cover image Poppy and Rye

Poppy and Rye

Avi. HarperCollins Publishers, $17.99 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-380-97638-6

The spirited mouse star from Poppy must now face life after Ragweed (her fiance who was killed by an owl). Poppy and her curmudgeonly porcupine friend Ereth leave Dimwood Forest in search of Ragweed's parents to tell them the sad news so that Poppy can ""get on with her life."" When they finally reach their destination, they discover it's hardly the ""dullsville"" that Ragweed had described. In fact, his family has been forced to leave their comfortable nest and move to higher ground: a clan of development-mad beavers are flooding out the residents in their efforts to turn the pastoral backwater into ""Canad's Cute Condos."" Along the way, Poppy encounters Ragweed's dreamy, poetic brother Rye, and before long the two mice are head over paws in love. When a showdown between the scheming beavers and the reluctantly heroic mice puts Rye in danger, Poppy risks everything to save him. Of course, all's well that ends well in this rollicking tale, which Avi infuses with generous helpings of adventure, romance and humor. He juggles multiple story lines effortlessly, and his characterizations are particularly engaging, from the blustering Caster P. Canad (""Bless my teeth and smooth my tail!""), head of the beaver coterie, to the smart-mouthed Ereth (""Look here, you pickle-tailed fur booger""). This thoroughly enjoyable sequel is sure to please old fans and will likely win some new ones. Ages 8-12. (June)