The Mayor of Central Park

The Mayor of Central Park


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060515577
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/15/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 1,296,505
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About 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

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.

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

Read an Excerpt

The Mayor of Central Park

Chapter One

I Start Telling the Tale

Now the way I heard it, this whole loopy story happened in the pearly month of May 1900, right here in the middle of New York City. It's mostly about this gray squirrel who went by the name of Oscar Westerwit.

To look at Oscar Westerwit you might think, hey, just another New York City squirrel. Only thing is, if you said that, you'd be dead wrong. 'Cause the simple scoop is that this here Oscar Westerwit was a full-sized uptown romantic. And when you get an uptown squirrel who's romantic, let me tell you something: You got yourself a story busting to trot itself up Broadway like a tap-dancing centipede.

But you're asking, how come I was able to grab this tale? Well, back in them days I was cub reporter for the Daily Mirror. My beat was Central Park. So, figures, while I'm not in the story, I heard all about it.

Anyway, this Oscar Westerwit, this squirrel I'm talking about, the voters in Central Park used to call him the mayor of Central Park. Which ain't to say he actually was mayor. At the time, the real mayor of New York was Hiz Honor Robert A. Van Wyck, a guy so terrific they named a traffic jam after him.

But the thing of it was, since Oscar knew everybody and everything in the park so well, the voters there called him the mayor.

Now to bump right into the beginning, this yarn started spinning string on the third Friday night in May. That was when Oscar held his regular mayor's monthly open house.

Only first you need to fix yourself a picture of Oscar in your head. I mean, this here was one swell-suited squirrel, dressed up to all nine buttons. He was sporting a light, white cotton suit, with a baby blue bow tie, shined-up shoes and spats, and a ripping red gardenia right there on his jacket lapel.

And his home -- a two-room elm tree apartment in the middle of the park-was just as terrific. There was an easy chair by the window with an actual electric lamp at its side. There was a pile of The Baseball Weekly stacked up along with the New York Tribune. Pictures of his heroes -- Honus Wagner, Roscoe Conklin, and Lillian Russell -- were on the walls, right along with his degree from the City University -- class of 1898.

As for Oscar hisself, he was humming a Broadway show tune and sliding into a tap-dance do-diddle every other step while setting food on the table. You know, like:

My sweetheart's the girl in the moon,
I'm getting to marry her soon.

When all of a sudden, who should come bip-bopping into his room? Sam Peekskill, that's who.

"Hey, Oscar," the rabbit shouted, the way only an excited southpaw rabbit can volume his voice, "Arty Bigalow has gone missing!"

Now what you got to know is, Oscar wasn't just mayor of Central Park. No, sir, he was also the shortstop and manager of the Central Park Green Sox. And a pretty decent player, too.

"Says who?" said Oscar to Sam.

"No one's seen him since day before the day before."

"I'm not worried," said Oscar as he filled a bowl with nuts and crackers and set it by the window.

"How come?" said Sam.

"Sam," said Oscar as he laid out some pretzels and pickles, "no way Arty's going to miss the game. Hey, if we beat the Wall Street Bulls, we're in first place. He knows that. I know that. Everyone knows that. Here, pal, spot down these cucumber sandwiches."

"Sure," said Sam, doing like he was told. "But Oscar," he said, "this Arty, his personal life is one big spicy meatball. What the guys were thinking was, maybe youse should go check his boardinghouse. I mean, that cat's our only pitcher."

Oscar shook his head and plunked a pile of napkins down like he was flashing a royal flush at a Friday night poker game. "Tonight's my open house."


"Hey, Sam," said Oscar. "Come over here."

Sam went to where Oscar was standing by the window.

"See that moon in the sky?" said the squirrel.

"Sure. It's where it's supposed to be, ain't it?"

"Right. But pop your eyes on how the moonlight makes the park hills, lakes, trees, and meadows look like they've been dipped deep in blue light and purple shadow."


"And there -- the Dakota towers are looking like servants on the ready. Now -- listen to those clip-clopping horses and carriages on Fifth Avenue. And over to the West Side -- hear them clanging trolley bells. Got all that?"

"What's all this to do with tomorrow's game?"

"Sam," said Oscar, "this Central Park is ... perfect."

