is a complete bibliography of the works of Avi from 1990 to present.
Avi. 1999. Abigail Takes the Wheel.
Illustrated by Don Bolognese. New
York: Harper Collins.
Avi. 1994. The Barn. New
York: Orchard Books
Avi. 1994. The Bird, the Frog, and the
Light: a Fable. Illustrated by Matthew Henry. New York: Orchard Books.
Avi. 1992. Blue Heron. New
York: Bradbury Press.
Avi. 1994. Bright Shadow.
New York: Aladdin Books.
Avi. 2000. The Christmas Rat.
New York: Simon & Schuster.
Avi. 1993. City of Light
/ City of Dark. Illustrated by Brian Floca. New
York: Orchard Books.
Avi. 2002. Crispin: The Cross of Lead.
New York: Hyperion Books For Children.
Avi. 2001. Don’t You Know There’s
A War On?. New York: Harper Collins.
Avi. 1992. Emily Upham’s
Revenge: A Massachusetts Adventure. Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. New York:
Morrow Junior Books.
Avi. 1994. Encounter at Easton.
New York: Beech Tree Books.
Avi. 2004. The End of the Beginning:
Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant). Illustrated by Tricia Tusa. Orlando,
Avi. 2000. Ereth’s Birthday.
Illustrated by Brian Floca. New York: Harper Collins.
Avi. 1996. The Escape From Home.
New York: Orchard Books.
Avi. 1997. Finding Providence:
the Story of Roger Williams. Illustrated by James Watling. New York: Harper
Avi. 2001. The Good Dog. New
York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Avi. 1995. The History of Helpless Harry:
to Which is Addes a Variety of Amusing and Entertaining Adventures. Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. New
York: Beech Tree Books.
Avi. 1996. Lord Kirkle’s Money.
New York: Orchard Books.
The Mayor of Central Park. Illustrated by Brian Floca. New York:
Magic. New York: Scholastic Press.
Avi. 1994. Night Journeys. New
York: Beech Tree Books.
Avi. 2003. Nothing But the Truth: A
Documentary Novel. New York: Orchard Books.
Avi. 1998. Perloo the Bold. New
York: Scholastic Press.
Avi. 1998. Poppy and Rye.
Illustrated by Brian Floca. New York: Avon Books.
Avi. 1995. Poppy. Illustrated by
Brian Floca. New York: Orchard Books.
Avi. 2001. PrairieSchool. Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. New York:
Avi. 1993. Punch with Judy. Illustrated
by Emily Lisker. New York: Bradbury Press.
Avi. 1999. Ragweed. Illustrated
by Brian Floca. New York: Avon Books.
Avi. 2001. The SecretSchool. San Diego: Harcourt.
Avi. 2003. Silent Movie. Illustrated
by C.B. Mordan. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Avi. 2002. Things That Sometimes Happen.
Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Avi. 1995. Tom, Babette &
Simon: Three Tales of Transformation. Illustrated by Alexi Natchev. New York:
Macmillan Books for Young Readers.
Avi. 2003. The True Confessions of Charlotte
Doyle. Illustrated by Ruth E. Murray. New York: Orchard Books.
Avi. 1997. What Do Fish Have to Do With
Anything?: and Other Stories. Illustrated by Tracy Mitchell. Cambridge, Mass.:
Avi. 1992. Who Was That Masked Man,
Anyway?. New York: Orchard Books.
Avi. 1991. Windcatcher. New
York: Maxwell Macmillan International Pub.
Avi. 1993. Wolf Rider: a Tale
of Terror. New York: Collier Books.
The two books that were written by Avi
that I am basing this analysis on are: Who Was That Masked Man Anyway? and The Christmas Rat.Both of these books are written for an audience of fourth through seventh grade reading levels.
Who Was That Masked Man Anyway?
is set in New York during World War II.In this humorous story, Franklin D. Wattleson, a radio program enthusiast creates his own adventures with his trusty
(if not quite as enthusiastic) sidekick Mario.Franklin
(a.k.a. “Chet Barker, master spy”) manages to get himself into more trouble than one would think is possible as
his overactive imagination causes him to carry out his plots of getting rid of the “evil scientist”(medical student)
that is renting his brother’s room upstairs and marrying off his brother to his sixth-grade teacher.Wackiness ensues as Franklin performs his capers with constant
self-narration as any self-respecting radio program would.Complete with cereal
ads and all.
