Readerz.Net / ジェイムズ・ハウ / なぞのうさぎバニキュラ
Bunnicula is a children's book series written by Deborah and James Howe, featuring a vampire rabbit named Bunnicula who sucks the juice out of vegetables. Alternatively, Bunnicula is the main title of the first book in the series, published by Atheneum Books in April 1979. Deborah Howe died in 1978, months before the book first saw print. The series consists of seven books, with the latest published in 2006.
The story is centered on the Monroe family and their pets and is told from the perspective of their dog Harold. The Monroes find a bunny at the theater where they were watching a Dracula film. Because of this, they name him Bunnicula. Their cat Chester, however, is convinced Bunnicula is a vampire and attempts to get Harold (the dog) to help save the Monroes from the perceived menace.
A 1982 animated TV special (from Ruby-Spears) by the same name was created based on the first book and aired on the ABC Weekend Special. The animated special deviated heavily from the novels and actively depicted Bunnicula using vampiric powers, which did not occur in the novels.
The full title of the first book is Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery. The second and third books of the series are Howliday Inn and The Celery Stalks at Midnight. Nighty-Nightmare followed in 1987, followed by Return to Howliday Inn in 1993. In 1999, Bunnicula Strikes Again! was published. Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow was published in 2006, and appears to be the final book in the Bunnicula series.
Following the end of the Bunnicula series, James Howe began a spin-off series called Tales from the House of Bunnicula, which are "written" by Howie, the dachshund puppy introduced into the series in Howliday Inn. There is also a series called Bunnicula and Friends: Ready To Read. They are a series of six picture books about adventures of the characters from the stories. They are aimed for beginning readers.
An animated series that is a loose adaptation of Bunnicula began airing on Cartoon Network and on Boomerang on February 6, 2016.
Characters throughout the series
List of books
Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery
The first Bunnicula story was written by Deborah (who died before the book was published) and James Howe, illustrated by Alan Daniel, and published by Atheneum Books in 1979 (98 pages). It has been reissued many times, perhaps all with the original illustrations.
When the Monroe family decides to leave for a vacation, they send Harold and Chester off to a kennel called Chateau Bow-Wow (A special boarding house for special cats and dogs). There, they meet the other inhabitants of the kennel: A frustrated poodle named Louise, an athletic bulldog, a mutt named Taxi, a crazy cat named Lyle, a flirtatious poodle named Georgette, and two dachshunds named Heather and Howard, who Chester is certain are werewolves. The owner of the kennel, Dr. Greenbriar, is taking the week off and the other staff, an aspiring vet named Jill and a comic-book reader named Harrison who hopes to make a million bucks before he is twenty-one, are overworked. Because they are overworked, they make a lot of mistakes, especially Jill. These mistakes include feeding the animals late and temporarily misplacing Chester's file. Harrison will later use this tendency to forget things to his advantage. Tensions are high between the two as a result of stress. In the midst of adapting to their temporary new lives, a mystery soon unfolds when Louise goes missing.
Although the kennel workers decide she ran away, Chester becomes certain that foul play was involved. Just when he seems to have solved the mystery, Chester too vanishes. When investigating, Harold overhears Harrison, one of the kennel workers, reporting that he tested Chester's cat food and that it was laced with poison. Horrified, Harold attempts to continue Chester's work and solve the mystery. One evening, Harold finds the message "Help Howls out now!" scratched into his dog dish. Chester mysteriously returns later, then rounds up Harold, Taxi, and Lyle. He leads them to find Harrison attempting to capture Heather and Howard. The animals raise the alarm and Harrison is caught by the other kennel workers. Chester tells Harold later that Harrison caught wind that one of the animals in the shelter was very valuable. He first kidnapped Louise and then Chester thinking that it could have been them, but found out that it was the dachshunds, who were actually rare wire-haired dachshunds. He also learned that Heather was going to have puppies, making him even more determined to capture them all to get rich. When Dr. Greenbriar and Jill hear the dogs barking and find, first Lousie at Harrison's house with Max and Georgette, who sneaked out to find her, barking outside and then Harrison trying to capture the dachshunds with the other animals attacking him, he is tried and sentenced. The sentence is to go to university and pay for it by working at the zoo. When the Monroe family arrives after their vacation, they reveal that they're also adopting the runt of the dachshund litter, which they name Howie—Pete named him this because the puppy's father's name was Howard.
