Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner

mystery-month-2014Cindy: No one hung a basket of flowers on my doorknob today, but I’m still celebrating May 1st because it ushers in Booklist’s Mystery Month festivities. If you are a mystery fan, make sure you are following the #mysterymonth hash tag and keeping an eye on the Booklist Blogs this month. We’ll be posting about some new and favorite mysteries and will sleuth out some other valuable treats for you. Lynn is kicking things off with a mystery that launches a delightful new series for elementary students.

Looking for a magical mystery?  Operation Bunny (Henry Holt 2014) is just what the librarian ordered.  Ronald Dashwood wants to give his Smoochikins everything her heart desires so they adopt a baby abandoned in an airport.  Since the Dashwoods outshine even Roald Dahl’s Wormwoods as self-absorbed horrible parents, this turns out to be a disaster.  When Daisy has triplets she wants to send Emily back – if she can just find the receipt!  Then she gets the brilliant idea of turning young Emily into an unpaid  housekeeper/nanny.  Emily’s only pleasure comes in visiting the “old bat” next door, Miss String and her 6 foot talking cat, Fidget.  Miss String teaches Emily to read and gives her lessons, love and stories of magic.  Of course the magic is real and Emily discovers that she is the Keeper of the Keys with a critical role to play in finding fairy wings that have gone missing.  The keys open the door to a magical shop, Wings & Co.,  but Emily has to get there before the evil witch Harpella.  The fairy detectives are on the case and Harpella, turning innocent people into pink bunnies wherever she goes, is one dangerous step ahead.

This charming romp is sheer fun from first to last; clever fun for young readers who like their stories with a bit of Roald Dahl snark and a lot of heart.  A quick fast read, this wacky story would be a perfect classroom read aloud.

Cindy:  Lynn is a great public library detective. She is clued in to the new book shelf in the children’s department and ferrets out the best gems for our blog. Gardner’s new series will be a great addition to the elementary mystery shelves and will delight good readers with its sophisticated humor. And Lynn is right about the Roald Dahl feel to this one. Even Rowling’s Dursleys are looking downright nurturing compared to Gardner’s Dashwoods. And let’s not forget to mention David Roberts’ wonderful pencil illustrations–they add to the charm, matching the quirkiness of the text. Get a clue….read this book!



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.

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