Michael's Reviews > Bunnicula

Bunnicula by James Howe
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's review
Sep 29, 08

bookshelves: audio-book, read-in-2008
Read in September, 2008

Growing up, this was one of several novels adapted for television in ABC's "Weekend Special." (For those of you who aren't old enough to recall, this was a half-hour anthology series that adapted popular young adult novels for television in the hopes of getting kids interested in reading. Think "Reading Rainbow" for the tween set.)

If you've seen the special (look for it on YouTube for a trip down memory lane), you know the special borrowed the basic concept of the story but added some other bits in an attempt to make it more "exciting" for the television viewing audience, including having Bunnicula's eyes glow when he was in full vampire mode and giving him the ability to fly. Whether or not this is a good thing, I'm not sure, though I can see why the writers or execs felt the need to punch up the story a bit.

Re-reading this now, years later (or more accurately, listening to the superbly read audio adapation of this story), I was struck again by how great, fascinating and intriguing the premise is for the first three quarters of the story, only to be let down by a hasty ending and an almost too neat resolution to the whole thing.

One night at the movies, the Monroe family find a mysterious cardboard box with a rabbit inside. The family brings the rabbit home and decide to adopt him, naming him Bunnicula since Dracula was playing when they found him. The family's other pets, Harold the dog (the narrator for this story) and Chester the cat, welcome the new addition to the family.

Then, mysterious things begin to happen. Vegetables begin to show up, drained and wait. Bunnicula sleeps all day and is only heard to be moving about at night. All of this sets off Chester's suspicions that the rabbit is actually some kind of vampire bunny. Chester takes it upon himself to rid the family of the rabbit before Bunnicula moves on from vegetables.

So far, so good, right?

However, it's in the final chapter or two that things begin to fall apart. Once Chester is caught trying to destroy Bunnicula by the family, things rapidly spiral toward a conclusion. The sense of mystery built up in the early chapters fizzles and the story gives us a rapidly constructed conclusion. I recall being disappointed by it when I read it the first time many years ago and being just as disappointed with it upon reading now.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Kristin (new)

Kristin I've been trying so hard to get my sons to read these books! No takers yet. I thought they would find them hilarious! But no - still stuck on Star Wars and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid!"


Michael I read them growing up and when I saw the audio CD at the library, I decided to take a trip down memory lane. I'm also looking at books for my seven-year-old niece who loves to read, so this is a good review to decide if it might be a good Halloween gift along with the candy. She likes to read and I'm trying to encourage it with good books.


message 3: by Kristin (new)

Kristin That's an awesome idea! Let me know what other books she likes - I'm always open for ideas!


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