illus. by Brian Floca
Scholastic, 1995
HC: 978-0531094839
PB: 978-0380727698
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Behind the Book: Poppy

Avi writes:

There are six books in the Poppy series, but Poppy, which is the second in the sequence, is the first book I wrote.

At the time I was living in Oregon. One day, in the University bookstore, I came upon a book by a naturalist. He recounted how he had found an abandoned baby owl in the forest. He brought it back home, restored it to health, and then taught it how to return to the wilderness. The book had much to do with owls, too. I found it quite fascinating, and decided to write a book with an owl as the main character. Enter Mr. Ocax.

But as often happens when I write, my interest began to shift and evolve, and it was Poppy, the deer mouse Mr. Ocax wished to eat, who really caught my interest.

Along the way I discovered Ereth. People do ask me how I came to create that character. The best way I can explain it is he was built so as to be opposite Poppy. Where she is sweet, cheerful and optimistic, he is rough, grumpy and full of foreboding. What they do share are hearts full of love.

As for Ereth’s inventive language, I can’t really say how that came about except to suggest that porcupines are, well, prickly.

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