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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… .

Story Behind the Story

Few writers have names that become synonymous with a style of writing; Damon Runyon is one of them. As my dictionary has it, “Runyonesque: language or imagery characterized by plot or language suggestive of gangsters or the New York underworld.”

Think of the musical Guys and Dolls, which is based on his short stories. Never mind that Runyon was born in Kansas and spent most of his youth in Colorado.  But it is relevant that I, a New Yorker, while living in Colorado, wrote The Mayor of Central Park. read more

Awards and Honors

Publishers Weekly, 2003, starred review

Review

Booklist:

“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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