The Celery Stalks at Midnight
Bunnicula has gone missing and Chester begins to fear for the town again. This time, he believes that the vegetables that Bunnicula sucks dry could return as the rabbit's vampire slaves, which he will then use as an army to take over the town. Armed with a box of toothpicks to stab through the "hearts" of vegetables, he, Harold, and Howie set off to search the neighborhood for white vegetables. After some success, they witness Toby and Pete wearing dark robes and holding a group of frightened children prisoner. The pets fear that Bunnicula has begun to take over people as well and run to the nearby school, which is full of what they suspect are the rabbit's servants.
After causing much mayhem (including Chester destroying a large white carrot, which he believes is the head of the undead vegetables), they are caught by the Monroes. It is revealed that there was a carnival at the school that day, and Toby and Pete and the other children were rehearsing for a play they were going to put on. The "carrot" that Chester destroyed was actually a carrot cake, shaped like a carrot and covered in cream cheese. Finally, Bunnicula was found at the school, entered in the pet show. The pets find out that Bunnicula spent the previous night in the garage, which was accidentally left open, which meant he did indeed leave the house to feed on vegetables.
At the end, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" is parodied when Chester finds an artichoke heart under his favorite chair. After telling Chester there's nothing to worry about and trying to fall asleep, Harold hears a faint thumping.... he opens his eyes to find the vegetable in question right in front of his nose, which leads him to ask if Chester has a toothpick handy. It is left ambiguous as to whether or not this is a prank by Chester, or an actual attempt at a vampiric attack on Harold by the artichoke.
A.K.A. The Return Of Bunnicula. While at their lakeside retreat of Boggy Lake and fishing with Harold, Mr. Monroe apparently begins to have a mid-life crisis, and wants to do something exciting while they are there. They decide to go camping out in the woods; Harold only likes the idea because of s'mores, and Chester is skeptical about going out due to it being the eve of Saint George's Day, the one night of the year where evil monsters and spirits come out to prey. Upon going out into the woods, they meet two men; Bud (who constantly holds a knife out in plain sight for some reason) and Spud (described by Harold as having a potato-shaped head), along with their dog Teufel (German for "Devil"), nicknamed "Dawg", a bulldog with a scar on his face and a long ribbon of drool constantly hanging from his lower lip. That night, they go out for a walk, and Dawg leads Harold, Chester, and Howie away from his masters and the Monroes in order to show them something "neat", getting them lost in the woods in the process.
Chester begins to suspect that Bud and Spud may plan to murder the Monroes and that Dawg is luring them away in order to keep them from interfering, and Harold slowly begins to believe him. Once they reach a house right in the middle of the woods, Chester tells a story about Bunnicula's origin in an attempt to lull Dawg to sleep and allow himself, Harold, and Howie to escape; he claims that Bunnicula is the child of two rabbits who were artificially transformed into vampires by a lonely vampiric scientist named Diabolicus, and that three humans that he turned into vampires live in the house right before them right now, continuing his work. While the plan is successful, Harold, Howie, and even Chester fall asleep along with Dawg, and awaken shortly before dawn due to the rain and constant nightmares, presumably brought on by Chester's story, which is left open to interpretation by the end of the book as to whether or not Chester made the whole thing up or if it was based on actual 'fact' within the canon of the series, though Chester's belief that the house is an 'American house of Dr. E.A.D' which lead to the story, is proven to be mistaken by story's end.
After they return to the Monroes' camp, only to find it trashed and deserted, Dawg reveals that the house they visited is his own, and that Bud and Spud (real names Buford and Spalding) live there with their mother. Buford is revealed to be an architect while Spalding is a practicing lawyer. The Monroes also stayed the night with them in order to get out of the rain, and are relieved that Harold, Howie, and Chester are unharmed. Bud and Spud give their mother a baby skunk they caught last night as an early birthday present, and everyone sings campfire songs while eating s'mores; all except for Chester, who sulks in a corner. It is also revealed that Pete had been using Bunnicula in a rabbit breeding project he had been working on and one of the baby rabbits looked like Bunnicula (indicating that it too might be a vampire rabbit).
Return to Howliday Inn
The Monroe family again leaves Harold, Chester, and Howie at Chateau Bow-Wow. The pets quickly notice differences, including a new group of animals staying there (a weasel, two cats named Felony and Miss Demeanor, a sad Great Dane named Hamlet, a pair of homesick dogs, and a parrot named Ditto). Howie is thrilled to be at his birthplace; Chester is none too pleased. Soon however, all of the animals are in for a shock—They hear a female dog named Rosebud calling from the other side of the fence. When they dig at the dirt around the fence, they find a few bones and a dog collar. Rosebud tells them that she discovered a horrid secret about Chataeu Bow-Wow which sealed her fate and warns the animals to escape. Undaunted, Chester begins to investigate.
