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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Beware the Vampire Bunny

If I got my love of reading from my father than I most certainly got my love of children's books from my mother.  As a grade school teacher (and for a time librarian) she always knew the best books to read.  From picture books by Bill Peet to chapter books like Superfudge  she always knew funniest books to read.  There wasn't always a lot of money or toys or TV at our house but there were always books.  Lots and lots of books. 

One of the most beloved books in our house growing up was Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by Deborah and James Howe.  It is a hilarious tale about what happens to a normal, everyday family when they rescue a young bunny.  Discovered on a seat in a movie theater during a screening of Dracula, the young bunny may or may not be a vampire.  The Monroe Family seems oblivious to this possibility.  Fortunately for them their cat Chester is on the case.  Clever, well-read Chester will stop at nothing to protect his family from the dangers of one tiny bunny.  Told from the delightful point-of-view of Harold, the family dog (whom some may call a mongrel despite some pretty fancy bloodlines) and Chester's companion, this book will make you laugh out loud again and again. 

Recently I recommended this to a little girl who told me that it was too scary.  I was a little surprised but then realized I hadn't read it since I was a kid myself.  So I came home and dug up my old copy.  I reread Bunnicula curled up in one corner of the couch.  My seven-year-old son was curled into the opposite corner reading The Fenway Foul-Up (Ballpark Mysteries #1). As much as he was enjoying his book he was very distracted.  Every few minutes I'd laugh or giggle and he'd look up and demand to know what was so funny.   I didn't tell him because five pages in I knew it is going to the top his stack of books to read.  As I remembered, Bunnicula isn't scary. It is playful and witty.  It's a fantastic book to share with kids who love mysteries or animals.  It's perfect for both boys and girls.  It is also offers a great lesson in point-of view.  The suggested age is 8 to 12 years of age but younger readers with strong skills should do fine. I'm pretty sure I'm proof that older readers (and rereaders) will enjoy it as well.

James Howe wrote Bunnicula with his wife, Deborah.  It was originally published in 1979.  She passed away shortly after it's publication.  James Howe went on to write six other Bunnicula books as well as many other award winning books for children.  So if you love Bunnicula (and Harold and Chester and The Monroes) as much as I think you will be sure to check out his other titles. 

Just as a side note I am compelled to tell you that my two brothers and I loved this book so much that my parents bought us a bunny.  We of course named him Bunnicula. 


  1. i loved this book. when i was in elementary school, there weren't as many books that featured animals as the main character (that i could find) so when i found this series i was over the moon with it.

    and yes, at that age, i did find parts of it to be creepy. but it's not to where it's "scary".

  2. I agree. I think it was the word "vampire" that turned her off... kind of funny when you think about the success of paranormal romances in recent years! Maybe we will see a backlash with the next generation of readers.

  3. AHHHH BUNNICULA!!! ONE OF MY absolute faves!