Sunday, May 13, 2007

Poppy Written By: Avi

Avi. (1995). Poppy. Avon.

I admit that I tried to get into reading this story once before with a pile of “summer reads” to catch up on several years ago, but that I was having a hard time when I tried to get into the storyline. So, I felt that it was time that I gave this book another try. The story’s main focus is on two mice who are risking their life to make it across a field highly guarded over by a fierce owl named Mr. Ocax. The storyline is told from the point of view of the mice with the mouse Poppy as the story’s main protagonist in focus. I would have enjoyed this small world detail in both the description and accompanying illustrations scattered throughout the book as a young child, for it reminds me of the “behind the scenes” life perspective of little critters, reminiscent of some of my childhood favorites, including The Cricket in Times Square or Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. This book is sprinkled with wonderfully descriptive language that creates such a visual for scenes and perspectives that can easily be glanced over in other stories. It is absolutely the shining aspect of this particular story. Just a few of my favorite lines that painted excellent visuals in my mind include:

p. 73 – “Forgetting everything for a moment, Poppy plucked a pair of lady’s slippers and fitted them to her feet. How cool, how soft, and delicate they were, as if someone were kissing her toes.”

p. 136 – “Poppy woke refreshed. For a moment, she just lay still, luxuriating in her discoveries. She imagined telling her family what a phony Mr. Ocax was. What a delicious moment.”

p. 38- “Lungwort appeared at that moment. His hair was slicked down; his whiskers were crisply curled; his tail had been scrubbed to a glowing pink, his thimble hat was set at a natty angle.”

Although the heartache of loss and the struggle for survival and outwitting an enemy are the prevalent events in this story, which can be heavy to swallow, the way the setting and characters are described create a canvas rich for exploring characterization facets and for examining how such a simple setting of a field can be created to seem like the dangerous, treacherous expanse that it is for the mice. Point of view comparisons play a key point in discussing the crafting of this story as well. I am certainly glad that I gave this book another go!

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