Sunday, February 24, 2013

Poppy and Rye (Tales of Dimwood Forest #3) by Avi


Even though I have not been entirely captivated by this series, I am content to read more, mainly because the books are short and easy to read.

I think it's about time I give some props to Brian Floca, the illustrator for this series. His illustrations are delightful and endearing, and sometimes, just when I start to feel indifferent about the story, his illustrations pull me back in.

In this installment, Poppy embarks on a mission to find Ragweed's home and tell his parents what she knows about Ragweed. It's very touching, and we see how bold and brave Poppy is, to take on this difficult task, despite not knowing exactly how to go about doing it.

This book seems to be centered around emotional themes of love, jealousy, anger, etc. We see an example of sibling rivalry, explore the extent of Poppy and Ereth's friendship, discover the wonders of new love, and witness the various ways in which individuals deal with their feelings.

As in earlier books of this series, there are plenty of take-away lessons, if you like that sort of thing. "When you are feeling emotional, don't act rashly! You'll just get into trouble." "You might think that one individual may be too small and insignificant to make a difference, but when many individuals band together, they can become a force to be reckoned with." "Progress for progress's sake is not really progress at all." And, "Some people are bullies because they are so self-centered and egotistical that they just can't see beyond themselves."

I think Ereth is a really entertaining character, and I'm rather fond of Thistle, too. I think I would enjoy reading more about her.

While this book did offer a good story and a satisfying resolution, I still felt disappointed several times along the way. It seemed to me that Rye running away to "prove himself" without any real plan only supported the idea that he was a pale version of Ragweed. We know that Poppy has a thing for taking on big ventures, but in this case, it seemed like such a shame that she was willing to risk the lives of Thistle and Curleydock, especially since, ultimately, they served no purpose on the mission. I was glad to see Rye taking charge when Poppy was scared of swimming, but my hopes were immediately dashed when events took an unexpected turn, and Rye did not get a chance to step up after all. I would have really liked to have seen Rye do something useful.

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