Saturday, July 31, 2010

Troll Book Club -or- Finding Bunnicula

When I was in elementary and middle school I would sit at my desk, fidgeting, restlessly waiting for my Troll Book Club (now part of the larger Scholastic Books family) order form to arrive.  This thin, cheaply produced brochure offered me the chance to visit old friends in their continuing stories and to find new friends in the pages of amazing "young adult" books.

Of course, I always (with my mother's permission... and check) got a copy of the newest Garfield book and maybe a sheet of stickers.   I loved these Garfield books.  They were simply reprints of the comic strip but, being under 10, I rarely read the comics in the paper except for the Sunday full-color edition which I would grab as soon as my parents brought the huge paper roll in.

But it wasn't just Garfield... I discovered a collection of stories about a terribly unobservant family, their sleuthy dog, paranoid(?) cat and a mysterious new rabbit that may just be a vegetable-vampire.  (We'll talk about Count Duckula and his humorous take on this subject later.)

Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery kept me glued.  The story, as told by the dog Harold, begins when his family brings home a young rabbit that was mysteriously left at the movie theatre one night.  The bunny has fangs, a black mark on his back which resembles a cape and, seeing as how the family was watching Dracula at the theatre where he was found, is named Bunnicula.  But the family cast, Chester, suspects that the bunny may actually be using his fangs to suck the life out of vegetables.  You'll have to read for yourself to find out what happens but be prepared... these stories (originally by both Deborah and James Howe and later by James alone after Deborah's passing) continue on.

I couldn't wait to get to the next books.  Howliday Inn and The Celery Stalks at Midnight.  The adventures of Bunnicula, Harold and Chester marched onward with me through the 80s.

But it wasn't until two weeks ago that I found out that James Howe had continued beyond these three beloved books!

In 1988 James Howe published Nighty Nightmare, followed by Return to Howliday Inn in 1993, Bunnicula Strikes Again in 1999 and finally Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow in 2006.

I wouldn't consider anything written here to be a review... after all, it has been over 20 years since I've read the first three books.  But a visit to the Strand might have to happen today.  If, by some magical means, all six books are there, they might have just found a new owner.  Finger's crossed that I can revert to a 7th grader before the weekend is over.

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