word craft




Harper­Collins, 1995
illus­trat­ed by Bri­an Flo­ca
Book 3 of 7

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audio book nar­rat­ed by 
John McDonough

The Poppy Books
Book 1 of 7
Ragweed & Poppy
Book 2 of 7
Poppy & Rye
Book 4 of 7
Ereth's Birthday
Book 5 of 7
Poppy's Return
Book 6 of 7
Poppy & Ereth
Book 7 of 7
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What’s this book about?

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.

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Awards and Recognition

  • Boston Globe-Horn Book Best Fic­tion Award, 1996
  • New Mex­i­co’s Chil­dren Choice Award, 1999
  • Nation­al Chris­t­ian School Asso­ci­a­tion, Crown Clas­sic, 1998
  • Mary­land’s Chil­dren’s Choice Award, 1998
  • ALA Notable, 1996
  • Pub­lish­ers Week­ly, 1995, starred review
  • Book­list, 1995, starred review
  • Book­list, Best Books of the year, 1995
  • School Library Jour­nal Best Books of 1995
  • New York Pub­lic Library Best Books of the Year, 1995
  • Book Links Salutes a Few Good Books, 1995
  • Nom­i­nat­ed for twen­ty five state chil­dren’s choice awards


“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)

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The Poppy Books
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