Tales From Dimwood Forest, also known as The Poppy Stories, are a series of books by prolific young adult author Avi, centering around the inhabitants of the titular forest.The series starts with Poppy, telling of the titular character and her family's troubles with the owl Mr. Ocax. After Ocax kills her fiance Ragweed, Poppy embarks on a quest to keep her family safe, befriending a porcupine named Ereth and freeing the forest of Mr. Ocax's extortionary reign in the process.From there, the series deals with the consequences of Ragweed's death for Poppy and his family, while beavers are destroying their home. Poppy gains a love interest in Ragweed's brother Rye. Later books include a prequel about Ragweed and A Day in the Limelight for Ereth.
Mephitis saves Poppy from a bear in Poppy's Return.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The beavers pretend to be friendly and understanding, but actually care only about expanding their lake.
Blithe Spirit: Ragweed formerly served as this while with Poppy's family.
Carnivore Confusion: The series generally takes the "predation is a fact of life" approach. Interestingly, predators portrayed as being villainous often spin a variation on this, holding grudges against and manipulating specific individuals, and tend to have other agendas besides satisfying their hunger.
Cats Are Mean: Played with in Ragweed. The villainess and The Dragon are cats with an agenda of destroying all mice, but when they try to recruit followers the rest of the city's cats aren't interested in joining them.
Cool Old Guy: Ereth, once one gets over his abrasive mannerisms. Poppy eventually becomes one as she ages.
Dark Secret: Mr. Ocax is afraid of porcupines and the fake owl at New House. He lies to the mice about porcupines being bloodthirsty predators and stops them from moving to New House to prevent them from finding this out (and thus discovering ways to protect themselves from him).
Meaningful Name: Almost everyone. The forest mice tend to be named after plants that symbolize their personalities while the city mice are named after car parts. Several characters (notably Ereth) have names derived directly from their species' scientific names.
The Mole: Silversides forces Blinker to be one. Naturally, he isn't comfortable with it and does a Heel-Face Turn later.
Predators Are Mean: Other than the beavers, all the antagonists are predators of the main characters. Interestingly though, said antagonists tend to have other personal reasons for harming the heroes besides just hunger.
Satellite Love Interest: Played straight and subverted with Rye. It's played straight in that his very first appearance is in the last chapter of Poppy, where he's introduced in only the final few pages as Poppy's husband and the father of her children, with nothing known about him beyond that, but it's subverted in Poppy and Rye, where he gets a personality and backstory.
The Worf Effect: After doing the Big Damn Hero part in the previous two books he appeared in and generally being an irritable grump who does whatever and goes wherever he wants, Ereth is stalked and attacked by a fisher, the one predator that knows how to reliably hunt porcupines, in his own Day in the Limelight.
Would Hit a Girl: Mr. Ocax has no qualms with trying to kill Poppy. Nor does Bounder. Which is to be expected, as they are predators and food is food regardless of what gender it is.
alternative title(s): Tales From Dimwood Forest; The Poppy Stories; The Poppy Stories; Poppy; Poppy; Ragweed; Ragweed; Poppy And Rye; Poppy And Rye; Ereths Birthday; Ereths Birthday; Poppys Return; Poppys Return; Poppy And Ereth; Poppy And Ereth