|Series||The Tales Of Dimwood Forest|
|Preceded by||Ragweed (prequel; 1999)|
|Followed by||Poppy and Rye (1997)|
Poppy is a children's novel written by Avi. The novel was first published in 1995 by Simon & Schuster and again in 1999 by HarperCollins. Poppy is the first-published of Avi's Tales From Dimwood Forest series. Within the narrative sequence of the series, it is the second book. The complete series is composed of Poppy, Poppy and Rye, Ragweed, Ereth's Birthday, Poppy's Return, and Poppy and Ereth.
In the Dimwood region, a large family of mice inhabit an abandoned farmhouse called Gray House. Poppy, a young deer mouse, goes with her boyfriend Ragweed, a golden mouse, to Bannock Hill for a proposal. However, Mr. Ocax, a great horned owl who acts as a tyrannical ruler over the family, tries to catch both of the mice while they are distracted. Ocax only manages to scratch Poppy's nose, but he kills Ragweed, who had daringly been out in the open. Poppy narrowly escapes again when leaving for Gray House.
When Poppy returns to Gray House, she learns that the family must relocate to New House, where there is a more abundant food supply. However, Ocax refuses to give the family permission to move to the area, citing Poppy and Ragweed's refusal to ask his permission to go to Bannock Hill as a reason. His refusal makes Poppy curious, so she decides to travel to New House to ascertain Ocax's reasons. While in Dimwood Forest Poppy eventually stumbles upon Ereth, a porcupine, who, contrary to the stories Ocax told Poppy's family, is surly but overall friendly and does not eat mice. He protects Poppy from Ocax and reveals he has no title of king. Ereth offers her continued protection from Ocax in exchange for the salt lick at New House that he can't obtain on his own.
Ereth drops Poppy off at the boundaries of New House, and she discovers that Ocax is afraid of a large artificial owl there, which is why he had really refused the mice family permission to move. Armed with a quill she retrieved from Ereth, Poppy later confronts and taunts Ocax about the figure but inadvertently reveals that it is fake. Ocax then attacks Poppy but is eventually defeated when Poppy stabs him with the quill. In a desperate attempt to get rid of it, he slams into the salt lick pole, the impact killing him. Ereth is able to get the salt lick then and Poppy goes home to tell her family they were now free from Ocax and able to move. A few moons later she meets and marries Rye, Ragweed's brother. They have eleven kids and each night they freely dance on Bannock Hill.
In 1996, Poppy received the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for fiction. The novel was also listed on the American Library Association's (ALA) Notable Books for Children list in 1996. Carolyn Phelan, writing in the ALA's Booklist, called Poppy "a good old-fashioned story with an exciting plot, well-drawn characters, and a satisfying ending", noting themes of power among the novel's three main characters: Poppy, who finds courage; Ocax, who oppresses the mice family; and Ragweed, who criticizes Poppy for being cautious. Kirkus Reviews described Poppy as a "cute, but rather standard offering from Avi". The School Library Journal referred to it as a "fast-paced, allegorical animal story", noting "the underlying messages, to challenge unjust authority and to rely on logic and belief in oneself, are palatably blended with action and suspense."
- Siede, Caroline. "Beyond Goosebumps: How we'd bring 14 classic YA book series into 2015". AV Club. Onion Inc. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
- "Past Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winners". Horn Book. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
- Zahner, Cathy Karlin (28 May 1998). "Nourishing serials for kids An author's children's books and daily newspaper stories carry positive messages". The Kansas City Star. The Kansas City Star Co. p. E1.
- "1996 Notable Children's Books". Association for Library Service Service to Children. American Library Association. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
- Phelan, Carolyn (15 October 1995). "Poppy". Booklist. American Library Association. Retrieved 4 May 2016 – via Literature Resource Center.
- "Poppy by Avi Kirkus Reviews". Kirkus Reviews. Kirkus Reviews. 15 September 1995. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- "Poppy". School Library Journal. BookVerdict. 1 December 1995. Retrieved 6 May 2014.