Ragweed (Poppy Stories Series)

( 17 )

Overview

A mouse has to do what a mouse has to do.

Ragweed is determined to see the world. He leaves his family and cozy country home and sets off by train for the big city. What wonders await him: music, excitement, new friends...and cunning, carnivorous cats! Silversides is the purring president of F.E.A.R. (Felines Enraged About Rodents), a group dedicated to keeping cats on top, people in the middle, and mice on the bottom. Can Ragweed and his motley yet musical crew of city ...

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Overview

A mouse has to do what a mouse has to do.

Ragweed is determined to see the world. He leaves his family and cozy country home and sets off by train for the big city. What wonders await him: music, excitement, new friends...and cunning, carnivorous cats! Silversides is the purring president of F.E.A.R. (Felines Enraged About Rodents), a group dedicated to keeping cats on top, people in the middle, and mice on the bottom. Can Ragweed and his motley yet musical crew of city nice—Clutch, Dipstick, Lugnut, and Blinker—band together to fight their feline foe?

Ragweed, a young country mouse, leaves his family and travels to the big city, where he finds excitement and danger and sees cats for the first time.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a starred review, PW said, "Consummate storyteller Avi outdoes himself in this prequel to Poppy and Poppy and Rye, cutting loose with a crackerjack tale that's pure delight from start to finish." Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
VOYA - Kathleen Beck
In this prequel to Poppy (Orchard, 1995/VOYA June 1995), Avi's protagonist is a country mouse who discovers the big city. Hopping a freight train near his woodland home, adventurous Ragweed precipitously bails out when a big white cat jumps into his boxcar. Alone on the streets of Amperville, he is rescued by a green-haired, skateboard-riding mouse named Clutch. She introduces him to the hip, underground mouse culture of the town, and warns him to watch out for Silversides, the white cat, and her sidekick, Greybar, whose mission is to rid the town of mice. But Ragweed is not prepared to live in fear of F.E.A.R (Felines Enraged Against Rodents) and soon conceives a plan to turn the tables on the cats. The main young adult audience for this book will be readers who enjoyed Poppy and its sequel, Poppy and Rye (Avon Camelot, 1998/VOYA December 1998). There is a certain comfort in post-childhood nostalgia and this is a classic tale of the weak triumphing over the bullies. It does not have the resonance of Poppy's archetypal, heroic journey to confront the owl but is a satisfying if undemanding story in its own right. To an adult reader, the persistent use of dude-speak ("It's like, hey, whatever") quickly becomes irritating. It may also cause the book to seem dated once slang moves on. But it is quite possible the author never intended to write a classic to appeal to all ages, simply a good story for younger readers. Buy where the first two volumes are popular. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8).
School Library Journal
In a starred review, PW said, "Consummate storyteller Avi outdoes himself in this prequel to Poppy and Poppy and Rye, cutting loose with a crackerjack tale that's pure delight from start to finish." Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Avi (see review, above) elaborates on the "city mouse, country mouse" theme in this rousing prequel to Poppy (1995), starring Poppy's ill-fated beau. Impelled by wanderlust to hop a train to who-knows-where, Ragweed ends up in the rundown part of Amperville, where the local mice (all named after car parts) are being terrorized by Felines Enraged About Rodents (F.E.A.R.), a two-cat extermination squad led by evil-tempered Silversides. After several brushes with death, Ragweed defiantly teams up with Clutch, green-furred lead guitarist for the B-Flat Tires, to open a dance club for mice only, then in the climax organizes a devastating counterattack that sends F.E.A.R. scurrying out of town. In the end, though, Ragweed opts for the country life (little knowing that it's going to be sweet but short). A colorful cast in which even the ferocious Silversides comes in for a dash or two of sympathy, plus a plot replete with, of course, narrow squeaks will keep readers turning the pages, while Floca's scenes of tiny mice fleeing looming, toothy predators add more than a touch of drama. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380801671
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Series: Poppy Stories Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 85,146
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.56 (w) x 7.14 (h) x 0.47 (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

Ragweed Chapter OneRagweed

"Ma, a mouse has to do what a mouse has to do."

Ragweed, a golden mouse with dark orange fur, round ears and a not very long tail, was saying goodbye to his mother and, father as well as to I fifty of his brothers and sisters. They were all gathered by the family nest, which was situated just above-the banks of the Brook.

"Is it...something about us that's making you leave home?" his mother, whose name was Clover, asked tearfully. She was. small and round, with silky black eyes.

"Aw, Ma, that's not fair," Ragweed replied, wishing he could leave without so much fins. "I just want to see things.I am almost four months old, you know. I mean,The Brook is wonderful, but...well, it's not the, whole world."

