Saturday, March 9, 2013

Poppy and Ereth (Tales of Dimwood Forest #6) by Avi


*** Warning: This review contains SPOILERS!! ***

This is the last book of the Tales of Dimwood Forest series.

In the introduction, the author specifically states that he "worked hard to join many of the characters, events, and memories of the previous five books." With that kind of set-up, I was especially disappointed that Mephitis, Nimble, Tumble, and Flip did not appear in this book. A passing mention was made of the three foxes, but I would have liked to have seen them interact with Ereth again. At the very least, it would have been nice to find out if they ever did visit Ereth. Moreover, Mephitis's complete absence was particularly troublesome because the previous book led us to believe that he and Ereth would be living together, like a family. So, what happened to him!?

Ereth, one of my favorite characters throughout the series, also left me feeling disappointed. Yes, he was grumpy and short-tempered, but he loved Poppy, and he was not self-centered. His bizarre speech and behavior at Poppy's "funeral" seemed to be out of character for him.

I think a forest fire as a central plot element was good, but was it really necessary to burn the whole forest down? Destroying all of Dimwood Forest seemed too final, as if the end of our time with Poppy should be equivalent to the end of Dimwood Forest, period. I would have preferred to say goodbye to Poppy and Ereth while also preserving the knowledge that future generations of wildlife would make their homes and find their own adventures within the same forest. Yes, this book left us with one small sign of hope... but it just wasn't enough for me. What would happen to all the wildlife in the meantime?

Also, I just didn't like the idea of Ragweed's earring being the cause of the fire. Rather than the fire simply being an act of nature, it's almost as if Ragweed and Poppy (with her decision to put the earring in the tree) were direct causes of the mass destruction. That just seemed wrong.

Still, after all that, this book managed a 3-star rating from me. I liked the way Junior had matured. I liked Spruce, Luci, and the whole bat colony. I even lamented the fact that Rye never saw the beauty of a bat cave. I liked the way Poppy and Bounder formed an alliance in the face of a common threat, similar to the way the animals were united against the threat of man in Ereth's Birthday. And, I like that neither Poppy nor Ereth died.

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