James Howe is the author of more than ninety books for young readers. Bunnicula, coauthored by his late wife Deborah and published in 1979, is considered a modern classic of children's literature. The author has written six highly popular sequels, along with the spinoff series Tales from the House of Bunnicula and Bunnicula and Friends. Among his other books are picture books such as Horace and Morris but Mostly Dolores and beginning reader series that include the Pinky and Rex and Houndsley and Catina books. He has also written for older readers. The Misfits, published in 2001, inspired the antibullying initiative No Name-Calling Week, as well as three sequels, Totally Joe, Addie on the Inside, and Also Known as Elvis. A common theme in James Howe's books from preschool through teens is the acceptance of difference and being true to oneself. Visit him online at JamesHowe.com.
C. F. Payne has illustrated more than a dozen picture books, including the New York Times bestselling Mousetronaut by astronaut Mark Kelly, the Texas Bluebonnet winner Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy, written by Phil Bildner, and the New York Times bestsellers The Remarkable Farkle McBride and Micawber, both by John Lithgow. He teaches at the Columbus College of Design, where he is the chair of the Illustration Department. Payne lives with his wife and children in Cincinnati, Ohio. Visit him online at CFPayne.com.
Gr 3-4-The vampire bunny takes center stage once again. Like the previous books, this one is told by the Monroe family's dog Harold, who tells of strange events involving the household pets. His tale begins with a sense of almost Gothic doom-could it be the beginning of the end of a seemingly ill Bunnicula? It takes the combined efforts of Harold, Chester the cat, and Howie the pup to figure out what is ailing him, and the help of two cats, Felony and Miss Demeanor, whom they had met while being boarded at Chateau Bow-Wow, to bring the events to conclusion. Harold's dog's-eye perspective provides an excellent view of Chester's plans first to do Bunnicula in because he's convinced that the rabbit is dangerous, and then to save him. Howe develops distinct personalities for the animals as well as for the humans. The cover art seems to promise a creepy, scary story; despite this initial indicator of a dark road ahead, the story itself circles around universal sweet dreams-to be safe, to belong, and to have a pet curled up beside you.-Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 2-4-Bunnicula, the Vampire Bunny, returns with his friendsÄHarold and Howie (dogs) and Chester (cat)Äand family (Toby, Pete, and Mr. and Mrs. Monroe). Harold tells the story in the first person. Chester, the cat, feels that Bunnicula is up to his old evil ways of draining the juice from all the vegetables. The Monroe family is involved in trying to save the old theater, where they found Bunnicula, from demolition. As the tale unwinds, Harold suspects that the listless and tired Bunnicula misses his mother. When Bunnicula and Chester escape from the veterinarian's office, they end up in the movie theater on the day it is to be demolished. Harold and Howie rush in to save them. This exciting tale explores the concepts of fantasy and reality, family relationships, animal characteristics, and friendships. Reading Bunnicula first will help youngsters better understand this episode. References to the animals reading books also provide exciting literary comparisons to encourage children to read. Noted actor Victor Garber reads the story with feeling, expression, and clarity. On rare occasions he replaces a word used in the original story with another word. Technical quality is very good. Both individual and group use is appropriate.-Ann Elders, Mark Twain Elementary School, Federal Way, WA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
The Monroe animals prove themselves up to scratch in this sublimely silly Bunnicula caper (following Return to Howliday Inn). Newcomers will quickly catch on to the series' premise: Chester the cat has persuaded Harold, the mutt narrator cum author, and Howie, the dachshund puppy, that the Monroe boys' pet rabbit is really a vampire-just look at the way he drains vegetables of their juices. As this installment begins, Harold believes the household safe, and so he is unnerved by Chester's cryptic comment, "Let's just say the matter is under control.... At last." As usual with the Bunnicula books, the plot is less important than Howe's contagious amusement in telling his story. The tone drolly combines high diction and animal nature (e.g., in a note to "his" editor, Harold muses, "Odd, that I, whose greatest ambition has always been the uninterrupted nap, should... find himself the semi-famous author of several books!"). The slyly observed dynamics of the cast act as a foil to the cheerfully loopy conceit. For example, the animals watch as the Monroe brothers fight: "Pete retorted with a backhanded insult. Toby lobbed a high string of colorful adjectives capped by a perfectly executed oxymoron.... `And the match goes to Toby,' Chester commented. `Nice wordplay.'" Howe's wordplay is better than nice, and the match goes to him-and to his readers. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
A madcap tale with clever character twists and plots going hilariously awry. -- Kirkus Reviews