Ragweed's father, Valerian, drew himself up. He was long-faced and lanky, and his scruffy whiskers were touched with gray. "Now, son," he said, "no need to poke fun at us stay-at-homes."

"I'm sorry, Dad. I didn't mean to joke. All I'm doing is going off to explore what else there is. You know, before settling down. I won't be gone long."

"Will you absolutely promise to come back?" Clover asked. Though Ragweed had carefully slicked down his fur so that it was quite neat and proper, she found a small strand around his ear that required careful adjusting. But then, Ragweed was very special to her.

"Of course I will," Ragweed assured her, trying to duck his mother's fussy fixing.

"And...and if you meet a young female mouse, Clover added gently, "one for whom you develop a...a fondness, just make sure she...she really cares for you."

Ragweed blushed. "Hey, Ma, I'm too young for that stuff.Anyway, if I'm going to get someplace today, I better start moving."

This notice of his imminent departure caused Clover to fling her paws around Ragweed's neck and give him a nuzzle about his right ear. "Please, please be cautious!" she whispered. "Promise me that you will."

"I promise," Ragweed returned,

A reluctant Clover released her, son.

Valerian held out his paw. "Ragweed, he said, YOU pre a clear-thiniting, straight-talking, hard-working young mouse. proud of YOU."

Ragweed shook his father's paw. "Dad," he replied, "if I can be anything like you, that'll be good enough for me.

"Thank you, son" Valerian said, his voice husky.

Embarrassed by so much emotion, Ragweed looked sheepishly at his brothers and sisters. Of those still at home, he was the eldest. Even among the older ones who had returned from nearby homes to say goodbye Ragweed was the first to leave the *are a of the Brook.Hardly a wonder that they were gazing at him with affectionate awe. But it was to Rye, his younger brother by a few weeks, that Ragweed went.

Rye looked very much like Ragweed, save for a notch in his right ear, the result of an accident.

"Okay, Rye," Ragweed said, giving hit brother a mock punch on the shoulder. "You're the big kid in, the nest now. Make sure you take care of things. If you don't, hey, you're. going to answer to me when I come back. Get it?"

"I know," Rye replied with a. grin- masking his annoyance that his older-brother was telling him what to do.

Next, Ragweed tipped 'a wink to his favorite younger sister, Thistle. "See you around, kiddo," he called.

"Oh, Ragweed, I'm going to miss you so much! she cried. Rushing forward, she gave Ragweed a big nuzzle.

Ragweed, determined to be lighthearted, stepped back, gave a carefree wave, and set off up the hill, striding boldly toward the ridge. that overlooked the little valley. Halfway up he came to a large boulder embedded in am outcropping Of earth. There he paused and looked down at his family, who were, stil observing his departure. Though he wanted to move on, Ragweed found himself lingering.

The spring air was brimming with a delicate sweetness; the vaulting blue sky seemed endless, the sun warm and embracing. Amid moss, and grass, flowers had burst forth with youthful, daring, in. contrast to the shallow old Brook, which wound lazily between low, le* banks, bearing pink and white water lilies on its wide surface. As for the tall trees that stood all around, they were veiled in a downy green mist of just-born leaves.

What lay below Ragweed was not merely beautiful, it was home. His home. And there was his family, whom he loved as much as he knew they loved him.

Hope I'm doing what's right, he thought with a sigh. Then, reminding himself out loud that "A mouse has to do what a mouse has to do," he -gave a final wave, to his family and continued up the ridge.

Ragweed had no notion where he was heading. He had consulted no, one, planned little, "I'll just go where whim takes me," he'd told Rye.

As Ragweed went along he now and again broke into snatches of an old -song. His voice was good-if rather low for a mouse-and he enjoyed singing. The song he trilled was one he and his family often sang on hikes and picnics.

"A mouse will a roving go, Along wooded paths and pebbled ways To places high and places low, Where birds do sing neath sunny rays, For the world is full of mice, oh! For the world is full of mice, oh!"

The song carried him to the crest of yet another hill. There he paused again. The trail seemed to extend from his toes straight out to the horizon. just to see it gave him the wonderful sensation that anything might happen. He took a deep breath. How delicious was the sense of freedom he felt. How fine that he and he alone was responsible for himself He had not-he now realized — grasped how exciting it would be to grow up and strike out on one's own.

Ragweed. Copyright (c) by 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
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    You must check it out!!

