Poppy (Tales of Dimwood Forest #2) by Avi

Poppy B.C.

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.

My rating:

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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

I loved this book when I was in middle and high school. I wanted to read it again. I actually still owned a copy of it. With my current book challenges, I had the perfect reason to read it again. It did not disappoint. Unlike many stories, this book was just as good as it had been when I read it as a teen.

The story follows young Charlotte Doyle. She is scheduled to travel on a merchant ship back home to Rhode Island from England. There is supposed to be two other families on board, but they fail to show. As soon as she boards, the young lady knows there is something amiss. Vague warnings and unusual occurrences start the warning bells buzzing in her head.

After a failed attempted mutiny, Charlotte joins the sailors. She becomes one of the crew, working along side them from dawn to midnight, taring the deck and taking a watch. Danger from both human and ship lead to a very gripping tale on the sea. Every day, Charlotte adds some to her journal, leaving evidence of the crimes committed on board.

I love this book. It is fascinating to watch Charlotte grow from a young, sheltered girl to a hardworking, independent young lady. You learn a lot about what the crew goes through on a long voyage, as well as the differences in social classes that were prevalent at the time. It would be a great book for a tween/teen girl. Also, anyone who wants to learn some basics about old-time sea faring would like this book. It is an easy read, but keeps you engaged throughout. It actually has a lot of suspense for a young adult book (at least those I read when I was younger, I don’t know about today’s books). It is simply a great book.

My rating:

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