Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire!

Lynn: OK – stay with me here.  Mr. and Mrs.  Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire! (Random 2012)  starts when young human Madeleine wins three prizes at school and yearns to go to graduation because Prince Charles is going to hand out the prizes but she needs white shoes.  Meanwhile Mr. and Mrs. Bunny decide to buy a new hutch and to become detectives – because detectives wear fedoras and Mrs. Bunny would look completely fetching in a white fedora.   Then Madeline’s clueless hippy parents are kidnapped by foxes, and Madeline goes to her Uncle Runyon for help but he has succumbed to a coma because comas are SO refreshing so she turns to Mr. and Mrs. Bunny for help.  Clear so far?  Throw in The Marmot who will do anything for garlic bread, encrypted recipes, hat clubs, evil foxy schemes and that is just the beginning of this laugh-out loud quirky romp – er hop.

Strangely, this book seems like quintessential Polly Horvath writing but the author is actually Mrs. Bunny and Horvath is in a new role, translating the original Rabbit into English.  Don’t you just love it when people take on new challenges?  Would a book translated from the Rabbit qualify for the Batchhelder?

The focus group and I started reading this one together and so far they are loving it and I am laughing even harder the second time through.  Hop down to your nearest bookstore and add this hare-raising adventure to your reading pile!

Cindy: Bookends readers, I fear Lynn has gotten into the catnip again. But wait, anything with Polly Horvath’s name attached is bound to be, well, charmingly strange. I still remember the giggles from an 8th grade boy years ago who found The Canning Season the perfect trigger for his funny bone. “It’s so…..odd,” he would say and then dissolve into a gale of giggles at our book club meetings.  But I digress…

I’m comforted to hear that the focus group is enjoying this…but are they liking the book, or just the sounds of Nana Rutan’s giggles as she reads? I do think that this book will fare best as a read aloud. Take the example that Uncle doesn’t think much of Madeline’s reading history as a help to her predicament. Pride and Prejudice, why “no one gets kidnapped in Pride and Prejudice. No help for you there.”

Oh, no doubt you’ve learned how to negotiate hunky men who ignore their dates, but for practical advice I think we need a writer like…hmmmm, Lee Child, perhaps. Now, he could instruct you that as soon as the kidnappers figure out Flo and Mildred can’t help them, that’s it for the poor dears. Kidnappers rarely keep the victims around. You can’t blame them, really. All our houses are so uselessly cluttered, even without a bunch of bodies in the basement.

If some of the jokes go over the heads of the youngest readers who pick up a book with cute bunnies on the cover, they will land solidly with the adults reading aloud. How do we find out where The Marmot lives?

“We thought all children knew how to find things,” said Mr. Bunny.

“Google,” said Mrs. Bunny.

“I didn’t know you could Google marmots,” said Madeline.

“You can Google anything, dear,” said Mrs. Bunny patronizingly.

I stopped trying to figure out who this book was for when I hit page 177 and sucked in my breath as Madeline comes to the realization that she is tired of being the responsible one, of being more adult than the adults in her life. She has grown accustomed to the attentive care of Mr. & Mrs. Bunny. She wants to be a child. The absurd delights in this story are wrapped around truths we would be wise to embrace. Although, I think first I’m going to partake in a refreshing coma for a few more days. It’s easier to be in a coma than to face some truths. Don’t you agree?

P.S. Polly Horvath, do call when tea is served. I would love to chat with you.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

1 Comment on "Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire!"

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  1.' Kristin says:

    I read this in galley form and loved all of its gentle kookiness (Spaghetti Warehouse breadsticks!). Glad to see you featuring it here.

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