    I just read this to my grandson who is 7 years old. He loved it, and would not let me put it down. As we were reading the last chapter, he picked up Poppy, the next book in the series and started reading the first chapter to himself!
    I was a school teacher for 32 years, and when I taught 3rd grade, I read all of this series, that was available at the time, to my students. We loved them so much, my students wrote to AVI on his website, and encouraged him to write more on Ereth. Since then he has added Ereth and Poppy, along with Poppy's Return. I can't wait to read this whole series to my grandson. Everyone must read all of AVI's books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2010

    can't stop reading this book by mia a 3rd grader

    Ragweed
    By Avi

    This is a book about a mouse who gains confidence in himself. He takes a train to town and meets a mouse named Clutch. This cat named Silversides hates all the mice in the town. She made a club called F.E.A.R. to get rid of the mice. There is another cat named Graybar. He lives in a sewer. The mice are trying to stop Silversides. Will they stop Silversides? Read the book to find out.

    I recommend 3rd grade-6th grade. If you like animals this would be a good book for you. This author uses good words. Some similar books are Poppy or Poppy and Rye. This is a great book.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    loved reading ragweed with my granddaughter!!!

    who knew a mouse's life could be so adventurous. ragweed is not content to be an ordinary mouse, but must explore the world, taking him to exciting (and dangerous) new places. he must learn to adapt--probably the best lesson of the story, and he must make new friends with mice who are different than he has ever known--another great lesson. ragweed must also depend on others, but soon settles in, even facing a mouse's worst fear--the dreaded cat. enjoy!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    My 10 year old is loving this book.

    I bought this book for my ten year old. It is hard to get him to find something he likes to read. He is loving this book and he loves that it is a series so that he can read more.

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  • Posted May 21, 2009

    this book rocks

    The book Ragweed is about a country mouse named Ragweed who goes to a city. The characters of this book are Ragweed and Clutch(who you will see later in the book). I like this book because it is funny and adventurous.
    I recommend this book for 3rd graders and up. If you like the book Mrs.Frisby and The Rats Of Nimh you'll like this book. Avi is a great author!

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  • Posted March 26, 2009

    Ragweed

    The adventurous book "Ragweed" by Brian Floca.

    If you could go to another land that you don't know very well about, would you go?
    Ragweed, a small little mouse but one courageous mouse goes to a place he never saw before. He went out of his cozy and peaceful home to a much busier place called Amperville.
    From there he meets new friends and goes to all sorts of places. He goes to clubs, cheese land, cheese squeeze club and more.
    But that very fun moment, Silversides, the president of the group F.E.A.R (Felines Enraged About Rodents) comes in and tries to make cats on top, humans' middle, and mouse at the very bottom.
    Ragweed goes to another adventure of a band and tries to defeat their feline foe. When he meets them, he finally says, "The only good cat is a dead cat!"
    The action begins and makes decisions of where to attack. Making battle ships, racing cars, and paper airplanes. The cats and the mouse fight and have a whole lot of trouble.
    As trouble comes near, Ragweed tries to make a new club called the
    New club. The new club is made from an old bookstore when Blinker, a new mouse, makes an idea to clean it with a hose. After they clean it, Blinker is disappointed when Ragweed never told to the crowds that it was Blinkers idea but never actually told anyone. As soon as Blinker gets out of the bookstore, Silversides catches him and commands him to go search where Silversides could get in.
    Blinker tells everything about what Silversides commanded him to do and tries to make a trap. They get the hose and aim it at the stairs. Blinker goes out and tells Silversides about the stairs which she can go through.
    Silversides gets in but is shot and ragweed wins Silversides but in the other hand, the whole F.E.A.R. is coming from the roof. The mouse knew about this so ragweed makes another plan to fight them. Graybar, a black cat is the vice-president of the F.E.A.R. commands them. Ragweed and Graybar meets and fights while the other mouse and cats fight as well.
    Fascinating chaos and fighting actions of how mouse could win or cats could win. Strategy solving questions and brain busters that could make you go crazy.
    I really liked this book because it had extraordinary adventures and gave me pictures in the head of what was happening. I recommend this book to people who like a lot of adventure and people who like suspense. Don't miss the fun.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2008

    A normal book

    This book was hilarious from what i read. This is the 2 Avi book i read, I love the Secret School. And I'd thought i'd like to read books about Poppy. First i'd have to read Ragweed. I was disapointed until Ireched ch. 2 of Ragweed it intoduced Silversides a cat. I love Silversides tricks, I also fell bad for Ragweed though. It's a normal book. It's pretty good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2005

    A mouse has to do what a mouse has to do.

