60(d)
620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Poppy and Rye

Chapter One

Clover and Valerian

Clover! Clover, love. You need to wake up! Something awful is happening."

Clover, a golden mouse, was small, round and fast asleep in a snug comer of her underground nest. Too sleepy to make sense of the words being spoken to her, she opened her silky black eyes, looked up, and gasped.

Was that Ragweed leaning over her? Ragweed was a particular favorite of her sixty-three children. He had gone east in search of adventures but had not been heard of for four months. Clover missed him terribly, and kept wishing he'd come back.

Her eyes focused. She could see more clearly now. "Valerian," she asked, "is that you?"

Valerian was Clover's husband. He was a long-faced, lanky, middle-aged golden mouse with shabby fur of orange hue and scruffy whiskers edged with gray. His face bore the fixed expression of being perpetually overwhelmed without knowing quite what to do about it. At the moment his tail was whipping about in great agitation.

"Is something the matter with the children?" Clover asked. She had recently given birth to a new litter — her fourth that year — and was so tired, she hadn't ventured from the nest in more than a week.

"They're fine," Valerian assured her. "But Clover, you've got to see what I've discovered. You've not going to believe it."

"Can't you just tell me what it is?" Clover replied with a yawn. She never got enough steep.

"Clover," Valerian whispered, "we're...we're in great danger."

A startled Clover looked about the nest where she and Valerian and all their children had made their home for six happy years. A small,deep and comfortable nest consisting of three chambers, each of its rooms was lined with milkweed fluff. There were a family room, a master bedroom, and the children's nursery, where thirteen of the children were currently sleeping. The most recent litter — three in number and barely a week old — were still blind and without fur. They were with Clover.

"Clover, love," Valerian urged, "please get up. It's not the children. But it will affect them. Badly."

With Clover, an appeal to family never failed. She forced herself up.

The two mice made their way up the entry hole to the ground surface. The long, twisting tunnel had a few storage rooms — one filled with nuts, another with dried berries, a third with seeds — built into the walls. Though Clover was, as usual, hungry, there was no time to eat.

When Valerian reached the ground's surface, he stuck his nose out of the entry hole, sniffed, then gazed about. Certain there were no foxes, wild cats or snakes, or any other danger about, he hauled himself out of the hole. Clover followed.

Tall, leafy trees, bushes, and brambles veiled the late summer sky, a sky aglow with the light of a full moon. The air was humid, the breeze soft. Barks and buzzes, grunts and chirps seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once.

Valerian scampered down one of the many paths that radiated from the nest. When he took the path that followed a steep decline, Clover knew they were heading for the Brook.

"The Brook," as the mice called it, meandered lazily between low, leafy banks. Water lilies floated on its wide, shallow surface. There, fireflies flashed, butterflies danced. Mosquitoes, like ancient instruments, droned. Water bugs scooted. Cattails, standing tall, swayed to the rhythms of the night.

With nothing rough or dangerous about the Brook, the young mice loved to frolic about its banks. Rarely was the water more than six inches deep. Splendid to splash in. Fun to swim in. Sometimes the mice made rafts of bark chips and went boating. Indeed, it was the closeness of the Brook and its serenity that caused Clover and Valerian to build their nest and raise their family where they did.

That night everything was changed.

The water was muddier and deeper than it ever before had been. A full three feet of bare earth at the base of the pathway — the children's beach — had sunk beneath water. Lily pads and cattails were gone. No bugs teased the Brook's surface. Chips of wood floated here, there, everywhere.

"Look!" Valerian cried, in a hushed voice. He pointed downstream.

At first Clover didn't see it. Only gradually did she perceive the massive mound of sticks, twigs, and logs that spread across the full width of the stream.

"Why...my goodness," she gasped. "It's a...dam! But...but why?"

Valerian pointed to the water's edge.

"What should I be looking at?" asked a puzzled Clover.

"The water," Valerian whispered. "Watch."

Clover stared until, with a shock, she jumped back. "Valerian," she cried, "the water is rising!"


"But...if it keeps coming this fast, our home will be...flooded! "

Valerian nodded. "Clover, love, I'm afraid the whole neighborhood is going under."

"But...but," Clover stammered, who would do such a dreadful thing?"

"Take a gander out there," Valerian urged. This time he pointed across the water.

