Reviews for Poppy


Horn Book Guide Reviews 1996
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. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1996 #1
Illustrated by Brian Floca. This story of bravery, persistence, and an overthrown tyrant features the heroine Poppy, a small deer mouse with beautiful orange-brown fur, dark round eyes, and pink toes. She and her family live under the protection of Mr. Ocax, a great horned owl. The mice cannot leave their territory without the permission of Mr. Ocax, at the risk of being eaten as punishment; in return, he promises to protect them from other dangers, especially porcupines. Poppy's friend Ragweed is an iconoclast; he asks inconvenient questions, such as whether any of the mice has ever actually seen a porcupine. One night, he persuades Poppy to go out in the moonlight without asking Mr. Ocax's permission. Although Ragweed is an original thinker, he is not a careful mouse, and Mr. Ocax catches him and eats him. The horrified Poppy barely escapes with her life. When she makes it back home, she finds her bombastic father, Lungwort, delivering a speech to the assembled mice about moving to a new home - aptly called New House - where there is more food. He insists that Poppy accompany him on a mission to seek Mr. Ocax's permission, and when Mr. Ocax refuses, the mice blame Poppy. Terrified but resolute, Poppy travels to see New House for herself and enters Dimwood, where Mr. Ocax and many other horrors reside. There she blunders into a porcupine's den, only to find him grumpy and smelly with a great talent for rough language such as "slug slop" and "bat bilge," but a decided vegetarian. This revelation confirms her growing suspicion about the benevolence of Mr. Ocax's rule. Poppy taunts Ocax and finally defeats him with a porcupine quill in a battle of epic dimensions. The wonderful characterizations - Poppy and her slowly growing awareness, the evil Mr. Ocax, the pompous Lungwort, and Ragweed the rebel - will remind readers of Robert Lawson's Rabbit Hill (Viking) and Robert C. O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (Atheneum). A splendid read-aloud, and a tribute to the inquiring mind and the stout heart. a.a.f Copyright 1998 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1995 September
0-531-08783-2 ~ 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) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1995 August #3
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 fiance 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.) Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1995 December
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

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