    Ragweed. Hmm... where do I start? Oh yes, let me just tell you right now - Ragweed is an amazing story of love, courage, betrayal, and determination. Oh yeah, all of the main characters in the story are mice and cats. You heard me! Ragweed is a 'crackerjack tale' about a mouse named - you guessed it - Ragweed. He wants to see the world, what is beyond his small brook home. Ragweed hops aboard a train and enters Amperville, a city. The rest is history. What really dragged me into the book was the storyline. Soon into his entry to Amperville, he is ambushed by Silversides, a female cat with a dangerous attitude. She does not want the rodent problem in Amperville to get any higher than it already is, so she chases Ragweed. He escapes due to the quick save by a female mouse named Clutch. From here, the story picks up a nice pace and doesn't stop. This is what makes you hang on; the story doesn't slow down that much, making it a nice, and not bumpy, ride. And also, the author puts important sentences at the end of chapters, making you want to read more. Gets me everytime. Not to tread on spoilers, but Ragweed does something amazing near the end of the story. What the author does is make Ragweed shine with glory in some situations. Ragweed is just full of determination. A certain event in the story has the mice shocked and scared, because they lose an important building of the mice community. This makes Ragweed think about what he got himself into. But then he thought it over, he wanted to see the world, and he isn't going to let some random cats stand in the way. Ragweed doesn't run away from F.E.A.R, again I won't go into detail to avoid spoilers. He tells the other mice to stand up to the cats. Are they going to keep hiding and running in fear their whole lives? He rebuilds and recollects the mice, and recreate their own sanctuary again. Ragweed wants to make sure that F.E.A.R gets the message: No matter what they do, no matter how hard they try, they aren't putting down these mice. I highly recommend this book to anyone. It is enjoyable for anyone of any age, and it is a nice short snack for those hardcore readers. It won't take long to read, yet it has a good, deep storyline.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2003

    A great mousey book-packed with adventure!!

    This book is a great book by Avi. She really descrives the pain and turmoil that the mice have to live caused by cats. The mice have their thoughts that the cats messed up their world and the cats think that the mice messed up theirs, creating a war. A great book, with amazing twists and turns, humor, angst, and a little pinch of the supernatural, Ragweed is by far the best mouse book! The characters come to live, along with the savvy cats and other characters. This truely has become the stuff of legends!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2003

    Ragweed-a great book

    Ragweed is an outstanding book that any animal lover will adore! Avi's captivating plot and vivid details make this book a must read for any child looking for a fun book! I have gone on to read the whole series and am not dissapointed by any means.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2002

    Ragweed is a great, interesting book for nine-year olds and above that is about mice and their view of life about cats, cars, buildings, and humans.

    Ragweed is a really great book and when I first saw it, I knew it would be interesting. I looked at the cover and it had a picture of a mouseon a skateboard and somewhat of a guitarso that meant that it would be about mice and their life in their way. This book was what I expected it to be and it was also extremeley interesting. I still feel the same about the book because when I first saw it I was really excited about reading it. Ragweed is a fiction book by Avi about mice, tons of mice, that live in a city called Amperville. The main characters are Ragweed and his friends Clutch and Blinker, and also his enemies Silversides and Graybar. Silversides and Graybar start an organization called F.E.A.R.(Felines Enraged About Rodents) to kill all mice and keep cats on top. Silversides and Graybar decide to go kill mice whenever they see them, but Ragweedtries to stop them. I liked Ragweed because it was an interesting book about mice and it gave the view of life through a mouse's point of view. I also liked it because it was about cats and mice. The story even made me want to buy a mouse because I already have a cat. Ragweed was an interesting book that I enjoyed reading because of the way it expressed a mouse's point of view of life. I would recommend this book to people because it is a great book that gives you a few laughs and makes you curious to know about a mouse's view of life. I think this book is appropiate for nine-year olds and above. This book deserves five stars because it is easy to understand. For example, a mouse's name for something might be different from a human's , but this book describes it to get a better idea. Also, Ragweed even has a map of the town they live in, Amperville, in the beginning of the book. Ragweed is a great, interesting book for nine-year olds and above that is about mice and their view of life about cats, cars, buildings, and humans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2002

    Great!!!!

    This is a great book! Ragweed is a very unique mouse with very interesting friends. You have to read this!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2001

    Exciting adventure, well written - fun!

    If you have read Poppy by Avi, this is a great sequel. If you like books that are adventurous, this is your book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2000

    Ragweed

    Ragweed makes creative plans and makes new friends. This great adventure around the world was a great idea. Ragweed makes new friends, who helped him take on F.E.A.R. (Felines Enraged About Rodents). Clutch's band should make it rock and roll!!! And remember, a mouse has to do what a mouse has to do.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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