Clover stared. At first she thought she was seeing nothing more than a floating brown lump of earth or wood. Then, with a start, she realized it was an animal swimming on the water's surface.

He was a large, portly fellow, with thick, glossy brown fur, a black nose, and two beady eyes. Two enormous buck teeth — brilliant orange in the light of the moon — stuck out from his mouth like chisels.

"A...beaver!" Clover exclaimed. Just to say the word brought understanding: Beavers had come and dammed the Brook.

As Clover and Valerian stared, the beaver saw them. Lifting his water-soaked head, he offered an immense, toothy smile.

"Bless my teeth and smooth my tail!" the beaver called out in a loud, raucous voice. "I do believe it's my new neighbors! Hey, pal! Evening, sweetheart! Tickled pink to meet up with you. The name is Caster P. Canad. But everybody calls me Cas. Hey," he added with another toothy grin, "you know what the old philosopher says, 'A stranger is just a friend you haven't met.'

"As for me, I'm head of the construction co that's doing the work here. Canad and Co. 'Progress Without Pain,' that's our motto."

"But...but...you've...destroyed our brook," Clover managed to say.

"Easy does it, sweetheart, easy does it," Mr. Canad boomed with insistent good nature. "Don't need to make a mountain out of a molehill, do we? Or for that matter," he added with a laugh that set his belly to shaking, "an ocean out of a puddle."

Without saying another word, Valerian and Clover turned and fled back up the path.

"Have a nice day!" the beaver shouted after them, though it was the middle of the night. "I mean that, sincerely!"

As the two mice dashed toward their nest, all Clover could think was, "Oh, Ragweed. Please, please come home. We need you! Where are you?"

Poppy and Rye. Copyright (c) by Avi . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Avi is the award-winning author of more than seventy-five books for young readers, ranging from animal fantasy to gripping historical fiction, picture books to young adult novels. Crispin: The Cross of Lead won the Newbery Medal, and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth were awarded Newbery Honors. He is also the author of the popular Poppy series. Avi lives outside Denver, Colorado. You can visit him online at www.avi-writer.com.

Brian Floca's illustrations have appeared in several books by Avi, including the six volumes of the Poppy stories and the graphic novel City of Light, City of Dark. For younger readers, he is the author and illustrator of Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo II as well as the highly praised books Lightship, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and ALA Notable Book; The Racecar Alphabet, also an ALA Notable Book; and Five Trucks.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 23, 1937
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964

