Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery

bunnicula cover art review james howe
8.5 Overall Score

Fun Halloween book

Frustrating that no one believes Chester

Book Info

Book Title:  Bunnicula:  A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery

Publisher:  Atheneum Books

Writer:  James Howe/Deborah Howe

Illustrations:  Alan Daniel

Release Date:  April 1979

bunnicula cover art reviewWhen the Monroes find a small bundle at the theater, they discover it is a baby rabbit.  Named Bunnicula due to the fact they were seeing Dracula, the Monroes bring Bunnicula home.  While their dog Harry takes a liking to Bunnicula, their cat Chester suspects something is wrong with Bunnicula.  When the Monroe’s vegetables begin to appear drained of juice, Chester suspects Bunnicula is a vampire…and the Monroes might be his first step on the path to world domination!

Written by Deborah and James Howe, Bunnicula:  A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery is a children’s horror parody with illustrations by Alan Daniel.  Deborah Howe died of cancer before the book’s release.  The book was well received by critics and became a children’s classic over the years.  The story was adapted in 1982 for the ABC Weekend Special and a 2016 series was released on Boomerang.

I was first introduced to Bunnicula in the ABC Weekend Special.  I later picked up both Bunnicula and its sequel at a fall book sale as a kid.  Though I did love and read Bunnicula multiple times, I had a harder time getting into the sequels.

bunnicula cover art james howeBunnicula is a fun story that all the elements that kids like.  It has dogs, cats, rabbits…and as in most kids’ novels, the animals are smarter than the adults around them.  Even as a kid, this was a little frustrating for me.  While it is plainly obvious that Bunnicula is a vegetable drinking vampire, no one seems to see it except Chester who is treated like a madman…it really bothered me that he was right and no one would listen.

As a kid, I also liked the illustrations for the novel.  They were pretty simplistic and black-and-white but as a kid, you always yearned for a picture or two to break-up the story.  Plus, it always gets you reading forward to get to the illustrations.

Bunnicula was a fun short novel for kids and perfect for an October read when you were growing up.  I remember (pre-internet) thinking that James Howe and Deborah Howe must have gotten a divorce between Bunnicula and the sequel and it was years before I knew that Deborah Howe never even got to see her book become a success…it is a bit tragic, but the book’s endearing success does provide a legacy.  Bunnicula:  A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery was followed by Howliday Inn in 1982.

Related Links:

Howliday Inn

The Celery Stalks at Midnight

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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