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.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995 Release date: 10/01/1995 Genre: Children's
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