Poppy (Poppy Stories Series)

( 47 )

Overview

King of the Night

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 ...

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Overview

King of the Night

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. . .

Poppy the deer mouse urges her family to move next to a field of corn big enough to feed them all forever, but Mr. Ocax, a terrifying owl, has other ideas.

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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.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5A fast-paced, allegorical animal story. Mr. Ocax is a great horned owl who rules the mice who live around Dimwood Forest, preying on their fears by promising protection from the dreaded porcupine in exchange for unconditional obedience. Challenging his despotic authority is the smart-talking, earring-sporting golden mouse Ragweed, whose refusal to obey turns him into a meal for the owl. His timid sweetheart Poppy returns home, where she learns that a delegation must go to request permission from Mr. Ocax to relocate half of the mouse family as they have outgrown their present quarters. When he refuses, Poppy, inspired by Ragweed's independent thinking, decides to undertake the scouting journey to the proposed new home anyway, encountering along the way an irreverent porcupine who explains that he and his ilk are no threat to mice. Armed with Ragweed's earring, a quill sword, and the awareness of the owl's deception, she plans to expose Ocax as a cowardly bully. She finds herself in a fierce battle with him, resulting in his death and allowing for the mice's liberation. This exciting story is richly visual, subtly humorous, and skillfully laden with natural-history lessons. The anthropomorphism is believable and the characters are memorable. The underlying messages, to challenge unjust authority and to rely on logic and belief in oneself, are palatably blended with action and suspense. Black-and-white illustrations are in keeping with the changing moods and forest locale. A thoroughly enjoyable book.Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380727698
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Series: Poppy Stories Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 46,490
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Avi

Avi is the author of more than sixty books, including Crispin: The Cross of Lead, a Newbery Medal winner, and Crispin: At the Edge of the World. His other acclaimed titles include The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth, both Newbery Honor Books, and most recently The Seer of Shadows. He lives with his family in Colorado.

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.

Biography

Born in Manhattan in 1937, Avi Wortis grew up in Brooklyn in a family of artists and writers. Despite his bright and inquisitive nature, he did poorly in school. After several academic failures, he was diagnosed with a writing impairment called dysgraphia which caused him to reverse letters and misspell words. The few writing and spelling skills he possessed he had gleaned from his favorite hobby, reading -- a pursuit enthusiastically encouraged in his household.

Following junior high school, Avi was assigned to a wonderful tutor whose taught him basic skills and encouraged in him a real desire to write. "Perhaps it was stubbornness," he recalled in an essay appearing on the Educational Paperback Association's website, "but from that time forward I wanted to write in some way, some form. It was the one thing everybody said I could not do."

Avi finally learned to write, and well! He attended Antioch University, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and received a master's degree in library science from Columbia in 1964. He worked as a librarian for the New York Public Library's theater collection and for Trenton State College, and taught college courses in children's literature, while continuing to write -- mostly plays -- on the side. In the 1970s, with two sons of his own, he began to craft stories for children. "[My] two boys loved to hear stories," he recalled. "We played a game in which they would give me a subject ('a glass of water') and I would have to make up the story right then. Out of that game came my first children's book, Things That Sometimes Happen." A collection of "Very Short Stories for Little Listeners," Avi's winning debut received very positive reviews. "Sounding very much like the stories that children would make up themselves," raved Kirkus Reviews, "these are daffy and nonsensical, starting and ending in odd places and going sort of nowhere in the middle. The result, however, is inevitably a sly grin."

Avi has gone on to write dozens of books for kids of all ages. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1991) and Nothing but the Truth (1992) were named Newbery Honor Books, and in 2003, he won the prestigious Newbery Medal for his 14th-century adventure tale, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. His books range from mysteries and adventure stories to historical novels and coming-of-age tales; and although there is often a strong moral core to his work, he leavens his message with appealing warmth and humor. Perhaps his philosophy is summed up best in this quote from his author profile on Scholastic's website: "I want my readers to feel, to think, sometimes to laugh. But most of all I want them to enjoy a good read."