"Yeah, but if Arty --"

"Hey, pal," said Oscar, "Central Park is where I was born, grew up, and live. Central Park is the best beauty in this whole burg."

"Sure, Oscar, but Arty --"

"Hey, come on. Guys like us have been around here long before 1857 when the park was built; long before the Dutch showed up in 1612. Long even before the Lenape Indians named this island Manna-hata."

"Okay," said Sam. "It's great to know all that stuff, but if Arty don't --"

Oscar spread his forepaws wide. "Hey, I love this place!"

"Oscar," said Sam, "you know where a romantic like youse belongs? In a Broadway show, that's where."

"Broadway Oscar, that's me!" And the squirrel did a quick tap-dance double doodle.

"That's cute, Oscar, but I just hope you're right about Arty."

Wasn't long before the apartment was crowded. Some were there for the nuts, pretzels, and talk Oscar laid out deep. But plenty of folks were there asking for his help ...

The Mayor of Central Park. Copyright © by Denise Avi. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1I Start Telling the Tale1
Chapter 2Big Daddy Duds10
Chapter 3Duds Does Some Thoughts15
Chapter 4Oscar's Big Game21
Chapter 5Duds Plots His Plan26
Chapter 6Duds in His Digs29
Chapter 7Miss Maud35
Chapter 8Oscar Worries39
Chapter 9Miss Maud Makes Her Move43
Chapter 10What Happened to Maud49
Chapter 11Big Daddy Duds Makes His Move54
Chapter 12Oscar Makes a Discovery59
Chapter 13Oscar and the Cop64
Chapter 14The New Central Park71
Chapter 15What Oscar Saw76
Chapter 16Duds in Central Park83
Chapter 17Maud Makes a Decision89
Chapter 18Oscar's Ma's Home92
Chapter 19Uncle Wilkie98
Chapter 20The Storm102
Chapter 21The Moan107
Chapter 22Oscar Makes an Army114
Chapter 23Duds Has a Visitor122
Chapter 24Oscar Talks129
Chapter 25More Talk from Oscar133
Chapter 26Maud Again137
Chapter 27Oscar's Army140
Chapter 28The Army of Central Park144
Chapter 29Maud and Uncle Wilkie153
Chapter 30Ready for the Battle156
Chapter 31Maud161
Chapter 32The Big Battle167
Chapter 33Hiz Honor the Mayor and Maud173
Chapter 34The Challenge177
Chapter 35The Big Game183
Chapter 36Last Bits and Bites191

Customer Reviews

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The Mayor of Central Park 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
15karank on LibraryThing 9 days ago
I liked this book! This book is interesting, especially the idea of the animals ruling the world. I enjoyed how there were many different animals, who have power based on their size and there personality. I think this is a fun book to read that will not take such a long time to read. I think that this book it very interesting how it is based in real life but all the characters in the life has been changed. This book was good because it kept me interested throughout the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A squirrel named Oscar Westerwit, who¿s the mayor of Central Park, loves baseball. Daddy Duds who¿s the leader of the downtown gang, likes baseball just as much as diamonds and jewels. Daddy Duds and his thugs are trying to take over Central Park. But Oscar and his friends are trying to stop them. Will they be able to save Central Park before it¿s too late? I like this book because Avi makes this book fun and also he makes this book come to life. He can make you see how the characters think and feels. I think that this book is filled with adventure, mystery and of course baseball.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oscar Westerwit owns Central Park and its very own baseball team, the Green Sox. Everything is peaceful in Oscar¿s domain until Arte Bigalow, famous and talented pitcher on the Green Sox, never turns up on a fateful game of baseball. Then Big Daddy Duds, a rat criminal with a love of diamonds and baseball, arrives with his gang and raises turmoil in Central Park. His gang drives animals out of their homes and even manipulates the local police force in the rat¿s favor. What can Oscar do? Admittedly, my favorite part of this book is the animal fiction aspect of it. In fact, Oscar Westerwit himself is a squirrel. I also thought that it contained a lot of detail, however, Avi did not over-elaborate, so I really felt that I was with Oscar throughout the book. I didn¿t like the way that Arte Bigalow disappears near the beginning of the book and then never reappears again. All in all, the Mayor of Central Park is quite an enjoyable read.