Back in the ’90s when I was elementary school, I went through a vampire stage at one point around the fifth grade or so. One of the books I discovered during this time was the beloved modern day children’s classic Bunnicula. It was a fun story about a family who finds an abandoned bunny at a showing of Dracula and brings it home, naming it Bunnicula in tribute to the movie. As Harold (family dog and narrator) and Chester (the paranoid family cat who could probably sympathize with Fox Mulder) discover, there’s some strangeness surrounding the new family pet. Chester outright insists that Bunnicula is actually a vampire bunny, but Howard is much less concerned. The tale is meant to be more funny than scary, and really about how the family learns to adjust to this new addition of the family.
A and I both received copies of the Bunnicula 40th Anniversary Edition in exchange for a review. I loved seeing the introduction from author James Howe on the origins of the beloved vampire bunny. It turns out the story came from a joke between him and his late wife, Deborah (the book is dedicated to her) about what would make the silliest vampire story. It was Deborah who came up with the bunny part and from that silly conversation, Bunnicula sprang to life.
The book itself has a beautiful, soft cloth over with foil accents. It also includes pictures of various editions of the book, Bunnicula on Stage and Television, and pictures drawn by readers. Another fun feature is the messages from Max Brallier (author of Last Kids on Earth, Galactic Hot Dogs, and Erie Elementary), Holly Black (author of The Spiderwick Chronicles), and Dav Pilkey (illustrator for Captain Underpants and Dogman) about their childhood memories of the story. Pilkey even included a special illustration which I am sharing with permission.
Why will the kids of today love Bunnicula as much as children who read it decades ago? To help answer that, A, our second grader, read the book and will give you some insights.
Me: Why did you like the book?
A: Because it was kind of funny because you might think that Chester read too many of the wrong books, but it turned out some of it was correct.
Me: What was your favorite part of the book?
A: The part where Chester got scared by Harold because Harold said there were odd marks on Chester’s tail. It was super funny because Chester believed it because of the books he read.
Me: Which character is your favorite in the story and why?
A: Bunnicula because you don’t know what he’s going to do next and how Chester and Harold will react to it.
Me: What do you think kids will like about the book?
A: They might want to read this because not all vampires suck blood and it’s a really funny book. I don’t think it’s scary because Bunnicula isn’t trying to hurt anybody.
Me: Is there anything else kids should know about this copy?
A: There’s some special pictures of Bunnicula including one from Dav Pilkey, creator of Captain Underpants and Dogman.
Me: Do you want to read the other Bunnicula books?
The Bunnicula 40th Anniversary edition is available for pre-order from most major book retailers at a list price of $10.99 and will release on May 21st, although Barnes & Noble and Amazon currently have it discounted at $8.