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Poppy and Rye 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to someone who liked the book Ragweed ,the book before this one when Poppy falls in love with Ragweed when he is kidnapped and taken away. But in this book, Poppy and Rye, Poppy finds a new love and saves him from the evil beavers. Now, if you liked the book Ragweed,or books with talking mice and talking beavers, then I would recommend this book. Poppy a mouse that was once in love with Ragweed a brother of Rye her new love is set out on a adventure to find her true love and save him from the evil mouse killing beavers who are keeping Rye captive in their lodge. After several days Poppy finds a beaver dam and decides to find out whats going on, so she climes down a vine in the air vent and sees Rye locked up in wooden bars. Poppy then rushes over to find out what had happened to Rye. Rye tells his love Poppy that beavers are keeping him captive in till his parents move out, but knowing Poppy giving up is no option. Rye tells her she better be careful, Poppy returns to town and tells every one what has just happened and they believe her she then tells the people of the town the plan they then disagree with her. After a while every one is tired of not seeing Rye and decide yea we will do that plan of hers, and chase those nasties off too. But finally when they do so, the plan fails, and they all get chased off just as the porcupine comes looking for Poppy and wipes the beavers out in a single blow, knocking them all back in into the rushing water. The mighty porcupine warrior then asks for Poppy to bring the him back home, but at that very moment Poppy is returning to Rye to rescue him from the nasty beavers. By the time Poppy gets Rye out of the wooden cage the beavers were on to them Poppy then tells Rye that she will fake to be hurt then they will run for it and dash for the water witch is draining from the gigantic boulder that has struck the dam and broken it. Poppy rushed for the water with Rye, the water finished draining as they jumped in and they then ran down the mud pathway and toward the angry porcupine, they cheered in relief! Rye and Poppy then 6 hours later got married and lived happily ever after.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Poppy and Rye is the my favorite of the Dimwood Series! It talks about a mouse named Poppy who was dancing in the fields when another mouse showed up and asked if he could dance with her. They magically dance along the field and then suddenely Rye runs off. Poppy finds out Rye's home is being flooded by beavers. This is a great story and ends with a giant sploosh!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Poppy and Rye Review By Mercedes A great book kids all ages would like and have a great time reading is Poppy and Rye by Avi . This book is about a young mouse from Dimwood forest who was heartbroken over the death of her first love Ragweed. And so she was determined to go on a quest west were her beloved lived and tell the tragic news to his family . Traveling along is her friend Ereth the porcupine who in the first book Poppy is still with his funny insults .But along the way Poppy meets Rye in which she falls in love once again and marries . They meet early in her journey, but their growing love is temporarily pushed back by Rye's imprisonment within the lodge of tireless eager beavers. He is also held back by his fears that he can't live up to Poppy's memories of Ragweed, who was Rye's sometimes admired,and sometimes despised older brother. Unfortunately, the mouse's conflicting feelings about his brother are never clearly resolved, and Rye remains a less-developed character than Poppy, whose growth from being weak to brave is one of the previous book's achievements . Poppy and Rye also loses steam during a distracting subplot featuring Ereth the porcupine b/c of his love for Poppy, but still to me it tops the first book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i admit-i cried during this book.the emotions i felt when poppy had to break the news to Ragweed's family.but this book is magical.when poppy goes to save rye, it was just a demonstration of true love.*SIGH* I love happy endings. please read this amazing book!and if i sound like a psycho, then sorry.I LOVE THIS BOOK! I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Poppy and Rye, by Avi, is the second book of the sweet and beloved Poppy. Poppy is a deer mouse, and when her boyfriend Ragweed dies, she must tell his family what happened with her extremely grumpy porcupine friend Ereth. When she reaches Ragweed¿s home, she finds that the mice have moved out of their old home because it was flooded by beavers who dammed the nearby brook. Poppy also falls in love with Rye, a golden mouse who daydreams often, and is sick of being in his brother¿s shadow. The story takes place in woodlands on the outskirts of a forest, by a large, murky beaver pond. The book is a fiction story of suspense, romance, and tragic twists and turns. I enjoyed it because in a way, I could connect to Rye. I find this book best for those that enjoy adventure and suspense.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a very heartwarming tale of a mouse named Poppy and her quest to find her dead fiance's family, it was a very enjoyable read but i really thought of the character Ereth as annnoying and insensitive, he should have stuck up for his friend more, instead of hiding his feelings. The book's plot was interseting but if the author would have added an unkown or intersting minor plot to this it would have been a lot better. All in all a book i would recommend to young readers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Poppy and Rye is an action packed book filled with silly mice! Poppy is trying to help some other mice when everything goes wrong! Read the book and you will see for yourself!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about a deer mouse Poppy, whose boyfriend dies by getting killed by an owl. She journeys to Dimwood Forest..where her late boyfriend Ragweed lives, to give his family the news. Accompanied by her friend Ereth the porcupine who insults ppl a lot, she goes, and on the way she sees Ragweed;s bro(who ran away 2 try to be recognized and save his family from the beavers who are damming the creek near their home) who looks so much like Ragweed. She wonders if this cud be a dreem come tru. TO find out wats next in this adventure filled book..read Poppy and Rye...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Poppy & Rye is about a deer mouse, Poppy and golden mouse, Rye. Poppy comes with dreaded news about Rye's brother Ragweed. On top of of that, Mr. Canad and the rest of his beavers are destroying The Brook where Rye lives! Then they get a crazy scheme to get rid of the beavers. Want to know what it is? Well you have to read to find out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is NOT the best book I ever read, but it is pretty good. The part that I dislike about it is, it doesn't have a good plot. If you ask me, the story doesn't get exciting until you get to about the twentyth chapter!!!!!!!!!!!! I would not ordinarally pick this book up and read it over and over again. This book might be hard for fourth graders and under because of the difficult vocabulary.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Poppy and Rye is an awsome book! It's so much better than the first one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was very cool!! My whole class enjoyed reading this book. Two thumbs up to the sky!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved Poppy but I think Poppy and Rye is better. The great tale about Poppy the who wants to be a dancer and Rye Ragweed's brother. In the book Poppy she falls in love with Ragweed but he is killed. Then in Poppy and Rye she goes to tell Ragweed's parents what happed but they are having some troble with some with mean beavers. Overall this book is great. Avi is a great author.