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Ereth's Birthday


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About the Author

Avi is the award-winning author of more than eighty-two books for young readers, ranging from animal fantasy to gripping historical fiction, picture books to young adult novels. Crispin: The Cross of Lead won the Newbery Medal, and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth were awarded Newbery Honors. He is also the author of the popular Poppy series. Avi lives in Denver, Colorado. Visit him online at Brian Floca, in addition to being the illustrator of the books in Avi's Poppy Stories series, is the author and illustrator of the acclaimed picture books Locomotive, winner of the Caldecott Medal; Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11; Lightship; The Racecar Alphabet; and Five Trucks. You can visit him online at


Gr 3-5-Avi's Fourth Dimwood Forest tale (HarperCollins, 2000) comes to life in the deep, growly voice of narrator John McDonough which is just right for this story. Erethizon Dorsatum, better known as Ereth, the gruff and grouchy but good hearted porcupine of Avi's Poppy tales, thinks that he has been forgotten on his birthday and sets off in annoyance and disappointment in search of salt, his favorite treat. The nearest salt is located deep in the forest in a cabin occupied by fur hunters. The hunters have set out traps for the animals and Ereth finds Leaper, the Fox, caught in one. He reluctantly promises the dying fox to take care of her three rambunctious kits. Unaware that he is being stalked by Marty the Fisher who is the one creature in the forest that can do him harm, Ereth finds himself embroiled with three energetic and chatty fox kits while waiting for their father, who is nowhere to be found. The story is delightful, heartwarming, and humorous as Ereth's patience is continually taxed and he expounds his nonsense complaints and grumblings. It all adds up to one birthday Ereth will never forget. McDonough's telling is perfect, and this audiobook will be popular in school and public libraries.-Kristina Aaronson, Henniker Community School, NH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Avi's (Poppy; Poppy and Rye; Ragweed) Dimwood Forest tales continue with this storyÄequal parts humor and suspenseÄthat puts a non-mouse character in the limelight for the first time. Convinced that his best friend Poppy and her family have overlooked his birthday, Ereth, a curmudgeonly porcupine, wanders off in search of his favorite treatÄsalt. What he finds instead is an adventure he hadn't counted on: surrogate parenthood. He promises a female fox dying in a hunter's trap that he will look after her three kits until their father returns. Keeping the trio fed and out of trouble proves a Herculean task, one that teaches Ereth much about the ties that bind even as it softens some of his rough edges. His steadfast if grumpy devotion is rewarded when the three save him from an attack by a cunning fisher (a furry, four-legged creature with a hankering for porcupines). Avi delivers another crackling good read, one shot through with memorable descriptions (snow "sleeved tree branches in white") and crisp, credible dialogue. Above all, showcasing Ereth allows the author free range with his cantankerous character's trademark asides ("Babies. Nothing but poop and puke, puke and poop") and outbursts ("Sour snake sauce on spaghetti!"), many of which will have readers chuckling. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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