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Poppy's return / Avi ; illustrated by Brian Floca.

By: Avi, 1937-.
Contributor(s): Floca, Brian [illustrator.] | Floca, Brian.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: Avi, Poppy stories: bk. 5.Publisher: New York, N.Y. : HarperTrophy, 2006, c2005Edition: First Harper Trophy edition.Description: 223, 11 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 0060000147 (pbk.) :; 9780060000141 (pbk.) :.Subject(s): Family problems -- Juvenile fiction | Prejudices -- Juvenile fiction | Mothers and sons -- Juvenile fiction | Mice -- Juvenile fiction | Skunks -- Juvenile fiction | Porcupines -- Juvenile fictionDDC classification: 813 Summary: Poppy, accompanied by her troublesome son Junior, his skunk friend, and Uncle Ereth the porcupine, responds to a summons to return to her ancestral home, Gray House, to save the mice there from destruction by a bulldozer.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

The fifth book in the beloved Poppy series by Newbery Medal-winning author Avi, with illustrations from Caldecott Medal-winning artist Brian Floca

There's trouble at Gray House, the girlhood home that Poppy left long ago. Poppy's family has called her back to save them all--mother, father, sisters and brothers, and dozens and dozens of deer mouse cousins.

Poppy invites her rebellious son, Junior, to join her on the long trip across Dimwood Forest, hoping the journey will bring them closer together.

But with Junior's skunk pal, Mephitis, and Ereth, the cantankerous porcupine, in tow--sugared slug soup!--Poppy and Junior may be in for unexpected adventure.

Poppy, accompanied by her troublesome son Junior, his skunk friend, and Uncle Ereth the porcupine, responds to a summons to return to her ancestral home, Gray House, to save the mice there from destruction by a bulldozer.

8-12.

11 135

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Poppy's Return Chapter One Poppy and Rye Visit Ereth "Sugared slug soup," said Ereth the porcupine without looking up from the lump of salt over which he was slobbering. "I don't believe it." "I'm afraid it's true," said the deer mouse Poppy to her old friend. "It's very upsetting. The kind of thing that makes me wonder if I've been a bad parent." Poppy and her husband, Rye, a golden mouse, had gone over to Ereth's smelly hollow log for a talk. The closest of friends, they lived deep within Dimwood Forest, where the tall trees reached into the sweet air and carpeted the earth below with soft shadows. "Now Poppy," said Rye, "the rest of our children are doing fine." Poppy sighed. "I suppose one failure out of a litter of eleven isn't bad," she said. Her round, white belly had grown plump of late. Though her eyes were usually bright and her whiskers full, now those eyes appeared rather dull and full of worry, while her whiskers were somewhat limp. "You made your first mistake by naming him Ragweed Junior ," Ereth grumbled between licks of salt. "Most juniors ," he said, "resent the name. Or should." "I wish he did resent it," said Poppy. "Junior's problem is that he loves being a new Ragweed." "Gangrenous gym shorts," said Ereth. "Was there ever a mouse -- dead or alive -- who caused more fuss than the first Ragweed?" "I'm afraid," said Rye, "Junior wants to be what he thinks Ragweed was. It's all those stories he's heard about my brother." "Though of course," Poppy said, "Junior never knew Ragweed. All he knows is that Ragweed was unusual." She reached out, took Rye's paw, and squeezed it with affection. "It was Ragweed who brought us together. And if it hadn't been for him," she reminded Ereth, "I doubt you and I would have met." "I suppose," said Ereth. He put his salt lump down reluctantly. "Just what the flea fudge has Junior done?" "He used to be a cheerful, chatty, wonderfully open young mouse," said Poppy. "Nowadays it's a constant frown." "If I say yes," Rye went on, pulling at his long whiskers, "he says no. If I say no, he says yes. When he says anything more than that, it's mostly 'Leave me alone.' " "He has become rather rude," said Poppy. "Almost impossible to get him out of bed before noon," added Rye. "I doubt," said Poppy, "that he washes his face more than once a week, even though he's constantly being reminded." Her own ears were large and dark, with a nose, toes, and tail that were pink and clean. "And now he's completely changed his looks," said Rye, whose fur was dark orange. "Looks!" barked Ereth. "How can a mouse change his looks?" "You see," said Rye, with a shake of his head and a whisk of his tail, "Junior's best friend is a skunk." The salt fell from Ereth's paws. "A skunk ?" "His name is Mephitis," Poppy explained. "We don't know much about him. Or his family. I'm afraid the problem is that he's not a very good influence. Ereth, you need to see Junior for yourself." "Oh, toe jam on a toothpick," said Ereth. "He can't be that bad." "The point is," said Poppy, "Junior has become a teenager." "A teenager!" cried the porcupine. "Why the weasel wonk did you let that happen?" "He did it on his own," said Rye, his small ears cocked forward. "Then I'd better go unbuckle his buttons," said Ereth. With a rattle of his quills, he heaved himself up. "Where is he?" "Probably down among the snag roots," said Rye. "He's taken to liking darkness, too." "Just watch me, putt pockets," said Ereth. "I'll straighten him out flatter than a six-lane highway rolling through Death Valley. Be back soon. But don't touch that salt, or you'll get a quill up your snoot." Quills rattling, the porcupine clumped out of the old log and headed for the gray lifeless and topless tree in which Poppy and her family made their home. "Good luck," Rye called after him. "I do hope it was all right to tell Ereth about Junior," said Poppy. "Nothing else has worked," said Rye. "But . . . what do you think he'll do?" "I'm not sure, but I guess we'll find out pretty soon." Poppy's Return . Copyright © by Avi . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Poppy's Return by Avi All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-In this latest installment in the series, Avi gives his animal characters an uncomfortable humanity. Poppy, now the mother of 11, faces middle age with sighs and regrets while her troublesome son Ragweed Jr. suffers the pangs of adolescence. When humans threaten to destroy Poppy's parents' home, she and Ragweed make the journey together, developing respect for one another's courage. This book lacks the delightful charm of the previous books. The deer mouse's midlife crisis and her son's adolescent rantings aren't well suited to their animal natures and won't be understood by the target audience, and the dialogue ranges from trite to grating. Avi devotes over half the book to the family conflict and very few pages to the attempted destruction of the farm, which, when it does come, is too facilely resolved. While Ereth the porcupine's colorful metaphors will please readers, there is little else to hold this book together. Unless series readers demand it, look to other titles such as M. I. McAllister's Urchin of the Riding Stars (Hyperion, 2005) for animal adventure.-Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-6. In the fifth book in the series that began with Poppy 0 (1995), mouse Lilly urgently requests that her sister, Poppy, join her in visiting their childhood home, Gray House. Poppy travels with her rebellious teenage son, Junior, and his enigmatic friend, Mephitis, a skunk. Soon after her arrival, Poppy is hailed as the new family leader and saddled with the seemingly impossible task of saving the rundown house from destruction by the bulldozer that sits nearby. One of the book's main achievements (and an odd one it is, for a children's book) is the portrayal of Poppy's position as a member of the "sandwich generation," caught between the demands of mothering a smoldering teenager and managing an unreasonable father. Whether children will find this challenge of interest is questionable, but series fans will probably read this book just for the pleasure of keeping up with Poppy; they'll enjoy the occasional humor as well. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2005 Booklist

