Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire!

British Columbia boasts a plethora of amazing authors, and Polly Horvath is one of them.  She has written fourteen books, including Everything on a WaffleOne Year in Coal Harbor, and the focus of this post, Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire!  Horvath has won numerous awards, including the Newbury Honor, the National Book Award, and the Toronto-Dominion Children’s Literature Award.  I encourage you to check out her website, http://www.pollyhorvath.com/ for more information.

mr-and-mrs-bunny

“Dear Madeline,

We have taken your parents in for questioning.  If they do not tell us where the decoder, aka Uncle Runyon, lives, foul things await them.  Beware, if they do not talk, you will be next.  We will be in touch.  Do not go to the police or we cannot answer for our actions.  But let me give you one clue!  Finger food!  Mwa-haha.

Cordially yours,
The Enemy”

Excerpt from Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, page 36

Poor Madeline, the practical heroine of this novel, finds this note shortly after her hippie parents, Flo and Mildred, have been kidnapped by evil foxes.  The foxes, led by the nefarious Grand Poobah, have terribly mistaken Flo and Mildred’s levels of intelligence, and it is up to Madeline to rescue them before it is too late.  What follows is a wonderfully silly romp across Hornby Island and Vancouver Island as Madeline searches for her parents.  Unfortunately, Uncle Runyon has slipped into a restful vacation coma, and cannot help Madeline, so the enterprising young girl turns to a couple of rabbit detectives.

The book is, in fact, originally written in Rabbit, as Mrs. Bunny is the true recorder of the adventures.  Unable to stick to a hobby, the kind Mrs. Rabbit flits from one to another, and has just chosen detecting, and bought the right sort of detective’s hat, when she and Mr. Rabbit stumble on Madeline and offer their services.  In this way, Madeline teams up with two talking bunnies to find her parents, encountering a crazed marmot, SWAT rabbits, and a team of terrible foxes on the way.

Although incredibly silly and sometimes nonsensical, Mr. and Mrs. Bunny is also sweetly charming.  Madeline, who has basically raised herself and kept the family afloat with her part-time job, even though she is only in fifth-grade, finally experiences what it is like to have two semi-responsible adults caring for her.  While none of the human adults—except, perhaps, Prince Charles—have too much sense, the silly Bunnies more than make up for it!

I purchased this book for a paper I was writing on talking animals in children’s literature, and it nicely displaces, or at least pokes fun at, some of the stereotypical talking animal modes.  I highly recommend giving Mr. and Mrs. Bunny a try, and readers familiar with the Island and the sometimes “hippie” West Coast culture will get an extra kick out of Flo and Mildred.  Plus, any young heroine who has read Pride and Prejudice twice is worth rooting for!

Also, check out the sequel, Lord and Lady Bunny – Almost Royalty, coming out on February 11th of this year.