Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reader's Diary #985- James Howe (illustrated by Lynn Munsinger): Howliday Inn

Howliday Inn, the 2nd book in the Bunnicula series, doesn't actually feature the vampire bunny at all. When Chester the cat and Harold first get the news that they are to be boarded at a kennel named Chateau Bow-Wow (not actually called Howliday Inn)  when the family goes on vacation, it is mentioned only briefly that Bunnicula will be staying at a neighbour's house. I remember this being an issue for me as a child, as it was an issue for my son this time around. Though Bunnicula didn't talk like Chester and Harold, he was a loveable little guy. We missed him. At least we know that he returns in the 3rd book...

Despite the absence of Bunnicula, I actually think Howe went a little overboard with the number of characters in this book. Besides Chester and Harold, the other guests at the kennel include dogs Howard, Heather, Max, Taxi, Georgette, and Louise, another cat named Lyle, and a pair of new humans Harrison and Jill. I love doing voices for book characters but it took me a while to keep them all straight. I had intended to give Georgette a southern accent for instance and Louise a French accent. However, for the longest while they were both French. Howard and Heather became British but only after a while, for Max I gave up trying a New Yorker accent and settled on gruff, Taxi was high pitched, and so on.

Still, I know why there was a plethora of new characters and I can hardly blame Howe for my lack of Hank Azaria vocal skills. Howliday Inn is essentially a murder mystery for kids. (There's also a touch of werewolf lore thrown in, hence the Howl part of the title.) Like all good murder mysteries you need a great and varied cast of characters to serve as suspects.

This series is a really fun, lighthearted way to introduce kids to horror and mystery genres. My son, like me, didn't enjoy it quite as much as Bunnicula, but he still laughed out loud a few times (mostly at Lyle and Taxi), and we're both looking forward to The Celery Stalks at Midnight.

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You have just launched me back 15 years! I loved reading the Bunnicula stories to the offspring, and agree that Howliday Inn was the least successful of the lot. (I can still do my patented Chester voice to this day.)