Good To Know

In a Q&A with his publisher, Avi named Robert Louis Stevenson as one of his greatest inspirations, noting that "he epitomizes a kind of storytelling that I dearly love and still read because it is true, it has validity, and beyond all, it is an adventure."

When he's not writing, Avi enjoys photography as one of his favorite hobbies.

Avi got his unique nickname from his twin sister, Emily..

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    1. Also Known As:
      Avi Wortis (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 23, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Mr. Ocax

A thin crescent moon, high in the sky, shed faint white light over Dimwood Forest. Stars glowed. Breezes full of ripe summer fragrance floated over nearby meadow and hill. Dimwood it self, veiled in darkness, lay utterly still.

At the very edge of this forest stood an old charred oak on which sat a great horned owl. The owl's name was Mr. Ocax, and he looked like death himself.

Mr. Ocax's eyes-flat upon his face were round and yellow with large ebony pupils that enabled him to see as few other creatures could. Moon light even faint moonlight-was as good as day light for him.

With his piercing gaze, Mr. Ocax surveyed the lands he called his own, watching for the comings and goings of the creatures he considered his subjects-and his dinners. ~e looked at Glitter Creek, home to the fish he found so appetizing, the Tar Road, across which tasty rabbits were known to hop; Jayswood, where meaty chipmunks some times skittered before dawn. By swiveling his head he searched the Marsh for a savory frog, then New Field, where, usually, he could count on a delicious vole or two. He looked at Gray House, where Farmer Lamout used to live, then upon the Old Orchard. He even looked, nervously, toward New House. But nowhere did he see a thing to eat. Profoundly annoyed, Mr. Ocax was beginning to think he would have no dinner that night.

But finally, there near the top of Bannock Hill, where the ponderosa pines had all been cut, where only a few struggling saplings and bushes grew- he saw movement. Just the glimmer of food was enough to cause his owl's heart to pound, his curved black beak to clack, his feathered horns to stand uptall.

Mr. Ocax shifted his head from right to left, for ward and back. When he did so, he beheld . . . two mice! Of all the creatures the owl hunted, he enjoyed mice the most. They were the best eating, to be sure, but better still, they were the most fearful, and Mr. Ocax found deep satisfaction in having others afraid of him. And here, after a wait of nearly the whole night, were two savory subjects to terrify before he ate them.

One of the two, a deer mouse, crouched cautiously beneath a length of rotten bark. The other, a golden mouse, stood in the open on his hind legs, his short tail sticking straight out behind for

Ragweed laughed. &quotDude, you must think I'm as dull as a dormouse. You just want to get some of this nut."

I don't want any of your precious nut," Poppy insisted. &quotI want to give you my answer. And I want to dance! Isn't that the reason we came up the hill? Only it's not safe out there."

&quotOh, tell me about it."

&quotYou heard my father's warnings," Poppy went on. &quotIt's Mr. Ocax. He might be watching and listening."

&quotGet off," Ragweed sneered. &quotYour pop talks about that Ocax dude just to scare you and keep you under control."

&quotRagweed," Poppy cried, &quotthat's ridiculous. Mr. Ocax does rule Dimwood. So we have to ask his permission to be here. And you know perfectly well we never did."

&quotDude, I'm not going to spend my life asking an old owl's okay every time I want to have fun. Know what I'm saying? This is our moment, girl, right? And now that I've dug this nut up, I'm going to enjoy it. Besides," he said, &quotit's too dark for an old owl to see me."&quotPOPPY," Mr. Ocax scoffed under his breath. &quotRagweed What stupid names mice have. Now, if only that deer mouse will move just a little farther out from under cover, I'll be able to snare both mice at once."

The mere thought of such a double catch made Mr. Ocax hiss with pleasure. Then he clacked his beak, spread his wings, and rose into the night air. Up he circled, his fluted flight feathers beating the air silently.

High above Bannock Hill, he looked down. The golden mouse the one eating the nut-was still in the open. So brazen. So foolish. Nevertheless, Mr. Ocax decided to hold back another moment to see if the deer mouse might budge.

