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Mayor of Central Park
illus. by Brian Floca
HarperCollins, 2003
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The Mayor of Central Park

Life is good for Oscar Westerwit. He's the mayor of Central Park—the greatest place on earth for the squirrels, chipmunks, mice, and other animals who live there. He's the shortstop and manager of his baseball team. What could be bad?

Plenty! Big Daddy Duds, jewel thief, all-around thug, and leader of rats, is about to take over the park. And when he does, the other animals who live there will be turned out of their homes. Everyone looks to Oscar to save the day, but he may not even be able to save himself… .

Behind the Book

Avi writes: Ever since—as a young reader—I read the animal stories of Thorton W. Burgess, and then read The Wind in the Willows, one of the best books ever written, I’ve always had a fondness for stories that use animals as characters. Take that fact, add to it the knowledge that I was born and raised in New York City, that I have long been a baseball fan, and that I love inventive language, it’s not hard to see how I came to write The Mayor of Central Park. It combines all those things. For me what I most like most about this book is the voice of the narrator who tells “a story busting to trot itself up Broadway like a tap-dancing centipede.”

Awards and Honors

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, 2003



“Avi reinvents himself with every book, and this lighthearted venture is no exception. The time is 1900; the place is New York City’s Central Park … and the protagonist is a dapper squirrel named Oscar Westerwit… .  Oscar tries to save the park from the rats. Maud and baseball help serve up the thrilling denouement and the whole thing is written in delicious period slang … A quick, fun period piece.”

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