65 pages 2 hours read


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1995

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Teacher Introduction


  • Genre: Fiction; middle-grade fantasy/action/adventure
  • Originally Published: 1995
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 670L; grades 3-7
  • Structure/Length: 20 chapters; approx. 162 pages; approx. 4 hours and 8 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: In the Dimwood Forest, a deer mouse named Poppy stands up to a menacing owl who takes her beloved, Ragweed.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Violence and peril; loss and danger; animal cruelty

Avi, Author

  • Bio: Born in New York City; lives in Colorado with his wife; started as a playwright and worked as a librarian before becoming an author when his first child was born; has published more than 70 books and has won many awards
  • Other Works: Crispin: The Cross of Lead (2002); Ragweed (2000); Midnight Magic (1999); Nothing But the Truth (1991); The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1990)
  • Awards: Maryland Children’s Book Award (1998); ALA Notable Children’s Book (1996); Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Best Fiction (1996)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • The Nature of Tyranny and Heroism
  • The Importance of Challenging Assumptions
  • The Power of Love

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of the social and cultural contexts regarding misinformation and tyranny that incite Poppy’s conflict.
  • Analyze paired texts and other brief resources to make connections via the text’s themes of Tyranny and Heroism, Challenging Assumptions, and Love.

Related Titles

By Avi