After listening in on Ditto, he hears her repeated "6, 1, 1, 1, 5". Later, she repeats what appears to be the entire sequence of numbers: "6, 1, 1, 1, 5, 2". Upon hearing this, Felony and Miss Demeanor are thrilled. When asked, they reluctantly reveal that they wanted to sneak into the kennel worker's building to steal better food and believed that the code would get them in. Shortly after, a tearful kennel worker takes Hamlet into the building. Georgette is brought to Chataeu Bow-Wow and tells the animals the true story of Rosebud: She was alive and well and back with her owners. The bones were chicken bones and her collar had been lost prior. The animals enter the building and find Hamlet, who tells them that his old owner left him there a long time ago. He was now set to be put to sleep. Chester finds his owner's new address and they set off to bring Hamlet there. The new address turns out to be a nursing home, one which does not allow animals. The pets break in and in the chaos, it becomes clear that the patients love the arrival of the animals, who remind them of their old pets. Hamlet finds his old owner, and it is revealed that the owner was a ventriloquist, explaining how Hamlet caused "Rosebud" to speak. Using ventriloquism of their own, the pets and patients convince the staff of the nursing home to allow Hamlet to stay. When Harold, Chester, and Howie are picked up at the end, they fool the Monroes with the ventriloquism tricks they picked up.
Bunnicula Strikes Again!
Chester has once again come to the crazy conclusion that Bunnicula is a threatening vampire. The cat starts drinking the rabbit's juice at daytime so Bunnicula will die of starvation. Harold and Howie are upset, but once again Chester insists this is all for the best. One night, Harold notices Bunnicula crying while singing him a lullaby. Chester thinks he misses his mother, and the next few days he leads the two dogs to search for her. This is unsuccessful, as she very likely is not around town. When Bunnicula becomes increasingly ill, either due to lack of food or to his lack of parental love, he is taken to the veterinarian, Chester, however, escapes and gets to the theater first. Before he can actually kill Bunnicula, the demolition starts, crushing both the cat and the rabbit under rubble. Harold and Howie manage to alert the Monroes and the other witnesses, and together they dig through the piles of fragments. They find Chester in a weakened state, but Bunnicula miraculously is completely unharmed. Chester comforts the rabbit, finally claiming that his attempts to murder Bunnicula were futile and that because he survived the demolition without a scratch, he is 'indestructible.' At the end, the Monroes return to their normal lives, and Bunnicula is at last happy because Chester has accepted him as one of the family.
Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow
A.K.A. Bunnicula vs The Monster Raven. Pete writes to the author of his (and Howie's) favorite series, FleshCrawlers. He visits the Monroe household and stays in the guestroom, bringing with him his favorite pet crow, Edgar Allan Crow. Everyone is thrilled, except for Chester, who insists that the author, M.T. Graves, is suspicious. He notes that something bad always happens to the pets in Graves's books, and when he wrote back to Pete, he seemed especially interested in spending some "quality time with the pets," particularly Bunnicula, whom Chester has now befriended. Harold and Howie aren't convinced, but Chester feels certain that there is a secret society amongst the crows, and Edgar is a messenger sent to help Graves transform Bunnicula into a bat. When Bunnicula escapes, the entire party follows him to catch him, and Harold and Howie begin to think that Chester may have been right. M.T. Graves is very careful about a black bag, and when Bunnicula is not found, Chester believes he is trapped in the bag. Harold dumps the bag, only to embarrass Graves in front of everyone because it was filled with stuffed animals. In the end, M.T. Graves tells them that he was a nervous boy when he was younger and was afraid of dogs and cats, so he figured he would stay at the Monroe's house so that he could conquer his phobia. Graves falls in love with Pete's school librarian, and marries her. Graves releases Edgar because Edgar fell in love with another crow. Then he adopts Sonnicula, Bunnicula's son. After Graves left, Pete got a letter that said he was inspired to write two books from visiting the Monroes: one called Quoth the Raven about his relationship with Edgar, and another called The Excellently Weird Adventures of Charlie the Cat from Galaxy Nine, inspired by Chester, who was less than thrilled to discover he was one of the, as he put it, "psycho creatures from M.T. Graves' demented novels."
James Howe is mentioned when Pete says that all of the other kids wanted to choose authors like J.K. Rowling or James Howe.
A stage adaptation based on the books was written by Jon Klein and performed by the B Street Theatre in Sacramento, California. An additional stage adaptation was created for children's theatre at the DR2 Theatre in New York, adapted by the writer Charles Busch.
Bunnicula, Jon Klein (Seattle Children's Theatre, 1994), 84 pp. – A play, OCLC 46637989