What You Need to Know:|
• A story of growing up and self-discovery told through the eyes of a young mouse.
• Talking animals with a variety of personalities – shy, brave, eccentric - are the theme here.
• The reader will find some serious concepts – there is somewhat of a “class war” between the cats and the mice and
one mouse is even calling for a revolution.
• Although the main characters are talking animals and there are illustrations throughout, the story is long and there is
a lot of descriptive language so this story will require a long attention span.
• There seem to be underlying meanings and philosophical thoughts running through much of the story.
• There is a bit of violence – cats wanting to kill mice, some fighting and anger.
• There is a lot to follow here in terms of events, characters, and feelings but it is interesting and suspenseful and
succeeds in holding the reader’s attention.
• You’ll find some harder words like dilapidated, obscure, philosophy, conspiracy and abandoned throughout the book.
Sweet Series Background:|
A prequel to Poppy, Ragweed delves into this character at a time before he has met Poppy. The series goes on from there to include several other books that focus on the adventures of Poppy, a young deer mouse. If your child loves Ragweed, be prepared that Ragweed meets a sad ending in Poppy.
Ragweed, written by Newbury Honor author, Avi, is a charming story of a mouse on a mission. Although Ragweed is a mouse, he feels human in almost every way. He thinks, reflects and in the end takes action. And he finds himself, just as many humans might find themselves, in search of adventure. He is four months old (I guess mice grow up quickly) and decides that he is ready to see the world.
Ragweed safely makes his way through the forest and on to the town of Amperville (check out the map in the front of the book) where a battle between mouse and cat is heating up. He isn’t in town for five minutes before he is face to face with danger. Danger comes in the form of Silversides, a white cat who has a mission of her own – to rid Amperville of those dirty, disgusting creatures (mice) that are taking over her town. She even creates a small (herself and one other cat) organization called F.E.A.R. (felines enraged about rodents) to support her cause.
Ragweed is saved by a fun, wild mouse named Clutch who becomes his first friend (and later possible love interest) in this strange new place. Everything is unfamiliar to Ragweed – the different types of mice, the “nests” they live in and even the way they speak. When Ragweed begins to get a better understanding of his new environment, he decides that something must be done. He inspires his new friends to stand up and fight back against the cats. There is excitement and drama, but there is also something to be learned. Some readers may walk away thinking about any of the following: We can sit around and let things happen, or we can do something about them. A mouse (or a person) has to do what a mouse has to do. Or even, we should sometimes just be satisfied with what we have. If not, they will at least enjoy Ragweed’s thrilling adventure.
2000, 208 pages
Adventure, Animals, Character-Values, Friendship, Individuality, Self-Awareness/Discovery
This recommendation was written by: