At the very edge of Dimwood Forest stood an old charred oak where, silhouetted by the moon, a great horned owl sat waiting. The owl's name was Mr. Ocax, and he looked like death himself. With his piercing gaze, he surveyed the lands he called his own, watching for the creatures he considered his subjects. Not one of them ever dared to cross his path … until the terrible night when two little mice went dancing in the moonlight …
Story Behind the Story
For about eight months I lived in Corvallis, Oregon because my wife had a semester’s visiting professorship at Oregon State University.
The university had a bookstore and one day I was browsing among the remaindered books. For some reason one book caught my attention. It was written by a naturalist who worked in a forest. One day he discovered a barely alive owlet on the forest floor. He rescued it, restored it to good health and taught it to become wild again. The book was full of information about owls. I found it fascinating. read more
Awards and Honors
Boston Globe-Horn Book Best Fiction Award, 1996
"Newbery Honor author Avi turns out another winner with this fanciful tale featuring a cast of woodland creatures… . 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." (Publishers Weekly)