Perhaps not as well known in England, Avi is an American author who was born on 23rd December, 1937. Author of many children's books, he is best known for 'Crispin: the Cross of Lead' and the Dimwood Chronicles.
The Dimwood Chronicles start with my favourite in the series- 'Poppy' (Simon and Schuster ISBN: 978-0689837180). Poppy is a deer mouse who lives on the edge of the Dimwood Forest. The forest is ruled over by Mr Ocax, a great horned owl who is very partial to mice for his dinner...
Good stories for year 4/5 children, these books are very well written and offer much to enjoy as a story or to use for further work. The opening lines of 'Poppy' are a good example of the quality of language used:
A thin crescent moon, high in the sky, shed faint white light over Dimwood Forest. Stars glowed. Breezes full of ripe summer fragrance floated over nearby meadow and hill. Dimwood itself, veiled in darkness, lay utterly still.
With 'Ragweed' as a prequel to the series, there are four further adventures involving Poppy.
'Crispin: The Cross of Lead' (Simon and Schuster ISBN: 978-0689837746) is a very different read.
Aimed at older children, this book is set in England in 1377 and is a pacey adventure story. Appealing characters and historical details help to make this a compelling and satisfying read.
This book won the Newbery Medal in 2003 and is followed by two further stories about Crispin.
You can find out more about Avi on his website: http://www.avi-writer.com/index.html
Teaching notes are available for many of his books.