About the Author
Avi is the author of the Newbery Medal-winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead and the Newbery Honor Books Nothing But the Truth and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. He writes the beloved animal adventure series that includes Ragweed, Poppy, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Poppy and Rye, Ereth's Birthday, and Poppy's Return. His many other books include Don't You Know There's a War On? and The Mayor of Central Park—an animal adventure set in Manhattan's most famous park.
Date of Birth:December 23, 1937
Place of Birth:New York, New York
Education:University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
Read an Excerpt
"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...
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 utterlystill.
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...
Poppy and Rye
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...
In Dimwood Forest, in the dark, smelly log where the old porcupine Erethizon Dorsatum lived, Ereth�as he preferred to call himself�woke slowly.
Not the sweetest smelling of creatures, Ereth had a flat face with a blunt, black nose and fierce, grizzled whiskers. As he stirred, he rattled his sharp if untidy quills, flexed his claws, yawned, frowned, and grumbled, "Musty moose marmalade," only to suddenly remember what day it was and smile. Today was his birthday.
Ereth had given very little thought to what he would do about the day. As far as he was concerned, his birthday meant others would be doing something for him. And the one he was quite certain would be doing all the providing was his best friend, Poppy.
Poppy, a deer mouse, lived barely an acorn toss from Ereth's log in a gray, lifeless tree�a snag with a hole on one side. She resided there with her husband, Rye, and their eleven children.
Ereth, in a very private sort of way, loved Poppy. He had never told anyone about this love, not even her. Enough for him to live near her. But since the porcupine was certain that Poppy thought of him as her best friend, he assumed she would be making a great fuss over his birthday. A party, certainly. Lavish gifts, of course. Best of all, he would be the center of attention...
Tales from Dimwood Forest Box Set. Copyright © by William Avi. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.