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Ereth's Birthday (The Poppy Stories)
ISBN 0380977346 / 9780380977345 / 0-380-97734-6
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"Helping others!" Ereth the porcupine snarls viciously. "Being good! It's all broccoli bunk and tick toffee."
On a birthday that he suspects everyone has forgotten, the last thing this grumpy old porcupine wants is to get involved in a sticky fox family predicament. But just as he's about to take a mouthful of his favorite treat, salt, he hears a weak voice calling for help, and his conscience trumps his desire. Soon he's embroiled in his worst nightmare: leaving his comfortable home to act as caretaker of three energetic, chatty, newly motherless fox kits. His longing for his stinky log home next door to his best friend, Poppy the mouse, lessens somewhat as he gets down to the business of keeping the young foxes fed and safe. Meanwhile, another four-legged hunter has his eye on Ereth, and the fox kits' father is nowhere to be found.
Avi has struck gold again with the latest addition the Dimwood Forest series. Hard life lessons and hilarious gems from Ereth's prickly lips ("fish feather fruitcakes!" "puckered peacocks!") mesh to create an entirely engaging story. Fans of Poppy, Poppy and Rye, and Avi's other highly entertaining titles will welcome the chance to meet up with their old furry and spiky friends again. (Ages 8 to 12) --Emilie Coulter [via]