by James and Deborah Howe
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
I guess technically this could be a triple review since I did “read” the three books all together! My carpool buddy and I listened to this set in the car as an experiment. When it was over, I asked if she would be interested in another audiobook and she said, “As long as it’s as cute as this one!” The stories are written by Harold, the family dog, who is kind-hearted and funny and just the slightest bit slow on the uptake, allowing the reader the chance to figure things out on their own.
In the first story, Harold narrates the tales of how his family, quite content with him and Chester the cat as pets, come to acquire a rabbit. Chester becomes obsessed with proving that Bunnicula is a vampire who escapes from his cage mysteriously during the night to suck all the juice and color out of the vegetables in the house. In the second story, Harold and Chester are sent off to the Howliday Inn while the family goes away for a vacation. Over the week, mysterious things start happening and Harold and Chester have to figure out who is doing them before they become victims. In the third book, Bunnicula is back and terrorizing the neighborhood and it’s up to the pals to save them!
Through it all, Chester remains steadfastly convinced that Bunnicula is evil, while Harold rather likes the rabbit’s silent company. Yes, Chester reads a lot and is smart, but he’s also very condescending to Harold. Harold puts up with most of it gamely and it doesn’t seem to bother him, yet he also doesn’t treat Bunnicula badly. Chester’s ideas are also sometimes unfounded and he can be stubborn, where Harold is able to see both sides of the story. He seems like the type of friend who will do what his heart tells him, not his bully, and that is a great role model for kids, especially if it’s not shoved down their throats.
One additional note about the audiobook version – it has a brief essay by the author about how he and his wife came to write this book together, and how she passed away of cancer after so he wrote the other two alone. Tugs on the ol’ heartstrings a bit – very sweet.