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Series: The Poppy Stories   

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Annotation: An animal fable that reflects on human life - whether it is home life or playground life where the bullies and the brave take their turns, where rules and free spirits often tangle.
Catalog Number: #239756
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
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Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Teaching Materials Receive a FREE Teacher's Guide for this title with a purchase of 20 or more copies of this book. You do not need to add a copy of the Teacher's Guide to your list, it will be automatically included with your order after the minimum number of copies is ordered.
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 1995
Edition Date: 2007
Illustrator: Floca, Brian,
Pages: 156 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-380-72769-2 Perma-Bound: 0-605-31000-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-380-72769-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-31000-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 95006040
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
This story of bravery, persistence, and an overthrown tyrant features the heroine Poppy--a small deer mouse--and the evil Mr. Ocax, a great horned owl, who protects Poppy and her family provided they don't leave their territory without his permission. With its wonderful characterizations, the book is a splendid read-aloud and a tribute to the inquiring mind and the stout heart.
Kirkus Reviews
An adolescent mouse named Poppy is off on a romantic tryst with her rebel boyfriend when they are attacked by Mr. Ocax, the owl who rules over the area. He kills the boyfriend, but Poppy escapes and Mr. Ocax vows to catch her. Mr. Ocax has convinced all the mice that he is their protector when, in fact, he preys on them mercilessly. When the mice ask his permission to move to a new house, he refuses, blaming Poppy for his decision. Poppy suspects that there is another reason Mr. Ocax doesn't want them to move and investigates to clear her name. With the help of a prickly old porcupine and her quick wits, Poppy defeats her nemesis and her own fears, saving her family in the bargain. The book is a cute, but rather standard offering from Avi (Tom, Babette, and Simon, p. 776, etc.). (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 9-11)"
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 3-5--A 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
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* A good old-fashioned story with an exciting plot, well-drawn characters, and a satisfying ending, Avi's latest novel will please readers on many levels. Mr. Ocax the owl rules the territory where Poppy, a young deer mouse, lives with her large, extended family. The mice have agreed to obey Mr. Ocax, and, in exchange, he has promised to protect them from porcupines, animals that the mice know only from the owl's alarming description. Although warned by her officious father not to leave home without the owl's permission, Poppy sneaks out one night with her boyfriend, Ragweed. Poppy listens to Ragweed's goading about her fearful submissiveness, then watches in horror as Mr. Ocax pounces on Ragweed, killing him instantly. Poppy soon finds her own way from cowardice to courage when she sets out on a quest to find her family a new home. As an adventure story, the book combines action, suspense, and humor. As a novel of character, it convincingly portrays growth as Poppy faces her fears and finds her way. Older children may recognize the politics of power played out through the three figures who initially dominate Poppy: Mr. Ocax, who cleverly coaxes, rules by fear, and despises those he oppresses; Poppy's father, who threatens dire consequences because he is fearful but has little substance behind his bluster; and Ragweed, who puts down Poppy for her cautious ways, choosing to deny fear entirely and consequently dying in chapter 1. An excellent choice for reading alone or reading aloud.
Word Count: 26,555
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 14795 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.8 / points:5.0 / quiz:Q09287
Lexile: 670L
Guided Reading Level: S
Fountas & Pinnell: S

Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner * ALA Notable Book * ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice * School Library Journal Best Book

“This exciting story is richly visual. The underlying messages, to challenge unjust authority and to rely on logic and belief in oneself, are palatably blended with action and suspense.” — School Library Journal

In the second book in the Tales of Dimwood Forest by Newbery Medal-winning author Avi, a tiny deer mouse named Poppy dares to stand up to a tyrannical owl.  The story is accompanied by inviting illustrations from Caldecott Medal-winning artist Brian Floca.

Poppy knew she was taking a risk following her beloved Ragweed to Bannock Hill, but a night of dancing with the handsome golden mouse was just too tempting. So when Ragweed is scooped up by the sinister owl, Mr. Ocax, who rules over Dimwood forest, she’s devastated. Her whole life she was warned of Mr. Ocax’s evil ways…how could she have been so foolish to put herself and Ragweed at risk?

To make matters worse, when Poppy attempts to move with her family to a different part of the woods where the food supply is richer, Mr. Ocax refuses to let them go. Despite what she’s been led to believe for years, Mr. Ocax is not as strong as he wants the mice to think he is. Armed with the bravery, gumption, and wit of a hero, Poppy embarks on a dangerous quest—joined by the irascible but lovable porcupine, Ereth—to defeat Mr. Ocax and lead her family to a better home.

A perennially popular story of courage and determination, Poppy is a fixture on state award lists and in classrooms across the country.

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