&quotRAGWEED," Poppy pleaded, &quotplease get under here."

&quotGirl," Ragweed said, &quotdo you know what your problem is? You let your tail lead the way."

Poppy, hurt and wanting to show she was not a coward, poked her nose and whiskers out from under the bark. &quotRagweed," she persisted even as she began to creep into the open, &quotbeing careless is stupid."

Her friend took another scrape of the nut and sighed with pleasure. &quotPoppy," he said, &quotyou may be my best girl, but admit it, you don't know how to live like I do."

Poppy took two more steps beyond the bark.

Just then, Mr. Ocax pulled his wings close to his body and plunged.- In an instant he was right above and behind the two mice. Once there, he threw out his wings-to brake his speed; pulled back his head-to protect his eyes; and thrust his claws forward and wide like grappling hooks-to pounce.

It was Poppy who saw him. &quotRagweed!" she shrieked in terror as she hurled herself back undercover. &quotIt's Ocax!"

But the owl was already upon them. Down came his right claw. It scratched the tip of Poppy's nose. Down came his left claw. It was more successful, clamping around Ragweed's head and neck like a vise of needles, killing him instantly. The next moment the owl soared back into the air. A lifeless Ragweed earring glittering in the moonlight- hung from a claw. As for the hazelnut, it fell to the earth like a cold stone.

Powerful but leisurely strokes brought Mr. Ocax back to his watching tree. Once there, he shifted the dead Ragweed from talon to beak in one gulp. The mouse disappeared down his throat, earring and all.

His hunger momentarily satisfied, Mr. Ocax tilted back his head and let forth a long, low cry of triumph. &quotWhooo-whooo!"

Poppy did not hear the call. In her terror she had fainted. Now she lay unconscious beneath the length of rotten bark.

The owl did not mind. He had enjoyed the first mouse so much he decided to wait for the second. Indeed, Mr. Ocax was not entirely sorry that Poppy had escaped. She was terrified, and he enjoyed that. And for sure, he would get her soon. &quotOh yes," he murmured to himself, &quotmice are the most fun to catch." Then Mr. Ocax did that rare thing for an owl: He smiled. Poppy. Copyright © by John Avi. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 5, 2012

    Awesome Book

    Have you been looking for a good short book to read well this is the book for you. It's about a little deer mouse named Poppy. Mr. Ocax, an owl was supposedly protecting Poppy and her family from porcupines Poppy's family wants to move to a new house. They went to Mr. Ocax to ask if they could move, but he said no. Well see Mr. Ocax is like in charge of them. Even that he said no, that didn't stop Poppy.
    Poppy goes on her way to find the new house, but on the way she meets some new friends and she finds out a lot along the way.
    It's a very good short book I give it five stars, because it has some humor and it has a good life lesson learned. I loved the writing in the book, and i like how the story fit together and how it grabbed me and pulled me into it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    A Read Aloud Favorite

    I love Poppy as a read aloud for my third grade students. The first chapter grabs the student's attention and they beg me to read more. Avi does a fantastic job of creating believable characters. My students love Ereth! I love the fact that this little mouse is the heroine despite overwhelming odds. Not only do my students love this story, I love to read it to them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An unforgettable journey for young readers!

    If you're looking for a simple, funny story, Poppy is a great book. Best for readers of a young age, but also enjoyed by older readers, it is great for reading just for fun, but also for learning about life. Avi's destinctive style makes this book unforgettable and engaging.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    just an awesome book! i was in 6 grade and my teacher read this

    just an awesome book! i was in 6 grade and my teacher read this book aloud to the class. i feel ion love with this book and its charaters! its turly one of my favorites!! im in tenth grade now and still love it and think every one should read this!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    This is an awesome book!

    The book is awesome! It's sad, happy, and has a wonderful ending. I would recomend this book to anybody in the whole world! I would also like to thank Avi and Brian Floca for writing and drawing pictures in this book.

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  • Posted October 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    You might want to read this...

