Saturday, September 03, 2022

Bunnicula: The Graphic Novel

Howe, James, Donkin, Andrew and Gilpin, Stephen (Illus.)
Bunnicula: The Graphic Novel.
August 30th 2022 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus
A mysterious manuscript is dropped off and details the goings on in the Monroe household after the family brings home a bunny rabbit from a theater where Dracula was showing. Chester enjoys a comfortable life with the family, that includes eight year old Toby and ten year old Pete. He gets along well with Chester, a cat who likes to read classic literature, and has a good life. He isn't too concerned about the addition of a rabbit to the family, but when vegetables start to have their color drained out of them, Chester panics and is sure that the rabbit, whom they have named Bunnicula because of the movie, is a vampire. Harold is again not concerned; what difference does it make if the rabbit drains some vegetables? Chester, however, takes action, including blanketing the living area with garlic gloves, which earns him a bath! When the new animal starts to look droopy and ill, Harold steps in to find out what it wrong. It's Chester, of course, who is starving the poor bunny. After a trip to the vet, Bunnicula is put on a diet of vegetable juice, which keeps him healthy are assuages Chester a little bit. Harold and Bunnicula become fast friends, and all ends in a cozy snuggle. 
Strengths: This was a charming retelling of Howe's classic tale, and it was sweet that it was dedicated to Deborah Howe; I wasn't aware that she had passed away before the book was published in 1979. There was s slight vintage feeling to the illustrations, and an overall cozy feel. I loved Harold, who is very stoic and contented, and Chester is the perfect foil. It reminded me a bit of the comic strip Get Fuzzy, although Howard is a bit more erudite than Bucky. Fuzzy and Chester would be an upstoppable force of idiocy if they were together! We don't see much of Bunnicula, but this works well since there is mystery surrounding him. I can see why this title is a favorite of many people. There are seven books in the original series. 
Weaknesses: While I personally loved the book, I just don't know if I have readers for it. 
What I really think: I'm usually not a fan of graphic novel adaptations of older titles; not only are my students usually not interested in, say Anne of Green Gables (disclaimer: that was my obession in middle school) but the books older than ten years are often problematic. (Looking specifically at the collected works of Roald Dahl here, which they keep making into movies that then offend people. Think this through, people! Wrong on So. Many. Levels.) I did personally enjoy Tom's Midnight Garden, but it hasn't circulated well. I would definitely purchase this for an elementary collection, and may buy it for my middle school. I still have prebinds of the original series which haven't been checked out for a long time, and even a copy of the graphic novel The Amazing Odorous Adventures of Stinky Dog (2004, 2013). I didn't know I had the latter, and it's never circulated, so I'll have to consider this. 
 Ms. Yingling

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