At the very edge of Dimwood Forest stood an old charred oak where, silhouetted by the moon, a great horned owl sat waiting. The owl's name was Mr. Ocax, and he looked like death himself. With his piercing gaze, he surveyed the lands he called his own, watching for the creatures he considered his subjects. Not one of them ever dared to cross his path...until the terrible night when two little mice went dancing in the moonlight...
Follow the exciting story of Poppy the mouse and her adventure to free her family from the terrible reign of Ocax the owl! From the depths of Dimwood forest to the edge of a cornfield, read as she gets an unlikely friend from a prickly-tempered porcupine and learns a lesson of bravery and determination.
I've read the Dimwood Forest series for eight summers and the stories never get old. Poppy is about a brave little mouse who decides to venture through the dark and dreary Dimwood Forest to stake out territory where Ocax cannot threaten her family any longer. He promises to protect them from other creatures, but his real intent is to keep them under his watch so he can attack them if they disobey. Poppy interacts with a grumpy porcupine and goes on a journey to free her family---a great story of courage and adventure.
The story is rather ridiculous, with regards to the mice walking up to Ocax's tree to ask for permission to move, and the mice's belief that porcupines are meat-eaters who shoot their quills. But other than those points, the story is rather enjoyable. A pity that Ragweed was killed, but he was being arrogant and foolish..... Still I wish he didn't have to die.
- Reading Age: 8+
- Reading Aloud Age: Maybe 7+
Ocax the owl makes constant referalls to his wish to eat mice. He looms in a tree with owl pellets at its base and speaks to Poppy and her father in a frightening way. In the first chapter, he swoops down and catches a mouse in his talons, then swallows it. Other scary scenes include him chasing Poppy, a fox chasing Poppy, Poppy getting swept away in water, Poppy and Ocax fighting with his talons and her porcupine quill sword, and Poppy piercing Ocax's foot with the quill so that he lifts into the air and carries her along on the end of it, eventually ending in his death as he hits into a block of sugar and falls to the ground. The description of his death mentions his beak snapping listlessly and his eyes closing. Poppy's father describes a porcupine mistakenly as a vicious creature which 'shoots its quills at you, tramples you, chops you into small pieces and then gobbles you up'.
Illustrations include Ocax coming down on a mouse, talons extended, Poppy's father showing a shadowy image of a scary-looking porcupine, the shadows of Ocax's claws behind a running Poppy, Ocax sitting darkly in his tree, Ocax coming down on Ereth the porcupine and Poppy, claws extended, the shadow of Ocax flying off with Poppy hanging from the quill in his claw, and the shadow of Ocax's curled talons as he lays on the ground, dead.
Poppy accidentally hides in the back of Ereth's log, which is actually 'his toilet'. Ereth uses words like, 'bat bilge', 'jerk', and 'idiot' to show off his crankiness as a character. Poppy and her father get into an argument over her disobedience taking her friend Ragweed to an off limits hill her father and Ocax told her not to go to.