    This book is--kind of terrifying for young readers. I mean, an owl puking out the remains of a mouse? Not good. I think this book is for readers ages 12-Whatever. YUCK...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2007

    A reviewer

    Usually I am not a reader of books with talking animals, but this book caught my interest immediately. The story is so compelling and the main character, Poppy, is so loveable, that you will not be able to put this down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2007

    A MUST READ!!!

    This book was so good. My mom told me to read it a long time ago and I wish i listened to her. This book is really good if you like books about animals and suspence!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2007

    Childhood Memories

    I was about 10 when I first read this book. Actually, it's was the first novel I ever completed. And I personally thought the book was great, I had a hard time putting it down. I would read it during the middle of class, and read past my bed time. Anyways Poppy is indeed a great book and I recommend it to anybody ages 8 - 12. Two thumbs up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2006

    A Great Book

    I thought that this was an awsome book. I couldn't put it down. You should definetly read this book!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2005

    The best book ever written in the history of books

       When I read this novel, I thought it was great. From the beginning, I knew it was going to be good. I think this book is for young readers who love fun adventures. I never read other stories made AVI like Crispin, but I'm sure that they are good. I am surely glad I read this book. It is about a mouse and an owl. The mouse's name is Poppy, who is trying to move half his family into a new house, but Mr. Ocax (the owl) declined the proposal from the mice. Poppy's family understands bad stuff and that is why they have a good family. In every chapter, BAM, there is a cool thing happening. Trust me, you will like this writing. In this story, I felt like one of the main characters, Poppy. BANG, BOOK, BANG! This is the best story I ever read and the same thing will happen to you. I read other good fantasy novel. This one is better though. I gave the other books 4 out of 5 stars but I gave Poppy 5 out of 5 stars. This is such a great story. I really love it because it is a fun adventure. I think children any age should read this novel. Would this tiny deer mouse outsmart and outwit this mean owl? Read this book to find out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2005

    Poppy Exciting, Adventurous, Loved.

    Poppy is an excellent book, reccomended for those of all ages. Personally I thought that this book portrayed lessons fiendship, acts of bravery, through a mouse. Many people could learn a thing or two just by reading the last chapters- but no one should ever do that because this book is so extrordinarilly wonderful!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2005

    It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Poppy???

    Poppy is an icredible book for people of all ages. I loved this book because it was a situation portrayed through the eyes of a deer mouse, who had gone over some trauma recently. Her boyfriend died and Mr. Ocax was responsible. Poppy, now scared tries to avoid Ocax, the 'Ruler' of Dimwood forest, because she fears, that he might eat her too! What will happen to Poppy? Read the BOOK to find your answer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2005

    Awwwwww

    This Book was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO cute!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2005

    Adventerous Readers Book

    This book is about a mouse named Poppy who goes on a adventure after her boyfriends death.She goes on this adventure to see why their so called leader Mr.Ocax a owl won't let them go to New House.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2005

    best book ever

    poppy is a deer mouse looking for a reason to prove that the reason mr.ocax turned her family down to move

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2005

    Poppy.

    I readed the book and my favorit part is when Poppy met Earth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2004

    Poppy!

    My class has been reading Poppy (4th Grade) and we all love it so far. Poppy is an adventurous mouse with a point to be proven. Mr Ocax, the ruler of dimwood forest is hiding the deer mice from something at New House!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2003

    This book was awsome, and I personally enjoyed reading Poppy

    I really liked this Poppy book, because of the adventure, and surprising, and intense danger that Poppy faced. I also liked Poppy's charater, her personality, and bravery. The part I liked the most about poppy was the daring in this book. I would definitly recommend Poppy to readers who like semi believeable, and adventuruos books. This book was very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2003

    A magnificent book!

    Poppy is about a girl deermouse who lives in a very large mouse family. The family is ruled by Mr.Ocax, a mean, deadly horned owl that likes to eat mice for dinner! When Poppy's father asks permission to move to a new home, Mr.Ocax says no! Poppy suspects that something is up and journeys off to New House, and finds lots of adventure! I really enjoyed reading this book because it shows that even though Poppy is small, she can still win if she believes hard enough!

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