Mr. and Mrs. Bunny - Detectives Extraordinaire!
By Polly Horvath, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Published 2012 by Schwartz & Wade
Madeline's family is a bit unusual - her parents act more like children and she is used to taking care of them. So, when they go missing, it's only natural that she takes it upon herself to search for them. Perhaps unwittingly, she enlists the help of Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, brand-new, fedora-wearing detectives. And thus begins the adventure of a lifetime.
I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again - I'm not overly fond of talking animal fantasy stories. So I was a bit wary of this book. It received heaps of praise and good reviews, and there was even some talk of Newbery potential, but I put off reading it. I just didn't imagine it would be my cup of tea. However, I like to read all sorts of books and over the Memorial Day weekend, I was looking for some quick reads. I spotted this on our shelves and took it home. I am so, so thrilled that I did.
You see, my friends, I ADORED this book. I mean, completely, truly, adored it. Trust me, no one is as surprised about this as I. This was my first experience with Horvath and it will definitely not be my last. For me, there is nothing about this book that doesn't work. It is beautifully written, hitting all the right notes in tone and language, proving that Horvath is a writer with whom I need to spend a great deal more time. The characters are also fantastic - I love the role reversal of Madeline and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bunny are, yes, incredibly charming, and I even adore the villains. The plot is fun and complicated and twisty, keeping readers engaged and turning the pages as fast as possible. I love the oddball sense of humor that this book is imbued with - it almost seems like, despite the talking animals, this was a book written with me in mind. I love that I can truly believe this book will work just as well for adults as it will for children - I don't even necessarily consider myself evidence of this (I am perhaps not your typical adult), I can just see the different layers that would make this work for readers of all ages. I love the mystery here - it's complicated yet simple at the same time, introducing readers to the ideas of mysteries and detectives and giving them gentle prods along the way. I love that there is the notion that this is only our first encounter with Mr. and Mrs. Bunny - I definitely want to have more adventures with these two.
Highly, highly recommended, and I will be devouring Horvath's other novels as soon as I can find the time.