Mr. and Mrs. Bunny--Detectives Extraordinaire by Polly Horvath
Nov 28, 2012
One evening when I went to the library alone (a semi-rare occasion, and one that I relish every time), I was perusing the children's audio book section when I happened upon Mr. and Mrs. Bunny. The title alone would have probably been enough to make me pull it off the shelf for a closer look, but I had also read several things about it and was therefore even more curious. I was just about to check it out when I thought, Wait. Maybe this would be a great one to read aloud to Aaron. I put it back on the shelf. And turned to go. And then I thought, Actually, since I really don't know what age it's geared for, I should probably read it first. I picked it back up. And then I thought, But it's about bunnies. Of course, it would be appropriate for a four-year-old! He will want to hear it! I put it back down. Finally I thought, If I like it well enough the first time, then it will be a pleasure to read it a second. And with that, I thrust it into my library bag without giving myself another chance to change my mind. (If I'm this indecisive about children's books, is it any wonder I'm terrified about buying a house someday?! And Mike does not make definite decisions any better. We're doomed.)
As it turned out, despite the adorable bunnies on the cover, Aaron would most definitely not have understood much about this book, especially the hippie, irresponsible parents (who may or may not be a little high on drugs). So I'm glad I didn't dive into it with him. But I am glad I read it myself. I maybe laughed my head off in a few places.
Madeline is a young girl with ridiculous parents. How ridiculous? They insist on being called Flo and Mildred (not Dad and Mom), they don't keep track of anything (addresses, appointments, etc.), and they would rather spend their time making paper lanterns than working a real job (or paying attention to Madeline). In fact, they're so ridiculous, they end up being kidnapped by a group of power-hungry, and also just plain stomach-hungry, foxes. Madeline knows her parents will never be able to save themselves, so she tackles the problem herself. Fortunately, she runs into Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, who, even more fortunately, have just purchased fedoras and decided to become detectives. Madeline hires them on the spot, and the three put their heads together to find the diabolical foxes.
Okay, so if you want a taste for what this book is like, just picture a rabbit in purple platform shoes and a fedora driving a smart car. (He has to wear the platform shoes in order to reach the pedals.) I wish I had a hard copy of the book, so I could quote a few passages for you, but what I just described actually captures the flavor of the book really well.
So, yes, it is uproariously funny, but not in a way that a four-year-old would get at all. In fact, I'm trying to think which age would enjoy it the most. Maybe 9-12 year-olds? (I think that's who it's written for at any rate.) That is, if they don't feel too self-conscious reading a book with bunnies (in fedoras) on the cover. But I don't know. In all honesty, it was pretty down-right enjoyable as an adult.
The audio is narrated by Polly Horvath. I always love it when authors narrate their own books, and this one was no exception. I especially loved the voices she used for Flo and Mildred. They were so perfect and seriously made me laugh every time.
All in all, this is a fun book, and it makes me want to read some more by Polly Horvath.
Note: This book is also my third potential-Newbery read of the year. I wanted to read at least three before the award is announced in January. Of the three I've read, I think Wonder has the most likely chance, but there are still several more contenders I hope to have time for.