Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Reader's #998- James Howe: Nighty-Nightmare

There were a few strange coincidences while reading Nighty-Nightmare by James Howe. First off, the action takes place on May the 5th, which in the book is known as St. George's Day, when monsters and spirits come out to play. My son and I were just progressing through the Bunnicula series, taking a chapter a night, and that we ended up with Nighty-Nightmare (the 4th book) ending on that particular night was just a perfect fluke. But it didn't end there. The last night of reading we returned home from our friends who live on a street known as Trail's End here in Yellowknife, and we turn to the last chapter to discover it's called... Trail's End. With freaky coincidences like this, it could have added to the creepy atmosphere of the book if we were superstitious types. And if it actually had a creepy atmosphere.

That's not an indictment. Despite the title and supernatural subjects (vampires, werewolves, ghosts), James Howe doesn't set out to make the Bunnicula series actually scary. As I've said before, it's more of a comedy series that simply aims to introduce children to the rich literary world of classic horror. In Nighty-Nightmare, despite Bunnicula himself not being present, Howe delves deeper into the story of Dracula, using that legend as part of Chester the cat's theory of how Bunnicula came to be, why there was a haunted looking mansion in the middle of the woods, and the identity of strangers who seemed to fall somewhere between sinister and stupid.

Nighty-Nightmare was the last of the series that I'd read as a child. The next in the series came out in 92, when I'd already moved on to more mature books. But horror books. And that interest was certainly sparked by Howe.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I have really great memories of reading the Bunnicula series to my young un. Not to brag or anything, but I did the best Chester voice. Okay, to brag.

John Mutford said...

Barbara: I channeled Billy Bob Thorton's Sling Blade character for the voice of Max. I figure if my son ever sees the movie when he's older, his therapist can help him reconcile that.