I first met Chester and Harold as a kid and fell in love with them. If you haven’t encountered these two yet, let me introduce you. Chester is a highly educated cat with a vivid imagination. One of his delights is to listen to his owner, a college English professor, practice class lectures. He’s widely read, and especially favors Edgar Allen Poe. Harold isn’t quite as intellectual as Chester, but he does have a good deal more common sense. He’s also the one who wrote and delivered the first manuscript of this story. Mr. Howe confesses to being only the publisher.
In this first installment of Chester and Harold’s adventures, a baby bunny comes to live with the Monroe family But he’s found at a Dracula movie, he has strange markings and oddly pointed teeth, and the note found in his basket is an obscure dialect of the Carpathian mountain region (fortunately, Harold is familiar with the language due to his varied ancestry), which is to say, Transylvania. When a variety of vegetables show up with tiny teeth marks and all juice and color drained from them, Chester puts two and two together and turns to his copy of The Mark of the Vampire. The lengths he goes to to protect his family from this imagined threat nearly get him tossed out of the house and left my boys and I howling with laughter!
Bunnicula is a short read, coming in at only 98 pages, but they’re full of fun and wit. I’d estimate a third-grade independent reading level and an easy first grade listening level. The cadence, the dialogue, and the outrageous antics of our two heroes make this a superb read aloud. No matter your age, I highly encourage you to pick this one up!!
James Howe has written several related stories. They haven’t received the same acclaim as Bunnicula, but I own Howliday Inn, and I love it almost as much. I have not read the others, but I’ll be reviewing some of them soon.