This book is appealing because of
its fast pace and wonderful imagination.It is easy to get caught up into the
adventures that Franklin and Mario are having while having the birds eye view of what is really taking place makes the story
even more enjoyable.Children are not the only ones who will enjoy this story,
Publisher’s Weekly points out in its review of this book that, “Nostalgia
buffs in particular will be drawn to this book, which contains segments of old-time radio serials and commercials. Besides
providing much hilarity, this ingeniously structured montage of broadcasts, fantasies and conversations exposes many ironies
of heroism and war.”Although not a major part of the story, when Franklin’s older brother Tom finally shares with him what
the war was really like, the moment holds a certain weight that is felt during the reading.
The Christmas Rat is also
set in New York City and is the story of Eric, who having just gotten out of school
for Christmas vacation finds himself with nothing to do.All of his friends are
either out of town or sick, and the world outside is frozen solid, Eric quickly tires of watching T.V. and playing computer
games.When he is enlisted in a “war on vermin” by the mysterious
exterminator “Anje” the real excitement begins.Eric becomes uncomfortable
with the idea of killing a living creature, “It is Christmas time after all”.However, Anje takes his desertion very seriously.It becomes a battle
to the finish, with Christmas being the deadline to see if the rat that Eric found will live or die.This story provides an interesting if not completely clear commentary of the value of life.Carolyn Phelan of Booklist touches on the ambiguity of the theme in this book in her review.She says; “Readers can develop their own theories about
Anje, but most will remain confused about whether he is indeed the Angel Gabriel (an appended note briefly discusses Gabriel's
presence in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions), or a fantastic but unholy apparition, or a figment of Eric's imagination.
Each answer leaves unexplained questions.”While this story may not answer
any existential questions, it is a satisfying suspenseful story.
Based on these two examples of Avi’s
work it is safe to say that he is a very versatile writer who does not conform to any particular style of writing.Who Was That Masked Man Anyway? is written in almost complete dialogue and at a very quick pace.On the other hand, The Christmas Rat is almost completely narrated by the main
character.If not for the name on the front of the book then one would never
guess that these two books were written by the same author.
While these books are very different,
they do share one thing other than the author in common, a more serious message that is briefly touched on at the end and
in both cases, it is left up to the reader to decide what they think about it.In
Who Was That Masked Man Anyway? the issue is war and how it is not as glamorous as it is portrayed by movies and radio.In The Christmas Rat, the value of life is touched on as well as planting the
thought of what is and is not acceptable to do in the name of boredom.While
these are not consistent themes throughout the books, they do leave an impression on the reader because of the way they are
Avi shows his versatility for writing
through the many different styles and approaches that he has used.His work can
be categorized using the following labels; Early Reader, Young Adult, Biocritical Study, Biography, Short Stories, Historical,
Comedy, Mystery, Fantasy, Adventure, Ghost Stories, Animal Tales and Picture Books.Very few contemporary authors can claim such a varied body of work, Avi, however has accomplished this feat and continues
to produce critically acclaimed books for children and young adults.
Avi’s life has most certainly
influenced his work and that is reflected in his writing.For instance, setting,
during an open question forum that I attended recently for this author, he stated that he tends to write books set in places
he is personally familiar with.For example, the Forrest in the Poppy series
(although not implicitly named) is a forest in Colorado where Avi currently
resides.New York is also a prominent
setting for his books which shows the influence of growing up in Brooklyn.
Growing up in the World War II era also
has had an impact on Avi’s work.In the books Don’t
You Know There’s A War On? and Who Was That Masked Man Anyway?,
both take place during this period in our history which is surely a result of the impact that this time had on him personally.The radio also must have been a large influence in Avi’s life since it plays
such a central role in Who Was That Masked Man Anyway?.
Overall critics seem to like Avi’s
work.Carol Hurst describes him as “an amazingly prolific and versatile
writer.”The one consistent criticism I have come across is that there
is not always a neat ending.The story is not always wrapped up in a way in which
all of the questions that are raised get answered.Perhaps this is his way of
getting the reader to make decisions about the characters and the story themselves.Regardless of this criticism, Avi remains a celebrated contemporary author for children’s literature.He has received over 90 awards for his books including the Newberry Medal for Crispin and Newberry
Honor Book Award for The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.