Horn Book Review

(Intermediate) In her previous adventures, heroic Poppy, a deer mouse, killed a tyrannical owl (Poppy, rev. 1/96) and battled territorial beavers (Poppy and Rye, rev. 7/98). In this fifth tale, Poppy again confronts challenging situations -- this time involving her own family. Poppy's son Ragweed Junior has become a rude and rebellious teenager and a constant source of worry to his parents; in addition, Poppy's father, Lungwort, is ailing, and she is summoned back to her childhood home where a bulldozer threatens to demolish Gray House. Surrounded by old friends and family (including the bombastic Lungwort), Poppy gains a new perspective on her son's behavior as she navigates her own complicated feelings about seeing her family again. Avi gives his animal characters dimension, even surly Junior. Although Poppy spends most of the story reacting to events, there's still enough external drama to keep readers turning the pages, and bad-boy Junior is hard to resist. As usual, Floca's attentive pencil drawings are a fitting accompaniment to the story. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Book Review

Avi's intrepid deer mouse sets out for a visit home in this fifth Dimwood Forest adventure, taking along her mutinously adolescent son Ragweed Junior in hopes of promoting some bonding. The ominous news that a bulldozer (owned by the "Derrida Deconstruction Company,") has been parked next to Gray House, the ramshackle farmhouse where Poppy's pompous father and his multitudinous descendants still live, prompts the trip. Thanks to her previous exploits, Poppy arrives to a hero's welcome, but barely has time to do more than organize a frantic evacuation before, in a slapstick climax, Junior, his (literally) unsavory buddy Mephitis the skunk and trash-mouthed Ereth the porcupine manage to start up the 'dozer and convert the house into a pile of kindling--which is to say, a mouse condo. The plot, though, takes second fiddle to the author's proposition that parents too can be "Sick," (i.e., cool) and teens, despite unappealing personal habits, not quite as hopeless as they might seem. Well, it's a worthy thought, and, well supplied with Floca's ground-level vignettes, agreeably presented. (Fiction. 10-12) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.