I vaguely remember greatly enjoying this book when I was young and decided to read it for a challenge this year. I’m glad I did as I was enchanted by the book again.
The story follows a deer mouse named Poppy. She and her boyfriend defy the local law of asking the resident owl of the neighborhood, Mr. Ocax, permission to move beyond the house they live in. As a result, her boyfriend is killed and eaten by Mr. Ocax. Immediately after, Poppy’s father decides the family has gotten too big for the abandoned house they live in and seeks to petition Mr. Ocax for permission to move to New House up the road some. When Mr. Ocax denies his permission, Poppy sets out on an adventure to find out what Mr. Ocax is hiding about New House.
I think this is a fantastic book for children, but maybe not those too young or those that would be greatly disturbed by the death of a character (especially one who was the focus of the first book in the series). This would be particularly good for young girls. It teaches lessons on believing in yourself and fighting against the bad people. There are also the standard lessons of making friends and making good on your word. Also, there is a lesson on not believing everything you are told until you find out the facts for yourself. The writing style is very fluid and the language is wonderful. There is no shortage of interesting words or vocabulary to help a youngster’s vocabulary grow.
It was honestly a delightful book that I enjoyed reading and was able to still, as an adult, feel for the characters and get pulled into the story. There is one character that is actually quite hilarious for adults to read as he has an adult’s view of young people. The old man is quite entertaining in his interactions with Poppy and other creatures throughout the book. All-in-all a good read and would make good bedtime stories for the older children.